Hollande sat atop a military vehicle that rode past troops gathered at Paris's Place de l'Etoile, Radio France Internationale reported.
As he stepped out at Place de la Concorde, France's national anthem, "Le Marseillaise," played, followed by an air show with 66 planes and 32 helicopters.
The military parade that followed included French troops who had just returned from Afghanistan as well as U.N. troops who returned from Lebanon. About 5,000 soldiers were present.
Hollande's partner, Valerie Trierweiler, was on hand for the festivities. She had made a controversial Twitter post during legislative elections in support of Hollande's former partner, Segolene Royal, euronews reported.
On Saturday night, a fireworks display is scheduled at the Eiffel Tower.
Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, marking the start of the French Revolution.