Get your French on for Bastille Day

Courtesy djfoto/Flickr
Bastille Day in New Orleans, 2010

You don't necessarily have to board a transatlantic flight to get your Francophile fix for Bastille Day.

July 14, France's Independence Day, has become just as much of an excuse for us to indulge in all things French — baguettes and brie, champagne and wine, Serge Gainsbourg and Edith Piaf, anyone? — on this side of the pond as it has in France.

In fact, the French government is encouraging it with the launch this year of Destination France Day, a new annual tradition aimed at positioning Bastille Day as a worldwide event to celebrate France as a travel destination. For its kick-off year, parties are being hosted in Paris, New York and Shanghai, with guests in New York encouraged to wear something blue, those in Paris wearing white and in Shanghai, red (in honor of the French flag).

The soirée bleue in New York will feature a blue-themed fashion show and live musical performances at the Hudson Terrace. The soirée blanche in Paris will take place at a private apartment with views of the Eiffel Tower and the Bastille Day fireworks. And, in Shanghai at the House of Roosevelt, the soirée rouge will feature a French-themed photo exhibit and performances. For more information about Desination France Day, contact the French Government Tourist Office.

But there are other ways to celebrate your inner monsieur or mademoiselle closer to home. Bastille Day has become an annual custom in many cities across the U.S. There is the Bastille Day Los Angeles Festival on July 17, and Bastille Day on 60th Street in New York on July 10. Chicagoans celebrate with a Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run, Walk and Block Party.

In New Orleans, the city's historic French Quarter is abuzz with events for Bastille Day, including a Bastille Day music event and the 2nd Annual French Market Waiters Race. Brooklyn, N.Y. has an annual petanque tournament (similar to bocce ball) and street festival hosted by local restaurant Bar Tabac, which takes place on July 10 on Smith Street.

The Alliance Francaise is a non-profit organization that promotes the French language and culture with chapters across the country. Check to see if your local Alliance Francaise chapter is hosting a party or event near you.

And if you want a replica of the real thing, why not head to Paris Las Vegas? Or, perhaps pack up the car and head north to the French-speaking Canadian cities of Montreal or Quebec City. Or, if all this talk of France has inspired you, try your luck with Air France's late summer sale. Pourquoi pas?

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