Bastille Day (a.k.a. "14 Juillet" in French) is the French national holiday. It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille fortress-prison in Paris on 14 July 1789. The storming of La Bastille was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern nation during the French Revolution.
Each year on July 14, festivities in France begin with an official military parade on the Champs-Élysées avenue in Paris, in presence of the President of the Republic. Then at night, in every town and village in the country, you'd have massive fireworks, as well as a traditional "bal des pompiers" - a popular evening ball held at the local fire station, with live music bands, street food, cute guys in uniforms and people from all generations dancing the night away.
1. Alliance Francaise's Bastille Day Party on Saturday 10 July, at the National Art School in Darlinghurst. This is the not-to-be-missed French party of the year, with delicious food and an open bar throughout the evening. Enjoy live music, with Sydney's very own French Manouche Trio and France's brass band Les Trompettes de Lyon. Icing on the cake: there are amazing raffle prizes to be won, including 2 return tickets to Paris with Air Austral, a gorgeous Longchamp bag, a night for 2 at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney with 2 concert tickets at the Sydney Opera House, a French class at Alliance Francaise, a VIP cut-and-style session at Franck Provost Sydney, and much more.
2. Ash St Cellar in the city offer a Bastille Day four-course dinner on July 14 with matched wines selected by Merivale group sommelier Franck Moreau (voted 2010 Sommelier of the Year in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide).
4. Brasserie Bread, my favourite artisan bakery in Sydney, invite you to a fun "bakery tweet-up" event on the morning of July 14th from 10:00am to 11:30am, at Coffee Trails near Central Station. Get the freshest croissants to go with your mid-morning coffee, and don't forget your complimentary ham & cheese croissant to go!
6. Baroque Bistro in The Rocks has a special $60 5-course menu all week to celebrate Bastille Day (and go for their 'coffee gourmand with 3 macarons for dessert!)
7. The Sofitel Wentworth also has a special degustation menu all week, $125 for 6 courses at the Garden Court restaurant, including a glass of Moet & Chandon. A luxurious French feast, in true Sofitel style.
There you go folks - happy "14 Juillet" to you all! And if you want to know more about the history behind Bastille Day, you can visit this site and even take a funny quiz to test your knowledge of the French Revolution. So tell me, what are YOU doing this year for Bastille Day?