For most French people it was a July 14 parade like any other. But for one citizen of the republic, today’s celebrations may have special significance. President Jacques Chirac has not ruled out standing for re-election next year but this was the last Bastille Day of his current second term. Unlike in previous years, France did not invite members of foreign armies to take part in the military parade.
The day’s events include President Chirac, 73, hosting a garden party at the Elysee Palace and giving a televised interview. Chirac’s popularity has risen recently, and polls suggest 47 per cent of the population think his record as head of state since 1995 is positive.