Mali, due to the French intervention there early this year, Croatia for its recent entry into the European Union and the A400M military transport aircraft because of its recent entry into service were the stars of the military parade on Bastille Day in Paris on Sunday.

President François Hollande, as per tradition, inaugurated the solemn ceremony just after 10:30 a.m. by reviewing the troops shortly before they marched along the Champs Elysees for an hour and a quarter.

Once Hollande was ensconced on the viewing stand for important officials, flanked by his Croatian and Malian counterparts, Ivo Josipovic and Diocounda Traore, respectively, as well as by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, several dozen military aircraft flew over the Champs Elysees.

The star among the aircraft overhead was the first A400M manufactured in the plant that the European Airbus group has in Seville, Spain, which Hollande himself flew in during the air show in late June at Le Bourget on the outskirts of Paris.

The first soldiers to march down the Champs Elysees were 55 Malian troops.

In all, participating in the military activities for the Paris ceremony were 4,823 people on foot, 241 horses of the Republican Guard, 58 airplanes, 35 helicopters and 265 vehicles, with the event being closed out by the landing of six parachutists. EFE