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Troops from Australia and New Zealand special guests at French Bastille Day

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Troops from Australia and New Zealand special guests at French Bastille Day

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As every year, Bastille Day in France means the Tricolour flag is out in force: at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and in towns and villages around the country as well as francophile places around the world.

The morning sees the French president take the salute of the armed forces, as the capital city stages the oldest and largest military parade in Europe.

The day marks the storming of the Bastille prison by revolutionaries and troops in 1789, heralding the start of the French revolution paving the way for the creation of the French republic.

From the Foreign Legion to military cadets from difficult backgrounds – this year’s theme is “youth engagement” – for many the occasion puts national pride and symbolism on display.

The French elite acrobatic flying team released smoke in the colours of the national flag.

One novelty this year saw troops from Australia and New Zealand – led by a Maori warrior party – invited as guests of honour to commemorate their participation in the Battle of the Somme, one of World War I’s bloodiest episodes 100 years ago.

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