News & Politics

Wine Tasting and a Game of Pétanque: Celebrate Bastille Day in Proper Style

Every year, the French celebrate liberté, égalité, et fraternité on Bastille Day, July 14. Where can you raise a glass of Champagne? Here’s how some local spots are bringing the holiday to Washington.

Old Town’s Fontaine Caffe & Creperie celebrates Bastille Day with a two-course, prix fixe cider-and-crepe menu, available for $15.95 at lunch and $19.95 at dinner.

On Bastille Day, there’s no better sport to play than pétanque, the French version of bocce. Take a lesson with the National Capital Club de Pétanque from 3 to 5 PM at Virginia Highland Park, a block from the Pentagon City Metro. Afterward, you can take part in a miniature tournament. To sign up, contact Marie-Laure Elliott at

Celebrate Independence Day and Bastille Day through July 14 (excluding Sunday, July 12) at Alexandria’s Bastille Restaurant. Chef Christophe Poteaux’s three-course, prix fixe menu draws from American and French cuisines. Choices include Bastille’s signature calamari-and-shrimp beignets with sheep’s-milk yogurt and harissa dip; pan-seared sea scallops with anise-fennel pesto and cumin-eggplant caponata; and Moroccan-style braised Amish chicken with seasonal vegetables. Desserts include blackberry upside-down cake with roasted-peach compote and blackberry coulis; and Madagascar vanilla-bean crème brûlée. Dinner is $35 per person. Call 703-519-3776 for reservations.

GiraMondo Wine Adventures is hosting a rosé festival July 14 at the Whitemore House (1526 New Hampshire Ave., NW). Ten tickets are left for a 6:30 PM class, called “Do French Do It Better?,” which teaches students how the wine is made. At 7, participants can taste more than 15 rosés, seven of which are from France. There’ll also be light appetizers and French music. Take the wine quiz and enter a drawing to win a bottle of Domaine Tempier from Bandol, France ($50), the most expensive rosé in the world. The cost is $54 per person. Early-bird ticket purchases include the class. Dress is business casual. Visit or call 301-841-7609 for more information and to buy tickets.

Et Voilà in DC’s Palisades will highlight an essential element of the French diet: cheese. The fromage of choice is Reblochon, a strong, creamy cheese made in the French Alps. It’ll be served as part of a salad ($8.75) and paired with a glass ($7) or bottle ($37) of Cremant sparkling wine.
Chef Olivier Perret of Ici Urban Bistro is creating a three-course, $35 menu. Appetizer choices are beef tartare with truffle mayonnaise and capers; a fish-and-shellfish stew; and a salad with lardon and poached eggs. Entrées are black-olive-glazed chicken breast with artichoke purée and cippolini onions or pan-seared baby calamari with a wild-rice medley. Desserts include a chocolate bombe with raspberry and caramel sauces and a duo of tropical-fruit compote and crème brûlée. Call 202-730-8700 for reservations.

L’Enfant Cafe is hosting a French-maid relay race. Gather at this Adams Morgan bar at 8 PM on July 14 to witness more than 30 people decked out in sexy French-maid costumes. We suggest arriving early to take advantage of food and drink specials. The party is hosted by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette—or at least a couple of folks dressed up like them—so everyone’s eating (free) cake! Call 202-319-1800 for more information.

For a boost of energy on Bastille Day, participate in a four-mile run organized by the DC Road Runners on the Capital Crescent Trail. The run starts at 7 PM at Fletcher’s Cove in Georgetown and is $5 for nonmembers; advanced registration for nonmembers is required. To register and get more information, click here.