Category Archives: Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day

I like the idea of a national holiday that starts with a beheading.

As far as I know, I’m bereft of French ancestry, but every July 14, I go around the grocery store, neighborhood, wherever I happen to be, and I wish people a “Happy Bastille Day!” Folks are consistent in their response:

Samuel_Johnson_by_Joshua_Reynolds_public domain

Maybe I should live in Soulard, a French neighborhood in St. Louis. This is a town that not only celebrates Bastille Day with a beheading reenactment, but it also can’t quite make up its mind what the day’s theme really is.

Jump to 3:15 in the clip to see a realistic portrayal of Marie Antoinette’s giggle fit right before what’s possibly the world’s most comical beheading:

Vive la Soulard!

Throughout the event, the town’s attention to period detail is admirable. There’s a Taste of Soulard, cars and buses driving through, and for some reason a percussion group playing a Latin beat. There’s even a local television reporter covering the events, just as they did in 1789.

This is my kind of town. Let’s just get together and do random shit, drink, and lop off some heads. I’m calling the movers.