On July 14, the French commemorate the storming of the Bastille in 1789 and the Fête de la Fédération in 1790. On this same day, Americans and Canadians celebrate “Bastille Day,” a full-blown festival of French culture in all its forms. This year’s line-up includes street parties in Manhattan, Milwaukee, Vancouver, and Atlanta, a cruise around the port of San Diego organized by the local branch of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, a “French ball” in Brooklyn and another in Los Angeles, a “guinguette party” in Miami Beach, and an open-air pool party in Toronto. There is also a free concert in Central Park with violinist Virgil Boutellis-Taft, French-American jazz singer China Moses, the “one-woman orchestra” DeLaurentis, and DJ Joachim Garraud!
In the French Quarter in New Orleans, the city’s Council of French Societies will be laying a wreath of flowers at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc, while a five-course dinner will be hosted in the Baltimore suburbs at Gramercy Mansion, which was built in 1902 by the brother of American Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. In Washington D.C., the French embassy will be holding a reception championing the Vendée département and the terroir of the French Atlantic coast. Nantes-born chef Gilles Epié, who has served U.S. presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, and was the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star, will be cooking up a storm for the guests.
Last but not least, don’t miss out on the annual parade of Citroën cars and Solex bicycles through the streets of Manhattan, a game of pétanque in a park in Honolulu with views over the Pacific Ocean, another in the gardens of the French Legation in Austin (the first institution representing the French government in Texas), as well as countless concerts, picnics, festive specials in restaurants, wine tastings, and more! Happy Bastille Day!
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