Bastille Day is a national holiday in France, where it is also called ‘Fête Nationale’. Some of the other places where it is celebrated as a holiday include New Caledonia – a French Territory in the South Pacific just a short flight from Australia and New Zealand.
New Caledonia’s cosmopolitan capital is famous for its French ambience and fine cuisine. Noumea – called the Paris of the Pacific – has the requisite patisseries, bistros and restaurants for the annual celebration and parade.
Visitors watch residents gather at dusk on the night before and walk through the streets carrying lanterns to Place des Cocotiers, then they let loose a display of fireworks. On the 14th they hold a traditional military parade in the morning.
If you are travelling to New Caledonia for holidays over this period – the fishing, yachting, diving and trekking are nice extras after the cultural events and celebrations. Any time you go, you’ll find yourselves in a climate and location that is definitely tropical, yet the main language is French and the shopping, restaurants and nightlife feel distinctly European.