Le 14 juillet – some starting points for Primary classes – June 2021

‘Bastille Day’ is of course not called that in French; it is ‘le quatorze juillet

(an opportunity to look at writing / saying important dates?)

or ‘la Fête Nationale’ (an opportunity to look at the accents ? Examples of words with different accents? And how they affect pronunciation? )

What is le 14 juillet? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47j5WfkhPyY

It is celebrated not only in France but in other countries around the world with French connections (an opportunity to look at Le Monde Francophone? Or multiculturalism in France?)

Looking at ‘French costume’ is a great opportunity to talk about stereotypes (I can’t remember the last time I saw a béret in France, and I have never ever seen anyone wearing a string of onions! but they are stereotypical postcard images people remember easily.)

So you might ask a class to think the other way: when French children think about English people / children, what do they think of?  Answers might be things like: school uniform / football team strips / bacon and eggs for breakfast / umbrellas (because of the rain) / cups of tea at ‘le five o’clock’ ….

The Marseillaise is a great tune, and you could do lots around phonics with it too 🙂  The problems come if the class asks you what it is about! Like other national anthems, it is violent and anti-foreigner though.

Some activity ideas


Pictures including the famous Monet with the Tricolore flags.


Lots of practical links from Clare Seccombe.


Photos and history in French


Jane Birtwhistle’s recipe for children making crepes.

Nathalie Paris has a blog on 14 July resources here : https://nattalingo.co.uk/le-14-juillet/


Lots of information in English, vocabulary for fireworks.

Primary French Project has an item in Leçon 26 of Niveau Tricolore. Throughout this level, children learn to ask and answer questions about special dates, and this is one of them.


If your school is working on multicultural issues or international / British values etc. a class might make a display about national symbols; it could be bilingual with some words in French and might involve pupils in some research.

Things like :

National animals : British lion, French cockerel, Spanish bull, German bear/eagle …


National flowers :

You see these on Rugby teams etc.


French lily (fleur de lys), English rose, Welsh leek, Irish shamrock, Scottish thistle …


Patron saints: Scotland – St. Andrew, England – St. George, France – St. Michael, Wales – St. David, Spain – St. James ….


Other national days / important days in UK. Why are they important? Queen’s birthday, Guy Fawkes Day, Christmas Day, Good Friday, Ramadan, Diwali, …

Bank Holidays.

In England  – St. George’s Day 23 April, in Ireland – St. Patrick’s Day 17 March …



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