Sunday is the French national day, Bastille Day, and as a former student of French history, and frequent wearer of red white and blue, I am a fan. I spent three years of my history degree studying 18th and 19th century French history in various forms, and am now scared by how very little I remember of this. Bastille Day was first celebrated as the Fête de la Fédération in 1790 to celebrate the one year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, one of the defining early events of the revolution. The Bastille was a prison located in the area of the same name (you can see some of the ruins of it in the Bastille metro) was a prison which symbolised the oppression of the monarchy because those imprisoned there were done so on the orders of the king, without trial. In fact, a lot of those imprisoned were the embarrassing sons of noblemen. The Marquis de Sade was imprisoned here up until a week before the storming. In fact, when the Bastille was taken, there were only seven prisoners, none of whom had any real political importance, but that didn’t stop it becoming an important symbol of the success of the early days of the revolution. The Terror, which is what most people think of when they think of the revolution, with the execution of the King, Queen, aristrocrats and political opponents was still a long way off.
If you want to celebrate Bastille day with some classic French dishes, below are some of my favourite recipes. Vive la France!