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France

In photos: WWI brought to life by re-enactors on Bastille Day

© Mehdi Chebil/ FRANCE 24

Text by Mehdi CHEBIL

Latest update : 2014-07-14

France invited World War I re-enactment groups from across the world to attend the 2014 Bastille Day celebrations, as Paris marks the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

Parisians and tourists alike were greeted with the surprising sight of ‘soldiers’ in vintage army uniforms from Czarist Russia, Imperial Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy and France roaming around the capital on France’s national holiday.

The base camp for these World War I re-enactors? The capital’s popular Tuileries Garden (le Jardin des Tuileries), next to the world-famous Louvre Museum.

“We are here to honour and remember the soldiers who fought in World War I”, says Bastien Lepine, who travelled to Paris from the southern French town of Albi with the re-enactment association “Histoire et Passions”.

“We put on our uniforms as soon as we arrived last night to get into the spirit. I even slept here”, says Lepine, pointing to a large white tent 20 metres away from the German encampment. “We heard them celebrating their World Cup victory” he added with a laugh, referring to the German World Cup Victory.

Michael Pfahlar, a member of a German re-enactment association Alte DSM from Karlsruhe, said he was particularly honoured to have been invited by the French presidency.

“It’s important to have contacts with French groups who share our interest in history”, says Pfahler. “We also met people from Romania and Italy… But last night we ended up talking more about football than World War I!”

Date created : 2014-07-14

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