Because Bastille Day falls on a weekend this year, we’ve really made a day of it–celebrate Bastille Day and the French Revolution with these picks for getting the most of France in the District. From picnic ideas, marathons, the biggest parties in town, menu specials and wine discounts, we’ve got you covered. Vive le Bastille Day Weekend.
- **Pre-Outing Pro Tip: Start your day with some classic French pop songs. If you don’t actually speak French, you should feel right at home here:
- Spend part of your weekend enjoying the very French and very beautiful collection of 19th-Century French paintings at the National Gallery of Art. (Sure, these are +/- 100 years later than the storming of the Bastille but it’s certainly a way to celebrate France in all its non-beheading, look-at-these-gorgeously-blurry-impressionistic-landscapes glory).
- Perhaps before or after your trip to the gallery, a picnic is perfect for feeling French (provided, of course, it does not rain down with the fury of one million disgruntled countrymen). Stop by Cowgirl Creamery in Penn Quarter for a summer cheese basket and PAUL Bakery for a loaf of bread and a delicious tart–you’re good to go.
- While this is a more extreme outing, it’s an outing nonetheless; DC Road Runners Club is holding its annual Bastille Day 4-Mile marathon. (A run before some wine and cheese perhaps?)
(Photo courtesy of NGA)
Themed Events & Parties
- L’Enfant Cafe’s Bastille Day Maid Race & Street Bash will be, quite virtually, one of the most incredible and somehow ridiculous things you’ll see all Saturday. Prepare for a maid race (hilarity to ensue), plus a masquerade ball, DJs, Can Can dancers, food, general merriment all night long and a chance to win two tickets to Paris. Oui, c’est vrai!
- Join PAUL Bakery for their second-annual French Baguette Relay Race on Saturday (10:30am for the children’s race, 11am for the adult race) on Pennsylvania Avenue. Dress up as a French maid or chef–or just go to look at other people dressed in costumes–winners get gift cards to PAUL, a great place to munch on Frenchly pastries and coffee on your Francophile afternoon.
(For further information, please call 202-524-4500.)
(Photo courtesy of PAUL Bakery)
- This year’s Bastille Day Celebration at the Embassy of France will be a classy (and tax-deductible) event you don’t want to miss. Rub elbows with some of DC’s top chefs and savor dishes from Citronelle, iCi Urban Bistro at Sofitel Lafayette Square, Bastille Restaurant, RIS, The Ritz-Carlton, Pâtisserie Poupon, Bistro Cacao, Silver Spoon and Michel Cordon Bleu (and then some). Dance to French jazz while you peruse the silent auction–proceeds benefit The Comité Tricolore, a non-profit volunteer organization that provides healthcare support to the sick and elderly in local French and French-American communities.
- And finally, Bistro du Coin will be celebrating with its annual Bastille Day flair; bring your dancing shoes and get ready for a straight-up party on Saturday night.
Delectable Food Specials
- Cafe du Parc will be serving a variety of grilled specialties like salmon, petite filet and lamb, with crêpe stations to boot.
- Class it up with The Grille at Morrison House and enjoy an evening of all things French, from drink specials–French Martinis and French 75s– to theme-appropriate music played by former White House pianist Robert Smith and delicious cuisine with featured wines.
(Please call 703-838-8000 for reservations or further information.)
- Enjoy a three-course prix fixe meal at Bastille (how could they not?) served from noon until 9:30pm on Saturday. For $29, treat yourself to a French flavor steal of a deal with plates like warm goat cheese cromesqui with organic mesclun and local berries, moullard duck leg confit with grilled local peaches, moules steamed in white wine, steak with pommes frites, espresso ice cream, peach tartin and more. (Is your mouth watering yet?)
- If you haven’t yet tried Mintwood Place–one of the District’s most discussed and acclaimed French-inspired bistros–this weekend might be the perfect time. In addition to new French dishes and cocktails on the menu, Mintwood is also offering 15% off all french wines by the bottle this weekend, July 13-15. (We recommend putting in reservations ASAP.)
- And last but not least, a perfect way to round out your Bastille Day Weekend; Sticky Fingers Bakery is offering fun Tour de France cupcakes through July 22nd; bite into gourmet vegan vanilla cupcakes with lemon frosting.
And a happy revolution celebration to you all! Watch out for those uprisings.