The history of fireworks in France began around the 17th century at the court of the king Louis the XIVth. Originally fireworks were not shown for themselves, but only during theatre representations as an illustration of it. The first fireworks weren’t colored, and were just supposed to imitate fire, but afterwards colors were added on it to create more complex visual effects.
Nowadays, fireworks are used for special events celebrations. Sometimes new year is celebrated with fireworks in big cites, but this is not a generalized custom. In summer, many historical shows including fireworks are organized in castles (the most famous one taking place in Le Puy du Fou in Vendée). We have also an international festival called Les Nuits de Feu dedicated to fireworks in Picardie, with a most beautiful fireworks contest.
The only event for which fireworks are shot in every French town and village is the national fest, which takes place every July 14th. The French national fest commemorates a symbolic event that occurred at the beginning of the French revolution. On July 14th, 1789, people of Paris marched on a prison called La Bastille where political opponents were jailed and freed the prisoners.
This date was chosen in July 1880, and for the first occurrence of it there were military parades, popular dancing balls were organized, and fireworks were shot. On following years the national fest was celebrated in a similar way, and nowadays that tradition of balls and fireworks during the day remains, as well as the military parade on the famous avenue of Paris called Champs-Elysées.