Shortly after Americans wish each other a happy Fourth of July, the French cry out, “Vive le 14 juillet!” The slogan translates to “Long live the 14th of July!,” referring to Bastille Day, or la fête nationale.
On July 14th, 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille, a state prison, releasing its seven prisoners and starting the French Revolution.
The Bastille held political prisoners and citizens detained for trial, some of whom were held on direct order from the king, for which there was no appeal. The building symbolized the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy. After the public stormed the Bastille, the revolution demolished the entire ancien régime, or old order, in which everyone was a subject of the King.
Bastille Day officially became a holiday in 1880. The French public celebrates with speeches, parades and fireworks. Today, the holiday is also often celebrated in former French colonies. French Polynesia is especially well known for adapting Bastille Day to its own culture with singing, dancing, drum performances and competitions held throughout the month of July.
Here in North Texas, we have several Bastille Day festivals that will also have you exclaiming, “Vive le 14 juillet!”
Bastille Day at Legacy Hall
Sun, July 11 : 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Go to Legacy Hall in Plano for an afternoon of music, drinks and delectable food. From 2 to 4 p.m., Denver-based gypsy jazz group La Pompe will perform live in the Box Garden. An accordion player will be wandering around the venue to invoke Paris’s romantic atmosphere. There will be live caricature paintings in the Tonic Bar & Lounge as well as an opportunity to snap photos with the Alliance Française de Dallas in the Box Garden, an organization dedicated to the study of the French language and French and Francophone (French-speaking) cultures.
Whisk & Eggs will provide authentic crêpes and croque monsieurs, plus raclette plates — gooey melted cheese atop boiled potatoes, greens and charcuterie — sweet crêpes and charcuterie boards.
Visitors can purchase bottles of Perrier Jouët for $35, French 75s with St-Germain in special souvenir glassware and French wine at Vinotopia.
FREE entry, or $120 for VIP package (reserved indoor lounge with cocktail service, charcuterie and Perrier Jouët champagne).
Purchase tickets here!
Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Avenue, Plano, TX 75024
Bastille Day Celebration at Grapevine
Wed, July 14 : 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Come celebrate Bastille Day at Grapevine’s charming and cozy Town Square Gazebo. Listen to French pop music while munching on French street food and shopping from local artisans.
325 S. Main St., Grapevine, TX 76051 (Town Square Gazebo)
Bastille Day Dinner at Lavendou
Wed, July 14 : 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
The European American Chamber of Commerce Texas and The Alliance Française of Dallas will co-host this special dinner. The menu includes terrine, a meat or vegetable mixture cooked into a loaf; frisée salad with roquefort cheese, bacon and pecans; braised lamb shank with vegetables and couscous; and raspberry cheese cake to top it all off.
Can you say, “oh là là!”
Reservations required. It’s $90 for members of the European American Chamber of Commerce Texas (EACCTX) or The Alliance Française of Dallas (AF) and $100 for non-members. Those not comfortable dining in can pick up dinner to go.
19009 Preston Road, Suite 200, Dallas, TX, 75252
Bastille on Bishop
Wed, July 14 : 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Bastille on Bishop is an annual festival in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas that celebrates Oak Cliff’s French roots — the neighborhood was once a French settlement called “La Reunion“, destined to be an agricultural society until we learned that Oak Cliff soil was less than fertile.
Now one of the sole reminders of our history under the French flag is Bastille on Bishop: an evening of food, drinks and shopping in the spirit of liberté, égalité and fraternité. To consume alcohol at the festival, you must have an event wine glass (available with ticket purchase).
FREE entry, but for $25 you can get general admission tickets that include 1 branded wine glass and 2 drink tokens.
You can also get a $100 Cabaret & Cocktails package, which includes access to the House of Dirt with air conditioning and restrooms, 1 branded wine glass + 2 drink tokens, a cocktail competition (max 12 samples), light appetizers, and admission to a Cabaret Style variety show and entertainment.
Purchase tickets here.
400 N Bishop Ave, Dallas, TX 75208
Tea at the Adolphus Hotel
Wed, July 14 : 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (reservations every 15 minutes)
The Adolphus Hotel will host a special tea in honor of Bastille Day. The hotel is already well known for their teas, a three-course menu of tea sandwiches, scones and pastries served with loose leaf teas and pastries in the venue’s fairytale-esque French Room. The Bastille Day tea will also feature live French jazz and French sweets from chef Ruben Torano.
Admission is $65 plus tax and gratuity. Purchase tickets here!
1321 Commerce St, Dallas, TX 75202
(Do you crave French food the rest of the year? Check out our review of Toulouse in Legacy West!)