French Guiana is located on the northeastern Atlantic shore of South America, and yet, it is fully integrated into France and the European Union. Despite its distance and its great ethnic and linguistic diversity, French Guiana is truly a “part of” France and celebrates French National Day every 14 July.
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France’s National Day is also known as “Bastille Day,” since it was on this day that the Bastille prison house was stormed in 1789 during the French Revolution. That revolution also led to the abolition of slavery throughout the French Empire, including in French Guiana, which was a slave colony up till then.
While the biggest Bastille Day celebration may be in Paris, the day is a big occasion all over the world, including in New Orleans (USA), French Polynesia, Liege in Belgium, and in Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.
Cayenne is the largest city in French Guiana and the epicentre of celebrations held throughout the land. You will find colourful, robust parades, impressive fireworks displays, exuberant playing of the French national anthem, Le Marseillaise, and numerous other public patriotic events.
One soon discovers that the inhabitants of French Guiana are proud of their connections with far-off France and of the French customs and culture they share with their European countryman.