Austerity puts brakes on Bastille Day parade

Dan MacGuill
Dan MacGuill - [email protected]
Austerity puts brakes on Bastille Day parade
The flag guard of the French fire-fighting academy, marching on the Champs Elysées in 2008. France plans to cut 10 percent from the cost of this year's Bastille Day parade. Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen

With France in the tight grip of the economic crisis, it seems not even the country’s oldest, proudest traditions are to be spared. On Tuesday it was reported the government plans to cutback on the festivities surrounding this year’s Bastille Day parade.


With unemployment at record levels and confidence waning among consumers and employers, a good old-fashioned public display of patriotism and national pride might be just what the French people need this summer.

But this year, not even the traditional annual Bastille Day military parade is to survive the knife of austerity, it would seem.

According to French daily Le Figaro, the government plans to cut 10 to 15 percent, or €400,000 to €600,000 from the cost of the lavish July 14th military ceremony on the Champs Elysées in Paris.

Here's a summary of how the financial squeeze has put the brakes on the annual parade, according to Le Figaro.

Fewer vehicles

This year, only 265 of the most modern, frontline vehicles such as jeeps and tanks will be kept. Ambulances and other vehicles, amounting to a third of last year’s convoy, have been scrapped.

Less fuel

One of the highlights of the annual ceremony - the aerial flypast - will include 58 airplanes and 35 helicopters – 12 percent fewer than usual this year. The move is expected to save €90,000-worth of fuel.

The one-third cut in the number of vehicles on display should also amount to savings of €100,000 in the cost of fuel.

Less space for crowds

The government plans to save €60,000 this July 14th by cutting out two stands for officially-invited guests.

With just as many due to be invited as last year, however, attendees might just have to squeeze in, or stand.

Where do you for Bastille Day? Let us know in the comments section below.


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