Bastille Day celebrations in France have begun with a traditional military parade down the streets of central Paris.

On the famed Place de la Concorde, President Jacques Chirac reviewed passing tanks, soldiers in dress uniforms marching in formation, and a flyover of jet fighters trailing smoke of red, white and blue - the colors of the French flag.

Security was tight along the parade route. In 2002, a gunman tried to kill President Chirac during the parade.

Mr. Chirac followed the parade with what has become his own Bastille Day tradition: an wide-ranging live television interview and a garden party at the presidential palace.

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution.

This is expected to be the last time Mr. Chirac officiates over the parade. His second term ends next year and he is not expected to run for a third.


Some information for this report was provided by AP .