Page last updated at 16:11 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 17:11 UK

In pictures: Bastille Day parade

Jets fly over the Arc de Triomphe

France has been celebrating Bastille Day with a huge military parade down the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris, involving 4,000 marching soldiers and police, 65 aircraft and 241 mounted horsemen.

Spectators use periscopes to watch the parade

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison in Paris in 1789, the event regarded as the start of the French Revolution.

UN troops lead the parade down the Champs-Elysees

The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, was guest of honour, and two units of UN peacekeepers led off the parade.

Nicolas Sarkozy (left) and Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Jean-Louis Georgelin on board an army jeep

The parade followed a weekend in which President Nicolas Sarkozy launched the Union for the Mediterranean to increase co-operation between the EU and African and Middle Eastern countries.

Pioneers of the French Foreign Legion

Despite the celebrations, Mr Sarkozy's broader plans to update the French military and cut more than 40,000 personnel meant there was deep unhappiness among many of the troops.

Republican Guards on parade

The president was also very critical of the military after a shooting incident at a display in Carcassonne two weeks ago, which resulted in the resignation of the army's chief of staff.

Ehud Olmert (left) and Hosni Mubarak

The guests on the review stand included the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was invited controversially, despite some objections.

Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser al-Misnad (left), Yoo Soon-taek (2nd left), Suzanne Mubarak (3rd left) and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

The French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (right), meanwhile entertained the leaders' wives.


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