Bastille Day parties and festivals in New York City to celebrate French independence

Whether attending a street festival on 60th Street, like sisters Emefa Duho and Olivia Duho, or by snacking on French delicacies, there are many ways to celebrate Bastille Day in New York City. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

The holiday memorializes the storming of the Bastille, which ushered in the fall of the monarchy and France’s independence.

Whether attending a street festival on 60th Street, like sisters Emefa Duho and Olivia Duho, or by snacking on French delicacies, there are many ways to celebrate Bastille Day in New York City.
Whether attending a street festival on 60th Street, like sisters Emefa Duho and Olivia Duho, or by snacking on French delicacies, there are many ways to celebrate Bastille Day in New York City. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

Everyone is French on Bastille Day.

France’s National Day on July 14 may cause the city to break out in blue, white and red, as music pours out from cafes and pétanque (a lawn game similar to bocce) takes over the streets.

The holiday memorializes the storming of the Bastille, a military fortress and prison, on July 14, 1789, which ushered in the fall of the monarchy and France’s independence.

Despite the July heat, parks and streets in New York City will host fêtes and tournaments, and several French restaurants plan to serve up Parisian delicacies and drinks.

Below are some of our favorite ways to have a bonne fête nationale (have a good National Day).

Summer Soiree with Caudalie
823 Washington St., West Village
July 11, 4 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy a mini facial, a glass of rosé and French treats like macarons at Caudalie, which has launched a limited edition Beauty Elixer and partnered with Ba&sh for exclusive gifts with the purchase of the elixir. 

Bal des Pompiers at Jacques Brasserie
204 E. 85th St., Upper East Side
July 13, 2 to 6 p.m.

Kick off your Bastille Day plans at French eatery Jacques Brasserie, which will have special drinks by Pernod and GH Mumm, street-style French bites and snacks, a DJ and a pétanque tournament. Jacques warns New Yorkers to expect "periodic rousing renditions" of "La Marseillaise." 

FIAF’s Bastille Day Celebration
60th Street, from Fifth to Lexington avenues, Upper East Side
Noon to 5 p.m.

As one of the largest Bastille Day parties, FIAF’s free fête takes over three city blocks with live music, dance, French cuisine, and more. It is free to stroll and take part in. FIAF also has ticketed events like a "Champagne, Cocktail and Jazz Party," and a "Summer in Provence Tasting."

Hornblower Boat Party
Pier 40, 353 West St., Manhattan
11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Take a yacht cruise around Manhattan to celebrate the day. Tickets, which are $30 to $70, include dancing and dining on the ship. Food and drink are available for purchase. 

Jazz brunch at Dirty French
180 Ludlow St.
Noon to 3:30 p.m

Bistro Dirty French is hosting a jazz brunch with The Swayze Lift, which sounds like riverboat jazz meets 1985, who will play two 90-minute sets. The menu includes steak frites, duck hash and salmon maison. Otherwise, the restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., serving dishes like fruit de mer grand plateau, trumpet royale mushroom millefeuille, brook trout meunière, spicy pork chop basquaise and côte de bœuf.

French wine and cheese at Murray’s Cheese Shop
254 Bleecker St., West Village
2 to 3:30  p.m.

Murray’s Cheese Shop is "paying homage to fromage" of France with a tasting of its cheeses that will be paired with exquisite French wine. Tickets are $90.

Edith Piaf tribute at Joe’s Pub
425 Lafayette St., Manhattan
9:30 p.m.

Myriam Phiro and her trio will take the audience through the world of iconic French singer Edith Piaf through a series of the artist’s songs for Bastille Day. It is a solo rendition of Phiro’s own "Piaf at 100" cabaret show. Tickets are $15.

Fancy pastries on sale at a Bastille Day French-themed street fair on East 60th Street on July 9, 2017.
Fancy pastries on sale at a Bastille Day French-themed street fair on East 60th Street on July 9, 2017. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

Bastille Bash at Bagatelle NYC
Little W. 12th St., Manhattan
11:30 a.m. to midnight

Bagatelle’s terrace will look like a St. Tropez beach with French flags and horseshoe games while the party inside includes can-can dancers, live music and brunch, including its signature truffle pizza, cocktails and Champagne.

Wine bar to pop-up in Times Square
Bar Bordeaux, the pedestrian plaza on Broadway between 46th and 47th streets
3 to 6 p.m.

Wine experts will be on hand to help you find the perfect wine and answer wine-related questions at this pop-up made from an old shipping container featuring more than 35 Bordeaux wines. You can also get a discounted glass of wine (usually $8-$12 a glass) to enjoy.

Gypsy Jazz cruise
Classic Harbor Line, Chelsea Pier 62
7 p.m. launch

Cruise along the river with guitarist Alex Simon and his trio performing the arrangements of Django Reinhardt, which will be a combination of 1930s French Swing as well as Louis Armstrong hits. Feast on a selection of French cheeses from Murray’s and a curated selection of French wines and crafted cocktails like a "Ms. Liberte" pea flower cocktail with Lillet. Tickets are $84 per person for the 2-hour cruise.

PUBLIC Hotel Rooftop party
215 Chrystie St.
4 to 10 p.m.

Enjoy a rosé open bar and French music set to the Manhattan skyline on Sunday starting at 4 p.m. Save a seat by emailing rsvp@readymade.live

French Kiss at House of Yes
2 Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick
July 13, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

House of Yes wants you to attend its all-nighter dressed up as your wildest French dreams — "Rouge, Red and ravishing. Versailles to Paris. Moulin Rouge realness. Dapper man. Pearl necklaces. Silk chiffon. Leather and Lace. Lingerie and Pret a Porter. Knockoff Chanel and Dior." Music will be provided by Denney and Beige and there will be firefighters, French kissing booths, Champagne, French lessons, can-can dancing and much more. Tickets are $20-$30.

Carroll Gardens Bastille Day celebration and Pétanque tournament
Smith Street, Brooklyn
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Bar Tabac’s annual party is back with a street full of pétanque games, raffles, live music, and food and drink from local businesses. Free.

French fun at Socceroof
14B 53rd St., third floor, Brooklyn
4 p.m. to midnight

Brooklyn sports complex Socceroof is hosting a Bastille Day event with DJs, pétanque, food, drink, pastis, beer pong, a sunset music session and more. There will be a chance to win two tickets to Paris from XL Airways, as well. Tickets are $20.

Song and French fair at Talon Bar
220 Wyckoff Ave., Brooklyn
4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Listen to Monsieur, a French singer, perform sets at 5 and 9 p.m. and enjoy moules frites, barbecue, sausage, pastis, wine and beer. Admission is free.

Bastille Day Concert
Rockwood Circle, Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx
2 to 4 p.m.

The Bronx Arts Ensemble’s string quartet will perform pieces by French composers, including Ravel’s String Quartet in F Major, music by Haitian composer Frantz Casseus and Germaine Tailleferre. Free. 

Bastille Day in Jersey City
The French American Academy, 209 Third St.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Spend the day indulging in French cuisine like crepes, macarons, pains au chocolate, quiche, baguettes, wine and beer, perusing French-themed market booths, dancing to live music and watching dance and mime performances. Tickets are free, but RSVP on eventbrite.com.

Choc O Pain tastings and music
530 Jersey Ave., Jersey City
330-332 Palisade Ave., Jersey City
Now through Sunday

Choc O Pain French Bakery & Café is celebrating Jersey City’s French Week and Bastille Day at all of its locations this week with French music and tastings. From 10 a.m. to noon daily, Choc O Pain will be doing free tastings of its charcuterie, cheese, bread, jams their fresh bread and more. Then at 11 a.m. on Friday, French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet will perform at the Hudson Tea Building and at 1:30 p.m. at the 157 First Street Hoboken location. 

Shaye Weaver