Bastille Day 2014: Celebrate French independence in NYC
Monday, July 14 is Bastille Day in France, and all over New York City there are ways to celebrate. The festivities are taking place all weekend long, with the big street festivals happening on Sunday.
Looking for ways to throw down, French-style? We've got you covered!
Play pétanque on Smith Street
Arguably the center of French culture in NYC, Smith Street in Boerum Hill is home to a Bastille Day celebration that's been going on for 13 years. The action is concentrated around the restaurnt Bar Tabac, on the corner of Dean Street and Smith Street on Sunday, July 13. The street is shut down, sand is dumped and pétanque courts are built. The games begin at noon, and as many as 64 teams will be competing. Come cheer them on, listen to music in the streets and knock back some rose or pastis.
Indulge on French pastries and culture
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) presents Bastille Day on 60th Street on Sunday, July 13 from noon -5 p.m. Three blocks of 60th Street, from Fifth to Lexington avenues will be closed to traffic and instead will play host to a lively French party, complete with entertainment, dancing, wine tastings and plenty of joie de vivre. There are also wine and food tastings and culinary delights from Dominique Ansel Bakery, DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Francois Payard Bakery and others.
Ogle vintage Citroen automobiles and Velosolex motorized bicycles
These vintage autos and bikes from France will parade around the city as part of the Bastille Day Rally and Rendez Vous, starting at Grant's Tomb at 122nd St. and Riverside Park South on Sunday, July 13 at 10 a.m. They will drive around the city and culminate near the French Institute Alliance Française event.
Drink too much Lillet
The delightful and refreshing French aperitif Lillet makes for a wonderful cocktail. Try it clean and simple, over ice, or mix it up. Here are some sample recipes from Lillet:
2 parts Lillet Rouge
4 parts Ginger Beer (Baritts Ginger Beer is recommended)
Add spirit to Collins-style glass, Top with ice, then ginger beer, Garnish with lime wedge
2 parts Lillet Rosé
¾ part fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
½ part fresh squeeze lemon juice
¾ part simple syrup
2 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
Shake vigorously spirits, juices, and syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice, Strain into ice-filled Collins-style glass, Top with soda water, Add bitters, Garnish with raspberries
Eat escargots at Benoit
French cuisine doesn't get much better than Alain Ducasse, so head to the beautiful and decadent Benoit New York to celebrate the French. Order the classic escargots, with garlic and parsley butter. Of course, other favorites like cassoulet and terrine are also suitable choices!
Go wild with Chartreuse sno-cones
Chartreuse sno-cones would get us halfway across the world in the dead of winter! Luckily, they can be had in Montmartre's beautiful garden on Sunday, July 13 from 2 - 9 p.m. Also featured at the party: "live gypsy jazz," the World Cup Final, oysters and other delicious bites. $89 per person.
Dine on an Auguste Escoffier created menu
The French chef served an elaborate menu in Paris in 1900 that General Assembly is recreating in honor of Bastille Day on Monday, July 14. Menu items include melon soaked in Champagne, summer pea salad, roasted duck breast with truffle jus and frisée, green and white asparagus with creme fraiche and brown butter cake with caramel rum sauce. $65 per person, $15 for accompanying champagne tasting.