Nine distinctly français ways to observe French Independence Day.
Whether you love France for that nice assist in the Revolutionary War or because you simply love French food and culture, Bastille Day is when to show it. This weekend, New Yorkers are invited to partake in plenty of Stateside festivities, including pétanque tournaments, dance parties, food festivals, and even a French-themed wine-and-cheese tasting, all in honor of the 230th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. Here’s how to make the most of Bastille Day 2019 in New York City.
Eat your way through the city’s French restaurants
Starting today and going through July 21, New Yorkers are invited to grab some very affordable meals at the city’s many, many French restaurants. Dining options range from $18 for an amuse-bouche plus a drink up to a $190 prix fixe dinner for two with a bottle of wine. Participating restaurants include Petite Boucherie, St. Tropez Wine Bar, Bistrot Leo, and 18 other local eateries. Check out the whole list here.
Party like you’re in Provence — in Cobble Hill
Of all Brooklyn neighborhoods, Cobble Hill would seem to be le plus français. To wit: Bar Tabac’s yearly fête in observance of Bastille Day, featuring live music, food and wine, and a perennially hard-fought pétanque tournament. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. and last until sunset.
… Or on the Upper West Side
On Saturday, July 13, drop by Cafe du Soleil for a special menu featuring Provençal delights, live music, and a pétanque tournament with a $55 buy-in, which includes a bottle of rosé. So even if you lose, you win.
Drink you way through the day at Jacques Brasserie
Fun fact: On Bastille Day in France, fire stations throughout the country host some of the best parties. Unfortunately, the FDNY isn’t hip to the situation, so your next-best bet is to head to Jacques Brasserie on the Upper East Side for a boozy party featuring multiple renditions of “La Marseillaise,” merguez-and-harissa baguette sandwiches, brochette skewers, and three specialty cocktails: Lillet spritzes; the refreshing Jacques 75 with gin, cucumber, lime juice, and Champagne; and Bal des Pompiers with Ricard, Angostura bitters, simple syrup, club soda, and an orange slice.
Take in some French (and French diaspora) classical music in Van Cortlandt Park
What better way to spend Bastille Day than with a bottle of wine, some Brie, and an outdoor concert? On Sunday, the Bronx Arts Ensemble will host a small show in Van Cortlandt Park, featuring a performance of Maurice Ravel’s only string quartet (which some might recognize from the opening scenes of The Royal Tenenbaums) as well as a guitar composition by Haitian composer Frantz Casséus and revolutionary composer Germaine Tailleferre’s String Quartet. The performance starts at 2 p.m. in the park’s Rockwood Circle.
Attend a French-themed wine-and-cheese pairing at Murray’s
Those looking to celebrate Bastille Day and learn a few new things in the process will want to drop by Murray’s Cheese for a 90-minute romp through French-fromage history. On Sunday, the shop’s cheesemongers will host a French-cheese tasting with wine pairings. Grab tickets ($90) here.
Go on a study-abroad trip without ever leaving the city
For more than two decades, the French Institute: Alliance Française has hosted the city’s most over-the-top Bastille Day celebration, and 2019 is no exception. On Sunday, the organization will once again take over three blocks of 60th Street, from Fifth Avenue to Lexington Avenue, for a daylong celebration complete with a Champagne, cocktail, and jazz party in the institute’s Sky Room, a screening of the 2017 hit film C’est la Vie, a French market featuring 60 vendors, and four uninterrupted hours of live music. The event itself is free, but some of the activities require tickets, which you can find here.
Order a box of religieuses from Dominique Ansel Bakery
If you’re going to celebrate Bastille Day, it might as well be with one of the city’s most famous French pâtissiers. From July 12 through the 14th, both locations of Dominique Ansel’s bakeries will be selling religieuses, or double-decker cream puffs, filled with Nutella cream and outfitted with a striped shirt and marshmallow beret, for $8 each. Grab one — or a half-dozen, if you’re feeling particularly inspired by the occasion.
Get dressed up and dance the night away with the Maison de Oui.
On Saturday, Bushwick’s House of Yes will become something like a modern Moulin Rouge, with guests encouraged — nay, required — to dress up for the occasion in their most flamboyant outfits. That means rouged cheeks, powdered wigs, and other let-them-eat-cake wear. There will be Champagne, a French-kissing booth, some cancan dancing, and all manner of debauchery. Admission is free before midnight with RSVP and ticket prices going up to $35 after that.