7 Ways to Celebrate Bastille Day in Washington

Toast la République with fancy food, wine, and scantily clad maids.

By: Anna Spiegel

Bastille Day is this Saturday, and whether you prefer to drink old-world wines, indulge in buttery delicacies, or dash across the street in a French maid costume, there’s a celebration out there for you.

Party at the Embassy: The International Club cohosts a grande fête at the French Embassy beginning at 7 PM on Friday, probably the swankiest affair held in honor of Bastille Day. Don svelte cocktail or “festive ’20s” attire and get ready for dinner, dancing, an open bar, and a silent auction (tickets are $100 and available online).

Run in Your French Maid Outfit: It wouldn’t be Bastille Day—or Adams Morgan, for that matter—without scantily clad party people running across the street. L’Enfant Café makes it official, closing down Vernon Street for its 6 PM “running of the maids” as well as a blowout party with a beer garden, a food truck pavilion, sandwiches from A.M. Wine Shoppe, deejays, can-can dancers, and a masquerade street ball. Bring $5 for the entrance fee, or buy tickets online. 3 to 11 PM.

Or Fast-Walk With Bread: Paul Bakery and Café in Penn Quarter carb-loads a baton relay during its second annual Baguette Relay Race. Six-person teams (adults race at 10:30 AM, children at 11) walk briskly around the US Navy Memorial; the winner receives a $25 gift certificate to Paul.

Drink Wine on the Cheap: Central Michel Richard is featuring a special Bastille Day menu during dinner hours alongside regular offerings, and is taking 15 percent off any French wine on the list. If you want live jazz with your steak tartare, book a reservation between 7 and 10 PM by calling 202-626-0015.

Faire la Fête With Classic French Food: The lineup at Mintwood Place already boasts French influences such as escargot hushpuppies, but chef Cedric Maupillier goes classic with specials such as gougères, salade frisée aux lardons, moules marinière, and peach melba. The cocktail menu also gets a French twist with drinks like Calvados-spiked Champagne. Available July 13 through 15. Call 202-234-6732 for reservations.

Storm the Bastille: Chefs Christophe and Michelle Poteaux offer a three-course menu at the appropriately named Bastille between noon and 9:30 PM. The $29 deal includes items lamb loin chops and merguez sausage, a summer tomato salad, and tarte au citron. Call 703-519-3776 for reservations.

Let Them Eat Crepes: Cafe du Parc hosts an outdoor event for lunch and dinner with live music, crepe stations, French wines, and grilled foods such as salmon, ribs, lamb, filet, and chicken brochettes (all priced à la carte). Call 202-942-7000 for reservations.