Marble rotunda lobby leading to the Albertine Reading Room and Bookshop in the landmarked Payne Whitney mansion
The Bastille Day Celebration, or La Fete Nationale, is a time-honored tradition in New York City that has grown to become a week-long celebration. It marks the anniversary of the French storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, and the celebrations continue to this day, across the pond. From street fairs to chocolatiers, here are thirteen ways you can celebrate Bastille Day in New York City all throughout this week. Vive La France!
13. Celebrate Bastille Day at the French Institute Alliance Francaise
The traditional 60th Street celebration of Bastille Day will be held on Sunday, July 10th. This event is hosted by the French Institute Alliance Francaise and is the largest French Independence Day festival in New York City. The area between 60th Street from 5th Avenue to Lexington Avenue will be filled with champagne and wine tastings, free film screenings, live performances (including can-can dancers), crepes and eclairs, music and dancing. This festival is also the last stop for the Citroen car parade. The event is free, with some paid ticketed events available, and runs from Noon to 5pm.
12. The New York Citroen and Velosolex Club Parade
Another Bastille Day tradition is the parade of classic Citroen cars tooling around locations related to French culture, such as Washington Square Park, Maison Kayser patisserie, and L’Occitane. The parade will take place on Sunday, July 10th, beginning at 9am at 122nd Street and Riverside Drive South. The Greater New York Citroen and Velosolex Club Bastille Day Rally around New York City concludes at the French Institute Alliance Francaise celebration on East 60th Street.11. The Albertine Reading Room and Book Shop
Located at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the Albertine reading room and bookshop opened in 2014. It is the only French bookstore in New York City, following the closing of Librarie de France in 2010, and is open to the public. Much attention to detail was paid in the renovation of the space, and it includes a painted ceiling of the constellation, which was inspired by a mural in the palazzo of Lorenzo de Medici made in France and moved to New York City. The Albertine is located at 972 Fifth Avenue, at 79th Street.
10. French Restaurant Week
With over 43 French restaurants participating, there is no shortage of French tastings in New York City this week. From upper Manhattan at Cheri, to L’Antagoniste in Brooklyn, you’ll find Bastille Day festivities to match the good food at each one. French Restaurant Week runs from July 4-17.
9. Take a Bastille Day Bateaux New York Cruise
Fashioned after the elegant glass boats that cruise the riverbanks of Paris, Bateaux New York offers lunch, brunch and dinner cruises with views along the Hudson River, New York Harbor and East River from the 180 degree curved glass ceiling and walls of the ship. Bateaux New York boards from Chelsea Piers.
8. Bastille Day on Smith Street in Boerum Hill
The Smith Street Bastille Day Celebration and Petanque Tournament will be held on Sunday, July 10th, from Noon to 6 pm, and is hosted annually by Bar Tabac. The lively event typically draws 20,000 spectators, and this year, 72 teams of three people will compete on ten sand-packed courts for the Petanque Tournament, which is the French variation of Bocce Ball. Bar Tabac, a Parisian style bistro, is located at 128 Smith Street in Brooklyn.
7. Sweet Treats
New York City is home to several famous French chocolatiers. Here are some sweet French treats and where to find them: Jacques Torres Chocolate, Richart Chocolates at Gastronomie 491, and Maison du Chocolat.
Also, what better way to celebrate the French Revolution than with a classic French macaron? This French sweet meringue-based confection can be found all over New York City. Here are 10 places to enjoy these sugar-filled culinary treats.
6. La Maison Maille Celebrates Bastille Day
You can celebrate Bastille Day at La Maison Maille by sampling more than thirty flavors of Dijon. This French vinegar purveyor, founded in 1747 in Dijon, has been around longer than the United States has been a country. Maille opened their first shop in the United States in 2014 on Columbus Avenue and 68th Street and a second shop last year in the Flatiron District.
5. The Annual Bastille Day Ball
The Bastille Day Ball is a major annual French community event that attracts over 1,000 guests. It is organized by the Committee of French Speaking Societies, Inc., which is now in its 94th year. The event will be held on Wednesday, July 13 at Club 404, 404 Tenth Avenue, from 6 pm to 1 am.
4. “The Triplets of Belleville” in Prospect Park
On Bastille Day, July 14, the Prospect Park bandshell will present “The Triplets of Belleville” with live score. This is the story of a woman rescuing her Tour de France cyclist grandson from a French mafia kidnapping. This free event is sure to be entertaining. It is at 7 pm and located at Ninth Street and Prospect Park.
3. “An Attic Full of Hope” by Bronx en Seine
For one day only, Bronx en Seine will be performing a bilingual version of their show “An Attic Full of Hope.” This play is inspired by the book, The House on Mango Street, and is the result of a two-year, cross-continental collaboration between high school students in Nanterre, France and the Bronx. It will take place at the Florence Gould Theatre at 55 East 59th Street, with showtimes available at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm.
2. Paying Homage to Fromage at Murray’s Cheese Shop
On Bastille Day, Murray’s Cheese Shop would like you to join them as they pay homage to fromage and explore the rustic and refined French cheesemaking tradition. Murray’s resident wine educator, David Furer, selected the wine for the occasion, and Murray’s education manager has lovingly paired each with some of their best French cheeses. It is located at Murray’s Cheese Shop, 254 Bleecker Street from 6:30-8pm. You can purchase tickets through Eventbrite.
1. Celebrate the French Revolution at Brookfield Place
Bastille Day at Brookfield Place. Image via Brookfield Place
The Bastille Day celebration will be taking over the outdoor plaza and the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place on Saturday, July 16, with a 30,000 square foot French marketplace, Le District. An extended bar, tournaments, games and music will begin at 11 am and run through 5:45 pm. Look for Bilingual Birdies, New York Theatre Ballet, the Avalon Jazz Band and a host of other entertainment. It is located at 230 Vesey Street.