Bastille Day 2011: Paris Celebrates With Colorful Parades, Spectacular Air Displays (PHOTOS)

Paris was the scene of colorful military parades and spectacular air displays as proud citizens took to the Champs-Élysées avenue to celebrate Bastille Day.

Known in France as Fête Nationale, Bastille Day officially commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, which was held on the one-year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, a Parisian prison that at the time housed only a handful of inmates but which had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs.

The storming, in term, signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.

Appearing at the festivities, President Nicolas Sarkozy dedicated this year's celebration to five French soldiers who lost their lives serving in Afghanistan.

Take a look at some photos of the spectacular celebrations here. Liberté, égalité, fraternité!