Fête Nationale military parade to go ahead in Paris if Covid allows

Last year’s smaller event was the first time that there had not been a military parade on the Champs-Élysées on July 14 since the end of World War Two

6 June 2021
Fete Nationale military parade to go ahead in Paris if Covid allows on July 14

This year's parade is set to include 5,000 participants, including 4,300 military personnel on foot Pic: Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

There will be a traditional military parade on the Champs-Élysées for July 14, with members of the public present to watch, if the epidemic situation is considered safe enough to allow this, it has been confirmed.

Organisers said that as long as the health situation continues to improve they expect to hold a full military parade to celebrate the fête nationale on July 14.

General Christophe Abad, the military governor of Paris, told the AFP: “We are in a more favourable context of coming out of the health crisis. As long as this continues, it should allow us to go back to our usual, with a beautiful July 14 on the Champs-Élysées.”

Last year, the parade was replaced with a smaller ceremony at Place de la Concorde, which paid homage to the military personnel and healthcare workers who had been working against Covid-19. 

It was the first time that there had not been a military parade on the Champs-Élysées on July 14 since the end of World War Two.

Read more: Health worker ceremony replaces Paris's July 14 parade

Parade for the future

The parade’s theme will be “winning the future”, a reference to “the nation’s collective capacity to overcome difficulties linked to the health crisis” and “for the armed forces, their ability to take on harder ‘high intensity’ missions, by relying on high-tech materials”, said General Abad.

It will include 5,000 participants, including 4,300 military personnel on foot, 71 planes, 25 helicopters, 221 vehicles, and 200 horses from the Republican Guard.

The Griffon armoured vehicle, a new generation troop transport vehicle designed to replace the armoured front vehicle (véhicule de l’avant blindé), will be on parade for the first time, as will the new CaRaPACE armoured tanker, deployed in the Sahel (Africa).

A new light reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft (avion léger de reconnaissance et de surveillance), which is used to collect intelligence, will participate for the first time in the traditional air parade, which will be opened as usual by the Patrouille de France. 

Among the troops to be honoured will be the European special forces Takuba, which were assembled by France to assist Malian forces in combat; the Chad Marching Regiment, which will open the parade; and submariners from the nuclear attack submarine, SNA Emeraude, who have now returned from a strategic mission in the South China Sea.

The French Air Force will parade its new Space Command, as well as airmen involved in the Skyros mission earlier this year, during which four Rafales, two A400Ms and an A330 Phénix tanker made stopovers in India, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Greece.

Read more: France to create new Space army command

Around 25,000 people will be permitted to attend the parade in person, with seats arranged to allow for physical distancing, to a threshold of one person every 4m2.

The parade will last around two hours, with music from a choir of 120 young people who are involved in the military in some way, including military high school students, members of the civic service and volunteer forces.

After the parade, several related events will take place, including on the esplanade des Invalides, and in several other neighbourhoods in the capital.

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