FOOD & WINE

Bastille Day: Everyone can eat like they’re French

July 7, 2016
French baguettes (of course!) at the Saint Antoine Market in Lyon
Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Bastille Day falls on Thursday, July 14th this year, a day when everyone feels a little French. The day is not only celebrated in France but all over the world.

Bastille Day traditions

Storming of the Bastille by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel (Credit: Wikipedia)

Storming of the Bastille by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel (Credit: Wikipedia)

Similar to our Fourth of July, the French celebrate French National Day, also called Le Quatorze Juillet. This public holiday commemorates the date in 1789 when the common people of Paris stormed the Bastille, then a fortress prison. The citizen uprising triggered the French Revolution, leading to the end of the monarchy and creation of the French Republic.

Unless the holiday falls on a Sunday, it is always celebrated the Sunday before July 14 (this year on July 10). For the French, It’s a day of military parades; fireworks; arts festivals; popping bottles of champagne and uncorking wine; and festive displays of red, white and blue flags all over Paris (and other places with a tie to the country’s military history). Families gather to celebrate the holiday at home or at restaurants.

Bastille Day is celebrated in many U.S. cities, too, but some of the biggest celebrations take place in Manhattan and Brooklyn, New York. On 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington Avenues in Manhattan, revelers enjoy market stalls, live performances and authentic French cuisine.

So much of French culture has been incorporated into our own. But the French have had a particularly profound influence on our cuisine (which, in French literally means “kitchen.”)

French Restaurant Week in New York

Now in its seventh year, New Yorkers can take advantage of French Restaurant Week when more than 120 restaurants across the city (in collaboration with OpenTable.com) offer special prix-fixe menus for dinner (and, in some cases, lunch) at “revolutionary” prices of $17.89, $35.78 and $178.90. Some of the proceeds will be donated to the official Bastille Day Charity, Action Against Hunger International (ACF).

The good news: French Restaurant week runs from July 4 through July 17th so there is still time to join the festivities.

To inspire your own French culinary spirit, we present some of our favorite dishes.


Some of our French culinary favorites (in no particular order):

Pie quenelle with crayfish sauce at Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Pike quenelle with crayfish sauce at Restaurant Paul Bocuse

Tarte Tropezienne (the iconic dessert of St. Tropez) at Essie Caffe

Tarte Tropezienne (the iconic dessert of St. Tropez) at Essie Caffe

Foie gras at Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Foie gras at Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Colorful macarons at the Marche des Quai in Bordeaux

Colorful macarons at the Marche des Quai in Bordeaux

Varieties of mustard at the Les Halle market in Dijon

Varieties of mustard at the Les Halle market in Dijon

French baguettes (of course!) at the Saint Antoine Market in Lyon

French baguettes (of course!) at the Saint Antoine Market in Lyon

White asparagus at the market in Macon

White asparagus at the market in Macon

Creme brulee on a French river cruise with Grand Circle Cruise Line

Creme brulee on a French river cruise with Grand Circle Cruise Line

Addictive cannelle on a Viking River Cruise through Bordeaux

Addictive cannelle on a Viking River Cruise through Bordeaux

Bresse chickens at the Bocuse Market in Lyon - thought to be the best in the world

Bresse chickens at the Bocuse Market in Lyon – thought to be the best in the world

Grand Marnier Souffle at La Mere Brazier in Lyon

Grand Marnier Souffle at La Mere Brazier in Lyon


Do you have a favorite French dish?


Interesting reads elsewhere on the Web:


In memory of those lives affected by the Nice truck attack on July 14, 2016

In memory of those lives affected by the terrorizing truck attack in Nice on July 14, 2016

  • Reply
    Sand In My Suitcase
    July 13, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    French Restaurant Week sounds like a tasty culinary time in New York ☺. Our favorite French foods? You can’t beat a perfectly baked fresh and crispy baguette, fine cheese (the stinkier the better) and a great bottle of French wine…

  • Reply
    Jackie Smith
    July 14, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Wouldn’t it be fun if other cities joined in the fun of French restaurant week as well? Fantastic photos. Sadly, my mouth is watering and it isn’t even 7 a.m. on the West Coast. . .

  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    July 14, 2016 at 11:47 am

    What can I say except I loved your post! In NYC there’s also Le District, one of my favourite Frenchy” areas!

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