The story behind the fire
On 14th August 1898, the Citadel of Carcassonne played host to the “Cadets de Gascogne”, a famous group of eminent personalities from the world of literature, art and politics.
A great celebration was organised in their honour, with historical reconstitutions, balls, banquets and parades… At nightfall, the old town was lit up by a spectacle of fire that marked the end of the festivities.
The people of Carcassonne and everyone in the audience were awe-struck. It was such a crowning success that the town council decided to make it an annual event.
Ever since, each year on 14th July, Bastille Day, the Citadel bursts into flame and smoke engulfs the town, amid explosions, whistling rockets and the smell of gunpowder.
Hundreds of thousands of people gather at the foot of the Citadel to enjoy this spectacle, now a ritual that nobody in Aude or across the region wants to miss!