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France’s July 14 military parade: theme and schedule to watch on TV

The traditional procession carries the theme ‘share the flame’, a nod to past resistance fighters and the Paris 2024 Olympics

France’s military parade traditionally goes along the The Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris Pic: DreamSlamStudio / Shutterstock

France celebrates its national day today, the Fête Nationale du 14 juillet, meaning a public holiday, fireworks and the traditional military parade in Paris. 

This year’s parade carries the added significance of coming just five months after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. 

The military governor of Paris, the general Christophe Abad, has said that the parade will underline "the imperative of strategic solidarity with our European partners on the Eastern flank".

As such, soldiers from the EU countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria will march at the head of the ground troops. 

Read more: ‘France’s July 14 military parade is no Russia or North Korea’

The theme of this year’s parade is ‘share the flame’ (partager la flamme). This is both an acknowledgement of France’s resistance fighters during World War Two and the flame that lies beside the The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under the Arc de Triomphe, and also a reference to Paris hosting the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2024. 

Around 6,300 people will participate in this year’s parade, including, for the first time ever, representatives of the cybersecurity unit of France’s gendarmerie. 

You can watch today’s parade live on TV on TF1 or France 2, with programmes beginning at 07:00 and running into the early afternoon. 

Read more: Why has feeble victory at the Bastille become France’s national day?

Read more: French communes cancel July 14 firework displays due to wildfire risk

Schedule of the military parade

09:30: The troops and the rest of the procession finish taking their places on the Place de l'Etoile around the Arc de Triomphe. The commanding officers inspect the troops.

10:00: President Emmanuel Macron arrives on Avenue de Friedland. He will be greeted by General Thierry Burkhard, chief of staff of the Armed Forces, accompanied by Christophe Abad, Military Governor of Paris. Mr Macron will inspect the troops.

10.15: Honours are paid to Mr Macron on the Place de la Concorde by the 1st and 2nd infantry regiments of the Republican Guard. The president is then greeted by the prime minister Elisabeth Borne, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu and the president's personal chief of staff, Jean-Philippe Rolland.

10:20: The opening scene of the military parade begins, with a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the musical ensemble from Brittany, Bagad de Lann-Bihoué, and with members of the Breton national navy fleet and military music ensemble.

10:34: Parade of the 65 planes. The fly-past will open with the traditional passage of the Patrouille de France, the precision aerobatics demonstration unit of the French Air Force, and will end with the flight of a Reaper drone.

10:43: The procession of ground troops begins its march, led by representatives of the nine central and eastern European countries and followed by 4,925 French military personnel.

11:31: Beginning of the 25-strong helicopter parade 

11:35: Beginning of the motorised parade, including tanks, military vehicles, etc.

11:45: Parade of the 200 mounted troops of the Republican Guard.

11:49: Closing scene. The armed forces will pay tribute to its contribution to education and sporting talent. The show will end with a song titled ‘France’, performed by Candice Parise, who is also an army reservist and was a contestant in the 2017 show The Voice. 

12:03: Mr Macron leaves and returns to the Élysée Palace, the president’s official residence. There he will give a televised interview, his first since being re-elected as president in April. 

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Video: French cadet proposes to girlfriend during July 14 Paris parade

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