On the heels of the Fourth of July — and at the risk of sounding unpatriotic — I cannot tell a lie: I love Bastille Day. As in an I-planned-a-vacation-to-Paris-around-Bastille-Day kind of love. Though I sadly won't be spending Le Quatorze Juillet en France this year, there are plenty of transporting faux fêtes and French experiences available in the Big Apple. If you'll be in the NYC area this weekend, fill your days with crêpes, pétanque, music and dancing, or, in other words, Liberté, égalité, et fraternité!
Friday, July 12: Bastille Ball
6.30pm-1.00am. Manhattan. $30. Tickets available HERE. They stormed the Bastille and all they got was a lousy democracy. Just kidding. Party with some of France's diplomatic reps (including the Ambassador of France to the U.S. and the Consul General of France in New York) at party complete with cash bar and, bien sur, passed hors d'oeuvres. Dance to a live orchestra and enter a chance to win two roundtrip Air France tickets to Paris.
Saturday, July 13: Parisian Ball
4.00pm-2.00am. Governor's Island. $50. We want to go just to satisfy our curiosity. Partnering with Fete Paradiso, this ball is part-French music festival, part-world's first festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels. The mission is "to create a fairytale-like environment where New York's menagerie of communities can unite through music, arts and the pursuit of magic." This is probably the closest you'll come to bringing "Midnight in Paris" to life.
Sunday, July 14: Bastille Day on 60th Street
12.00pm-5.00pm. Manhattan. Free and open to the public. This upscale street fair is hosted annually by the French Institute Alliance Française, which offers French language lessons and French immersion events (need a Godard fix?) throughout the year. Handsome French mecs will make you Nutella crepes, scooping that gorgeous hazelnut spread out of jars the size of your head. If fromage is what you're craving, in the past, brie bikes have cruised around; it's the French equivalent of a Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. And, naturally, there will be macaroons by the barrel. Cronut king Dominique Ansel will also have a booth. A delightful addition to this year's celebration is the $30 gourmet boxed lunch (order online or buy on-sit): complete with rillettes, coq-au-vin, crème caramel, mini baguette, water and even a Phrygian hat; Google it — you'll like what you see).
Sunday, July 14: The little theatre of NY
3.00-4.00pm. Long Island City, Queens. Free and open to the public. When you've had your fill of food, head to the Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens to hear selections from various French operas performed by a cast of 6 singers. OR...
SUNDAY, JULY 14: Bar Tabac Pétanque Tournament
11.00am-10.00pm. Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. Free and open to the public. Root for local teams of pétanque players at Bar Taabac's annual tournament. Located in Carroll Gardens, home to NYC's most densely-concentrated Francophone population, the section of Smith Street in front of this favorite resto is closed off and parsed into several boules fields. 80 teams compete for sudden-death victories to determine the ultimate winner.