Today, 14th of July, France celebrates its fête nationale, known as Bastille Day. Although it definitely makes sense to call it like this, in France nobody does.
All kind of symbols are linked to that celebration: from the military parade on the Champs Elysées, to the bals populaires, fireworks and garden parties, people celebrate the Republic or simply enjoy a bank holiday in the middle of the summer. The first emblem of the French Republic is the tricolor drapeau (flag) (since 1812): three vertical stripes of equal width, bleu, blanc, rouge (blue, white and red).
There are several possible meanings to the colors of the flag. Here is the simplest:
1. Blue is the color of the city of Paris, capital of France.
2. White is traditionally associated with the French monarchy
3. Red is the color of spilled blood for people’s freedom.
Another story considers red and blue as the colors of Paris, which becomes thus the city that surrounds the King: monarchy as a part of the history of the new Republic.
Blue is actually also one of the Kings’ colors: wearing the blue cap of St. Martin is the symbol of the legitimacy conferred by the Church to the King, especially at the time of the coronation. Whereas red symbolizes the martyrdom of St. Denis, the first bishop of Paris.
Nouns ending in -al♥
Nouns ending in -al don’t follow the usual rule when becoming plural. Instead of that s (les fêtes), they form their plural in -aux.
Ex: Un cheval, des chevaux; un journal, des journaux…
Exceptions: un bal populaire ; des bals populaires; un carnaval coloré, des carnavals colorés, un festival d’été, des festivals d’été…
NB: the same rule applies to the words ending in -eau: un drapeau; des drapeaux.