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Bastille Day parade, festivities held in France for first time in 2 years

French President Emmanuel Macron and Chief of Staff Gen. Francois Lecointre (R) stand in the command car while reviewing troops on Wednesday during the annual Bastille Day military parade, in Paris, France. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE
French President Emmanuel Macron and Chief of Staff Gen. Francois Lecointre (R) stand in the command car while reviewing troops on Wednesday during the annual Bastille Day military parade, in Paris, France. Photo by Yoan Valat/EPA-EFE

July 14 (UPI) -- Spectators who watched France's annual Bastille Day parade live on Wednesday needed to have a health pass to claim one of the 25,000 seats available along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

A health pass with proof of a coronavirus vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery from the virus was needed to watch the parade along the route on Wednesday.

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Attendees were also required to wear a mask.

Wednesday's celebration, which marks the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, was the first in two years. The Bastille Day parade was canceled last year, but there was a fireworks display.

The Bastille Day military parade is one of the hallmarks of the celebration and dates back to 1880 and the start of the French Revolution.

Thousands of troops marched in the parade Wednesday as warplanes flew overhead and traditional parties took place around the country, even though many were scaled back because of the pandemic.

French President Emmanuel and French Chief of Staff Gen. Francois Lecointre stood in the command car to review troops. Parade participants marched in a variety of historical military uniforms.

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A classical music concert was held at Champ-de-Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, featuring the Orchestre national de France, the Choeur and MaƮtrise de Radio France.

While the traditional Bastille Day fireworks display will go ahead in Paris, several other cities and towns canceled their displays this year for fear of spreading the coronavirus Delta variant.

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