Thursday, July 12: If you get a high off the smell of a fresh sheet of paper or spend hours choosing cards for friends, Paper Source (3019 M Street, NW), the adorable paper shop in Georgetown, is the spot for you. Tonight it hosts its first Girls Night Out, an evening of drinks, snacks, and paper-creation fun, with instruction on how to make paper jewelry and more. 7 to 9 pm; call 202-298-5545 to reserve a spot.
Friday, July 13: It wouldn’t be a proper Bastille Day weekend without the traditional Bastille Day Waiters’ Race at Les Halles (1201 Pennsylvania Ave., NW). At 2:30 pm, waiters and waitresses race a block-long course down Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 13th streets, each carrying a tray with a bottle of water and a glass of beer—and they must do it one-handed. Events before and after the race include face painting, musical performances, and cancan dancing. Free.
Saturday, July 14: Say you were to mix one witty, literate, and catchy indie band with a full classical orchestra—what would you get? We can’t say for sure what the results will be, but you can find out this Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion when the Decemberists take the stage backed by the Baltimore Symphony. The Decemberists put on an energetic and involved live show, and the addition of an orchestra should take their performance to the next level. Tickets ($40-$75) are still available for the show, which starts at 8 pm.
Head to Bistrot du Coin (1738 Connecticut Avenue, NW; 202-234-6969) for the most boisterous Bastille Day party in Washington. If you want to eat a traditional steak-and-frites dinner there, be sure to make a reservation—but also stick around afterward: At about 11 pm, the restaurant clears the floor for some solid dancing and DJing. Throw back some wine and Belgian beers, and you can call your Bastille Day a success.
Sunday, July 15: The lovely exhibit “Italian Women Artists From Renaissance to Baroque,” at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (1250 New York Ave., NW; 202-783-5000), closes today. Head over to see the works of female artists presented in their cultural context.