Bastille Day celebrates the long-standing friendship between the United States and France by commemorating France's Independence Day, which took place on July 14th, 1789. With the 14th falling on a Wednesday this year, New Yorkers have their choice of ways and days to celebrate all things French.
In Manhattan, the annual Bastille Day on 60th Street celebration takes place the weekend before, on July 11th. From 12 – 6 pm, come out to 60th Street between 5th Avenue and Lexington for a family-friendly fete. Besides French food, of course, there will be artists, an all-day concert, face painting, a raffle, and wine and cheese tastings at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) at 22 East 60th Street. Everyone can also try out the popular game petanque, an outdoor bowling game similar to bocce ball.
But if you really want to see petanque played at its peak, then you want to be in Brooklyn. On July 18th, the annual Smith Street Bastille Day celebration will be held from 11 am – 8 pm on Smith Street in Brooklyn. Centered around Bar Tabac (located at 128 Smith Street) and the Robin des Bois bistro, you will find live music, French street food, and cocktails. The real event, however, is the international petanque tournament. Truckloads of sand will be dumped in the middle of the street to create courts on which the 80 teams will compete. So grab a drink and prepare for petanque!