Things to Do

Bastille Day Celebrations in Washington

Join the French in celebrating their national holiday with dancing, music, and lots of crepes, cheese, and Champagne

The French Embassy and various restaurants are going all out for Bastille Day on July 14. Photograph courtesy of flickr user irene.


Bastille Day at the Embassy of France
4101 Reservoir Road, NW, 202-944-6195
Dress your best for an evening of food, music, and dance on July 16 at the Embassy of France. The night will start off with cocktails and a silent auction, which will feature items like restaurant vouchers and paintings. Proceeds will go to Comité Tricolore, a nonprofit dedicated to helping those in need among the French-American community in Washington. A number of local chefs from restaurants like Belga Café, Ris Restaurant, and Citronelle will be on hand to showcase their food creations at a buffet. Tickets ($100) can be purchased here. 7 PM to 12 AM.

Dancing for French Residents
4101 Reservoir Road, NW, 202-944-6195
Two days before the big public event, French residents in Washington are invited to a night of dancing at the embassy on the actual holiday on July 14 from 6 to 10 PM. You must book a spot at their website and present the ticket and your French ID at the door.

French Festival at Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave., NW, 202-686-5807
Step back in time at the French Festival, where guests will be treated to music, dance, and history at the Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Gardens. The two-day event will include gallery talks about the museum’s French collections, traditional games like jacks, and an art project where you can make miniature French furniture. There will also be performances by Opera Lafayette and New York Baroque Dance Company. Tickets ($5 to $18) can be purchased here. Saturday from 10 AM to 7 PM and Sunday 1 PM to 5 PM.

Bastille Day After Party
2142 Wyoming Ave., NW, 202-234-7911
Following the French Festival at Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Garden on July 16, there will be an after party at 7 PM at the Alliance Française, where guests can feast on crepes, French cheese, and Champagne. There will be live music featuring a mix of traditional French and pop music, plus a silent auction of French items. Call 202-234-7911 for tickets ($25 to $59). Visit the website for more information.

Block Party at L’Enfant Cafe
2000 18th St., NW, 202-319-1800
The cafe’s annual Bastille Day party has become so popular that it takes over the entire city block. For the seventh year in a row, L’Enfant Cafe will host day-long activities in honor of the French holiday, including a masquerade ball. All attendees will be given a mask to don.

The outrageous French Maid Race will start at 8 PM. The cafe will provide short, frilly, and laced apron dresses for up to 40 competitors, and all entrance fee proceeds ($2) will go to Make a Wish Foundation. Runners must fill a Champagne glass with soup spoons of water. Awards will be given out to the “fastest,” “shortest skirt,” and “his majesty’s favorite.” Tickets are $5. 4 PM to 11 PM.

An Evening with French Guitar Virtuoso Stephane Wrembel
1333 H St., NE, 202-399-7993
On Bastille Day, French guitarist Stephane Wrembel will perform at Atlas Performing Arts Center. Wrembel and his quartet will perform classic French jazz and original music from his most recent work, “Bistro Fada,” which is the main theme of Woody Allen’s newest film, “Midnight in Paris.” Tickets ($40) can be purchased here, and concert-goers will receive two free wine tastings at the theater’s Bastille Day celebration. The July 14 party starts at 6:30 PM. Concert follows at 8 PM.

2011 Bastille Day 4-Miler
4940 Canal Rd, NW
Storm this four-mile race in celebration of the French Revolution. The DC Road Runners Club race starts at Fletcher’s Cove at 7 PM and will follow the Capital Crescent Trail. The race is limited to 150 runners, so register online before 4 PM on race day. It’s free for DCRRC members and $5 for non-members.


Bastille Day Celebration at Bistrot du Coin
1738 Connecticut Ave., NW, 202-234-6969
Every year Bistrot du Coin honors Bastille Day with a special menu. This year, all spots are reserved for dinner, but you can join the festivities after 11:30 PM when they’ll push the tables and chairs aside for dancing.

Café La Ruche
1039 21st St., NW, 202-965-2684
Hang out at Café La Ruche for a bit of “Paris on the Potomac” on July 14. The cafe (La Ruche is French for “beehive”) will be all decked out for Bastille Day and there will be deals on French beer and various appetizers.

1201 N. Royal St., Alexandria, 703-519-3776
It’d be wrong for Bastille to not celebrate Bastille Day. Now until July 14 the restaurant will offer two special menus named after General Lafayette and Benjamin Franklin. Both are three-course prix fixe menus for $35. Bastille’s regular menu will still be available that week.

1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, 202-626-0015
Michel Richard loves to celebrate Bastille Day. From 5 to 10:30 PM on July 14, Central will have food and drink specials, as well as a prix-fixe dinner menu. The $38 three-course menu includes appetizers such as pork rillettes, and entree favorites such as chicken cordon bleu. There will also be a “Blue, White, and Red” beverage pairing for $25, with three different blue, white, and red cocktails. The Laiessez-Foure quartet will play from 7 to 10 PM. To make a reservation, call 202-626-0015.

Bistro Cacao
320 Massachusetts Ave., NE, 202-546-4737
Bistro Cacao, a French restaurant on Capitol Hill, will have a three-course, prix fixe menu for $50, including a choice of items like lobster bisque, hanger steak, and chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and red pepper. The meal comes with a bottle of red or white wine. Call 202-546-4737 for reservations.

Bistrot Lepic
1736 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-333-0111
Bistrot Lepic, a cozy bistro in Glover Park will offer a special menu on Bastille Day, including cucumber soup ($8), a rack of lamb with dijon mustard ($31), and a trio of coconut, raspberry, and blueberry sorbets ($7). Call 202-333-0111 for reservations. View the whole menu here.

Ici Urban Bistro
806 15th St., NW, 202-730-8700
The contemporary Fr
ench restaurant
will host a week-long “So French So Good” celebration now until July 15 with special lunch and dinner menus. The lunch menu will feature three courses: salad with goat cheese and pine nuts, boullabaisse, and raspberry puff pastry for $49. The dinner menu will also include three courses for $65.

Les Folies Brasserie
2552 Riva Road, Annapolis, 410-573-0970
This Annapolis restaurant is offering a four-course meal for $95 a person, including hors d’oeuvres, salad, a main entree, and dessert. Beverages are not included in the price. View the whole menu here. Call 410-573-0970 for reservations.

Mon Ami Gabi
7239 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, 301-654-1234
Going back to their roots, Mon Ami Gabi is toasting the French holiday with Bastille Day-inspired menu items from July 14 to 20. Items include a chilled créme du barry soup, summer duck confit salad, and pan-seared Arctic char with sweet corn chowder.

Baguette Relay Race at Paul Bakery and Café
801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 202-524-4500
Love bread and running? Paul Bakery and Café will host its first Bastille Day relay race on July 14 along the US Navy Memorial. Each team must consist of six people, and each racer will run one lap around the circle of the US Navy Memorial, using a baguette as the baton. Members of the winning team will get a $25 gift card to Paul. Sign up at the cafe's Facebook page. 11:30 AM. 

Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar
221B North East St., Frederick, 301-631-8102
On Bastille Day, Shab Row Bistro and Wine Bar will offer a $40 three-course, prix fixe menu featuring French dishes like Normany fish stew, cheese platters, and lavender crème brulée. Add wine pairings to each course for another $20.

On July 16, the wine bar in Frederick will continue its celebrations on a budget with a $1 French wine tasting. Guests will be able to taste Burgundy, Bourdeaux, and more, and you can purchase wine at their shop, which has more than 400 bottles. All contributions will be donated to the Mental Health Association. 2 to 5 PM.

BLT Steak
1625 I St., NW, 202-689-8999
On Bastille Day, BLT Steak  is offering day-long specials on a French favorite: wine. Bottles and glasses of French wine like Bordeaux and Beaujolais will be 50 percent off, and French desserts like almond sponge cake and puff pastries will be $5. 

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