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  • Victory Day in France 2024 – Everything You Need to Know

    • May 7, 2024

    Every year on May 8th, the whole of France unites to celebrate La Fête de la Victoire or Victory Day in France – commemorating the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 that ended World War II in Europe. This momentous day is filled with special ceremonies, parades and traditional feasts nationwide honouring the fallen soldiers’ sacrifices.

    What is Victory Day in France?

    Victory Day in France is also known as La Fête de la Victoire 1945 or simply V-Day. It marks the historic date of May 8, 1945 when World War II ended in Europe. On this day, German forces officially surrendered to the Allies after years of intense battles and occupation across the continent.

    The victory put an end to Adolf Hitler’s brutal Nazi regime while finally liberating France from years of oppression and devastation. Thus, for the French people, V-Day symbolizes the precious values of freedom, peace, and remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    How Locals Celebrate La Fête de la Victoire in France?

    • Solemn Church Services on Victory Day in France

    In villages and towns across France, Victory Day begins with solemn church masses honouring the war dead and veterans. Priests conduct special services and prayers to commemorate the Allied forces’ sacrifices.

    • Discover Commemorative Ceremonies of V-Day

    Official commemorative ceremonies with speeches by dignitaries, military parades and music performances take place in the morning at war memorials nationwide. Locals attend these events sporting the iconic Bleuet de France flower emblem in remembrance.

    • Witness the Grand Parades

    Grand military parades with troops, vehicles and aircraft fly-pasts are the highlight in major cities like Paris, Lille and Strasbourg on Victory Day in France. These impressive parades celebrate the spirit of the Free French forces.

    • French Flags Fly High during Victory Day in France

    The French Tricolore flag is prominently displayed in windows, on buildings and in shops. Monuments and important landmarks are also decorated with blue-white-red national colours as a symbol of French pride.

    • Dramatic Fly Overs by the Airforce

    Spectacular fly-pasts by the French Airforce’s Patrouille de France and other military aircraft above the memorial ceremonies and parades are thrilling to witness on Victory Day.

    • Wreaths & Flowers at Ceremonies

    At every war memorial, monument and tomb of the unknown soldier across France, officials and attendees lay wreaths, flowers and bouquets as moving tributes to the nation’s war heroes.

    • Relish Traditional Meals on Victory Day in France

    French households prepare lavish meals as part of the age-old custom of celebrating Freedom in France. The festive menu typically includes ham, local cheese specialities like creamy Chaource or pink Biscuit Rose de Reims, along with the iconic Champagne toast.

    Paris Victory Day Events – What to Expect?

    Being the national capital, Victory Day in France celebrations in Paris are the largest and grandest. Here’s what to expect:

    • Commemorative Ceremony in the Morning

    The traditional official ceremony takes place at the Arc de Triomphe on the famous Champs-Élysées avenue with the President of the Republic in attendance. After a military parade and laying of wreaths, the President rekindles the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc in a moving tribute.

    • President Visits Tomb of Unknown Soldier

    One of the most iconic Victory Day moments is the French President’s sombre visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beneath the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysees. Here, the President relights the famous flame as a powerful symbol of remembrance for fallen unknown soldiers.

    • City Hosts Events, Parades & Ceremonies

    Throughout the day, Paris hosts a series of special events, military parades and religious ceremonies marking Victory Day in France. Vibrant shows, lively street parties, musical performances and feasting take over the city’s neighbourhoods. You’ll find wreaths, flowers and tributes abundant at commemorative sites like war memorials, churches and monuments.

    Is Victory Day a French National Holiday in France?

    Yes, Victory Day in France on May 8 is an official national public holiday. Most shops, businesses, schools and workplaces remain open as usual across the country. However, the solemn ceremonies and events on La Fête de la Victoire take precedence.

    Many locals take the day off so that they can attend parades and commemorations across France. Some companies give employees a paid day off or a half-day in honour of the occasion.

    10 Places to Visit After Liberation Day France

    As Victory Day in France celebrates liberation and freedom from Nazi oppression, these destinations hold special significance:

    1. Normandy D-Day Beaches

    These historic World War II D-Day landing beaches in Normandy saw pivotal battles leading to France’s liberation. Pay respects at memorial sites like Omaha Beach and Pointe du Hoc.

    • Mont Saint-Michel

    Famously conquered by Free French and American troops in 1944, visiting the iconic abbey and medieval village here is a must after V-Day.

    • Oradour-sur-Glane

    This village left preserved in its ruins after a horrific 1944 Nazi massacre serves as a stark memorial to civilian victims.

    • Paris

    The City of Light, Paris proudly hosts the grandest:

    • Victory Day parades
    • Commemorations
    • Memorials to France’s wartime suffering and eventual liberation

    So, why wait? Book your France visa appointment today to experience this incredible event!

    • Dijon (Côte-d’Or)

    The Museum of the Resistance and Deportation here commemorates the Dijon Resistance movement’s courageous efforts during the occupation.

    • Lille

    This northern city’s close proximity to Belgium saw it endure repeated bombings before liberation – its powerful memorials reflect the immense devastation.

    • Grenoble (Isère)

    The stunning alpine town honours the brave Resistance fighters and maquisards who risked their lives in the region’s rugged hills.

    • Lyon

    An important city for the Maquis French Resistance, Lyon is home to poignant memorials and museums detailing their heroic actions.

    • Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin)

    Located in Alsace near the German border, this city’s tragic wartime history is reflected in monuments honouring civilian victims.

    • Natzwiller-Struthof (Bas-Rhin)

    The remains of this former Nazi concentration camp and its memorial museum solemnly chronicle the unspeakable atrocities committed here.

    These are some amazing places you should visit after the Victory Day in France. Visiting these places will give you a better understanding of V-Day and its significance for the French.

    Conclusion

    Attending the poignant Victory Day in France celebrations lets you honour the nation’s heroes while witnessing centuries-old customs and traditions. Soak in the sombre yet patriotic atmosphere of ceremonies as well as parades and festivities that annually unite French citizens in remembrance. Apply for a France visa today to witness this iconic event with your loved ones!

    FAQ’s

    What does Victory Day in France commemorate?

    Victory Day in France, celebrated each year on May 8th, commemorates the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in World War II when German forces officially surrendered in 1945, marking the end of the devastating war in Europe.

    Are any special foods eaten on Victory Day in France?

    Yes, traditional French households celebrate Victory Day by preparing a festive meal. The menu usually consists of ham, and local cheese specialties like Chaource or Rose de Reims biscuits, accompanied by the iconic French Champagne as a toast.

    What is the significance of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for Victory Day in France?

    The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier located beneath the iconic Arc de Triomphe in Paris holds great ceremonial importance on Victory Day. The French President re-lights the flame at the tomb as a powerful tribute to the nation’s unidentified fallen soldiers.

    Is Victory Day in France a public holiday?

    Yes, Victory Day in France on May 8th is a designated public holiday. Most businesses, schools and shops remain open, while solemn ceremonies and parades take place nationwide.

    Which places should I visit after Victory Day in France?

    Plan to visit some iconic places like the Normandy D-Day Beaches, Mont Saint-Michel, Paris, Dijon, Lille, Grenoble and Strasbourg.