Just ten days after our own Independence Day fireworks spectacular, France is gearing up for a country-wide light show of its own. July 14th, otherwise known as Bastille Day or ‘La Fête Nationale,’ marks the anniversary of the peoples’ storming of the Bastille, a prison-fortress in Paris whose eventual surrender led to the abolition of Feudalism in France and the spark of the French Revolution. And though a French holiday, it’s no surprise that across the pond in multi-national New York, Bastille Day will be celebrated as well. Here are a few ways to feel a little French in the next few days.
1. The Bastille Day Ball, July 13th
Courtesy of the Consulate General of France and the Committee of French Speaking Societies, “New York’s only official Bastille Day Ball” kicks off at 6pm on Monday at the 404 on West 33rd Street. The ball will include a live French cabaret show, dinner, and open bar, and a raffle featuring a grand prize of two round-trip tickets to Paris. Get your tickets here.
2. FIAF Bastille Day on 60th Street, July 12th
Already a time-honored tradition in New York is the 60th Street celebration of Bastille Day, an old-fashioned street food fair and festival on 60th Street from 5th Avenue to Lexington Avenue that is returning to the neighborhood this Sunday. The ten-year event, hosted every year by the French Institute Alliance Française, is the largest French Independence Day festival in the city. Visitors will be able to enjoy a champagne tasting, free film screenings, a vintage Citroen car show, and live performances from can-can dancers and the French electro-pop group Ginkgoa.
3. Bar Tabac Bistro Pétanque Tournament, July 12th and 14th
Bar Tabac, a Parisian style bistro in Brooklyn, is hosting its annual Pétanque tournament in Brooklyn on the 12th and in TriBeCa on the 14th. Pétanque, a popular 19th century game that originated in Provence, France, is played with a series of heavy metal balls with rules similar to shuffleboard. Competing teams are welcome to register at the Bistro in Brooklyn. The first tournament day is set for July 12 at Cercle Rouge on West Broadway with the second on July 14th at Bar Tabac on Smith Street.
4. French Cooking Lessons, July 11th
Maille, a mustard and seasonings shop founded in 1747 with a location on the Upper West Side that has mustard on tap, is hosting a day of free French cooking lessons and food tasting at its New York boutique. Together with Cécile Delarue, chef and author of The Everything Easy French Cookbook and the Maille sommelier, Pierette Huttner, visitors will learn recipes using the essential French ingredient, Dijon mustard. Demos start every half hour from 2 to 5 pm.
5. French Restaurant Week, July 13-19th
Bastille Day also brings a wave of great deals on France’s #1 export: good food. French Restaurant Week in New York, featuring a number of participating restaurants across the city, kicks off on Monday, July 13th and continues throughout the week. Be sure to try such notable classics like l’Antagoniste in Brooklyn, Le Baratin on Greenwich Avenue, and Le Fond on Norman Avenue.
6. Bastille Day at BPNY, July 12th
Brookfield Place downtown will be hosting its own Bastille Day celebrations on the southern end of Manhattan, complete with food, music, and dancing. The new french marketplace Le District will be offering a few promotions like a Ricard Bar, picnic baskets, and a roving ice cream truck. The event also boasts a storytelling session by Posman Books, French lessons, and ballet lessons and performances by the New York Theater Ballet in the Brookfield Place Winter Garden.
Next, read about the Maille shop in NYC with mustard on tap. Get in touch with the author @jinwoochong.