Today is Bastille Day, America’s coined term to indicate the French National Day. In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale (The National Celebration) and commonly Le quatorze juillet (the fourteenth of July). Celebrated annually on July 14th, French National Day celebrates the official day of the Fête de la Fédération, the event of 1790 honoring the brand new French Republic. Having many Francophones living in the DC area gives a great cause to throw a cultural celebration. There’s also this long history that France has been the United States’ first ally since 1776. Can you say BFFs?!!
If you’re looking for something fun and French to do today, keep reading. We’ve listed many activities the DC area offers for Bastille Day.
Bastille Day Celebration at Le Diplomate, a French bistro restaurant located 14th and Q Street NW. Surrounded by festive Bastille Day décor, guests will be entertained by a mime, a common occurrence on the streets of Paris. In addition to Le Diplomate’s regular menu of classic French cuisine, tonight’s menu will also include Quenelles de Brochet with Nantua Sauce as a Bastille Day special, a French delicacy rarely served stateside. There will also be an opportunity to play Pétanque, a French game similar to bocce.
Bastille Day Celebration at L’Enfant Café, a European-style restaurant located at 18th and U Street NW, is serving happy hour from open to close, featuring $5 Stella Artois, red, white and sparkling wine, and highballs. A DJ will provide entertainment while French maids offer fantastique service (read: more entertainment).
Bastille Day Celebration at Sofitel DC Lafayette Square, a contemporary luxury hotel located on 15th and H Street NW. Enjoy complimentary champagne tasting by Veuve Clicquot, giveaways & delicious macaroons courtesy of Celebrity Cruises, live music by Bitter Dose Combo, artistic presentations by Nena Depaz, dancing, and cake by “Marie Antoinette”. Whether you’re a revolutionary or a royalist, there will be something for you during this merriment. Tickets are $20 online and $30 at the door.
Bistro Du Coin, a French bistro restaurant located at Connecticut and S Street NW, is commemorating La Fête Nationale with dinner and entertainment at this neighborhood favorite. Known for its parties celebrating France’s three biggest holidays, Bistro Du Coin does Bastille day right with traditional French fare, music by DJ Ash, and a lively atmosphere. Reservations required for the sit-down dinner with two dinner seatings at 7 pm and 9 pm.
Central Michel Richard, a casual Franco-American brasserie located on 11th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, has developed a special menu for the holiday. The restaurant is also serving complimentary savory cheese pastries and patriotic libations.
Et Voila!, a modern Belgian restaurant located at MacArthur Boulevard and Dana Place NW. This Palisades restaurant is offering a French feast for dinner, with your choice of a three-course special holiday menu ($40 per person), or regular à la carte options.
To celebrate French National Day, Le Grenier, a family-owned French restaurant located on 5th and H Street NE, is offering an evening of free Kronenbourg beer and tasty baguettes. In the evening, there will be freebies and live music by Kevin McWha Steele, a bilingual singer-songwriter.
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Gigi Smith is the chief editor of DC Life Magazine, a publication specializing in cultural diversity for social change in the nation's capital.