France honors its health workers during small-scale events to mark the national holiday of July 14, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities have canceled the traditional military parade, but pay tribute to those who attack the virus.
The invited audience included families of French workers who died from Covid-19.
The annual events mark the capture of Bastille prison on July 14, 1789, considered to be the start of the French Revolution.
It is the first time that officials have canceled the annual military parade in the capital Paris since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
President Emmanuel Macron will give a rare television interview after the morning ceremonies.
How is France celebrating?
About 2,000 French soldiers gathered for a ceremony on Place de la Concorde.
It started with a tribute to General Charles de Gaulle, who 80 years ago called on France to resist the Nazi German occupation in a BBC radio speech in London.
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Although there is no parade on the Champs-Elysées, the troops will honor all those mobilized to fight the epidemic of coronavirus – including health workers and the armed forces.
This comes the day after the French government agreed to pay increases worth 8 billion euros (£ 7.2 billion; $ 9 billion) for French health workers.
A traditional overflight included military aircraft as well as a transport aircraft used to transport Covid-19 patients at the height of the pandemic in France.
Some 2,500 specially invited spectators – including the families of health workers who died during the pandemic – watched the events from socially distant headquarters.
Officials from four countries who welcomed French patients – Austria, Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland – were also invited to watch.
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The events are closed to the public, although they are televised. Many areas of Paris have been closed to prevent crowds from gathering.
A traditional fireworks display near the Eiffel Tower will take place at 11:00 pm local time as a “symbol of the resilience of our capital and our nation and a tribute to all the everyday heroes who worked during the duration of the epidemic “, According to a joint press release. by city authorities said.
What about the coronavirus?
President Macron will also give a rare TV interview after the ceremonies end this morning.
Macron canceled the annual tradition when he took office in 2017. But critics criticized his handling of the pandemic and its lack of television appearances, and officials at the Elysée Palace said he would tackle the epidemic and efforts to revive the French economy.
France has especially its national outbreak under control, but a number of public health officials have recently warned of the risks of a second wave.
Popular French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe resigned earlier this month as Mr Macron reshuffled his government following disappointing local election results.
A court announced an investigation into the French government’s treatment of the coronavirus response just hours after his resignation.
France has confirmed nearly 200,000 cases and 29,931 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.