Paris, 4 June 2020 (dpa/MIA) – The traditional Bastille Day parade down the Champs Elysees in Paris will be replaced by a socially distanced military ceremony this year, the Elysee Palace announced on Thursday.
About 2,000 troops and other participants will take part in the July 14 event on Place de la Concorde, and 2,500 guests will be able to attend while respecting distancing rules, the Elysee said.
The traditional air force fly-past will still take place, and the ceremony will honour the role of both the military and medical staff in fighting the Covid-19 epidemic.
The annual parade, on the anniversary of storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution of 1789 against the monarchy, is a showcase event for France’s military as well as a diplomatic tool.
Centrist President Emmanuel Macron used his first Bastille Day parade in 2017 to woo Donald Trump, despite political differences with the populist US leader.
The visit did not lead to any political breakthroughs on tough issues like trade and global climate action, but the two leaders did appear to establish a personal rapport.
Trump later described the event as “one of the greatest parades I have ever seen” and speculated about organizing a similar military display in Washington.
Last year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and five other European Union leaders were guests of honour as the parade celebrated European military cooperation.