This past weekend was a holiday in France: Bastille Day (more officially known as the Fte nationale), which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution on July 14, 1789. The Declaration of the Rights of Man (which proclaimed, among other things, that “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights”) was adopted a month later by the National Constituent Assembly, though the tumultuous reign of King Louis XVI didn’t end until 1793.
Many American cities commemorate Bastille Day, as well; here in New York, we celebrate with a street fair and picnic on the Upper East Side. Milwaukee’s four day festival includes a 43-foot replica of the Eiffel Tower, while Philadelphia reenacts not only the storming of the Bastille but also the execution of Marie Antoinette (who throws 2,000 Butterscotch Krimpets to the crowd before she goes, calling out, Let them eat TastyKake!).