In Pictures: Paris on parade for Bastille Day celebrations

French President Emmanuel Macron has led the annual Bastille Day celebrations as crowds packed the streets of Paris for the annual parade.

The day is a national holiday in France.

Paris streets were packed for Bastille Day celebrations. Credit: AP

This year’s event showcased European defence co-operation and flags of the 10 countries of the European Intervention Initiative, a joint military pact created last year, headed Sunday’s parade down the Champs Elysees.

A dog sported his military medals for the occasion. Credit: AP

The display included more than 4,000 armed forces, 69 planes and 39 helicopters – but the biggest crowd-pleaser was a French soldier rocketing through the air on a flyboard device, the invention of French former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata.

Planes flying by for Bastille Day. Credit: AP

Macron was joined at Sunday's ceremony by European leaders including Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany..

From left, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the Bastille Day parade on the Champs Elysees. Credit: AP
  • What is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day is a French national holiday, which marks the storming of the Bastille in the 1700s, and is known as La Fête Nationale Française in France.

A soldier on a flyboard delighted the Bastille Day crowds. Credit: AP

Similarly to Independence Day - every July 4 - in the United States, the date marks the beginning of republican democracy and the end of tyrannical rule.

French marine cadets march on the Champs-Elysees. Credit: AP

In the 18th century, France was in deep economic and political crisis and people were unhappy with King Louis XVI's reign, which was dominated with food shortages and high taxes.

Tanks rolling on the Champs-Elysees during the Bastille Day parade in Paris. Credit: AP

The Bastille was a medieval fortress and prison, which held many political dissidents, and had become a symbol of oppression and injustice in Paris.

Soldiers of the Foreign legion joined the parade. Credit: AP

On July 14, 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille and released the prisoners - of which there were just seven at the time - before stealing the weapons stored inside.

Firefighters lined up for the celebrations. Credit: AP

The invasion was significant at the time because it proved to revolutionaries that the King had little control over his armed forces and undermined his power.

It was the beginning of what later became known as the French Revolution and the monarchy was eventually overthrown.

Danish soldiers took part in the Bastille Day parade. Credit: AP
French Alpha jets of the Patrouille de France spray lines of smoke in the colours of the French flag over the Champs-Elysees. Credit: AP
President Emmanuel Macron stands in the command car next to French Armies Chief Staff General Francois Lecointre as they review troops before the start of the parade. Credit: AP
Veterans on the Champs-Elysees avenue. Credit: AP
A military robot was on security duty. Credit: AP
French troops demonstrate their skills. Credit: AP
French President Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with an 89-year-old veteran who was wounded in French Indochina. Credit: AP
Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the French Defence Ministry on the eve of Bastille Day. Credit: AP
Military hats at French Defence Ministry. Credit: AP
Chefs Bruno Gueret and Vakhtang Meliava, of Le Fouquet’s Restaurant, which was reopening on Bastille Day after it was vandalised and set on fire during the yellow vests demonstrations in March. Credit: AP