After a night of dancing in the streets to commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, Frenchmen celebrated the July 14 holiday with a long military parade down Avenue des Champs Elysee in Paris.
After a night of dancing in the streets to commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, Frenchmen celebrated the July 14 holiday with a long military parade down Avenue des Champs Elysee in Paris. President Georges Pompidou stood on the reviewing stand as the 75-minute parade of troops, tanks, and missile-launches filled past.
Jets flew overhead trailing smoke in France's national colours of red white and blue. More than 150 aircraft took part in the spectacle.
Some 10,000 troops marched in the procession, among them France's tough desert corps, the Foreign Legion. After an absence of four years they were included in the parade by popular demand, and received the loudest applause from the thousands of Frenchmen and tourists who lined the route.
Nuclear missile carriers made their first public appearance in the parade. The missiles themselves were not on show but France's first ground-to-ground missile unit is expected to become operational next year.
After the procession President Pompidou drove in an open-top car down the Champs-Elysee to the Place de la Concorde acknowledging the cheering crowds.
(The 181st anniversary of Bastille Day was also marked by attacks of youths on police stations and banks in Paris and near Rouen during Monday night. Riot police used tear gas grenades to disperse the youths--believed to be members of extreme-left groups--who broke bank windows and damaged parked cars in Paris, and 20 people were arrested after attacking a police station near the Paris City Hall.)