In America we love our holidays. We will celebrate anything from fried dough on National Donut Day to International Tuba Day. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day and we all enjoy a fiesta on Cinco De Mayo, why not go French for Bastille Day? In France, French National Day on July 14th commemorates the storming of The Bastille and the beginning of the French Revolution. It’s what July 4th means to Americans: liberty and freedom. Much like the 4th of July in the US, parades and fireworks are a way of celebrating independence in France. But, there are many ways to revel in the festivities no matter where you are in the world.
Many major cities internationally hold Bastille Day events. New York City puts on Bastille Day on 60th with live entertainment, food, and activities. Chicago has a 5k/8k run and block party in Lincoln Park. New Orleans, “the most French of American cities,” has a festival, strangely, in The Spanish Plaza, not the French Quarter. London with its large French population has many Bastille Day shindigs around the city. You may find that even the smaller cities near you or your own town have some sort of French affair in observance of the holiday. The festivities you may encounter at a Bastille Day celebration are entertainment including mime acts and Can Can dancers, French food like crêpes, waiter races, and parades.
If you can’t make it to one of the public soirées, there are numerous things you can do to be French for the day. Create a French feast in your kitchen. A simple frisée salad, some fancy French cheese, croissants, pommes frites, good French wine or champagne would all do the trick. Try your hand at making a classic French dessert like macarons or tarte tatin. Listen to some French pop music, the Les Miserables soundtrack, or that band Bastille. Watch a French movie. Anything by Jean-Luc Godard, Ratatouille, Paris When it Sizzles, French Kiss or Amélie will indulge your French appetite. Wear red, white, and blue that you, no doubt, have left over from July 4th celebrations or a beret, if you have one. Talk with a French accent and ride around with a baguette in your bicycle basket. Enjoy the day and don’t let it pass by like any other.