Bastille Day is the French National Day, marking the anniversary of the storming of Bastille, a prison, in 1789. The fall of the prison symbolised the rise of modern France, the end of monarchy and the start of a republic. Bastille Day was first celebrated in France on the fourteenth of July, 1790, exactly one year after the prison fell and has been an annual event ever since. The Bastille Day celebrations are grandiose in nature and include parades, parties and fireworks. After all, it is a day of immense significance for the French, so one might find it a little odd to see that the Indian city of Pondicherry also commemorates Bastille Day with a similar pomp and grandeur. Visitors may also be perplexed by the architecture of the older city areas, which bear a strong French influence, that is until one realises that Pondicherry (now called Puducherry) though small in area was once the largest French colony in India. It is still home to a significant French expat community.
Although essentially Indian in nature, French culture is still strong in this southern city, even decades after independence. This unique blend of Indian and French cultures makes Pondicherry a highly interesting place to visit. Tourists who happen to be visiting the city in mid-July will be able to witness first-hand the delightful outcome when two seemingly disparate cultures collide in unity. Bastille Day is a major event on the city’s calendar and the yearly festivities are taken quite seriously by the locals. The day is generally marked with a parade usually conducted by retired soldiers. The parade honours French soldiers who have fallen in battle. Amidst all the festivities, the locals also manage to show their national pride with the Indian national anthem being sung along with the French one and Indian flags being displayed alongside French flags.
Tourists in town for the celebrations and looking for quality Pondicherry accommodation can try the Hotel Atithi. This impressive example of a Pondicherry hotel occupies a central location and offers guests easy access to the city’s commercial and leisure areas. With its convenient location, top-notch services and tastefully decorated rooms, it is the ideal accommodation option for both leisure and business tourists.