It's a Good Time to Be French in New York City - Celebrate Bastille Day
The Fourth of July is over, but not the celebration. On Sunday, July 14, Bastille Day will be commemorated in the US with as much pomp and joie de vivre as ever. It’s a wonderful time to bring out those red, white and blue colors again and add a French twist.
In New York City, the celebration takes center stage at FIAF, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), with entertainment, food and drink, and kids’ programs.
Some of the wonderful events that day include a screening at 5:30pm in FIAF Florence Gould Hall of the delightful French comedy C’est la vie!, written and directed by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache, the duo behind the award-winning film The Intouchables. The story involves a wedding planner/caterer who must pull off a magnificent wedding in a 17th-century French château while the celebration and his personal life descend into chaos. It’s a hoot, French-style. (In French with English subtitles). Tickets are a mere $13.
Another entertainment favorite, renowned French singer Gérard Chambre, with Eric Breton at the piano, will perform French songs made memorable by singers like Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand, Charles Aznavour and my two personal favorites, Jacques Brel and Johnny Hallyday, whose voices have left their mark on France and the world. The “Si on chantait l’Amour” program takes place at 3pm in FIAF Florence Gould Hall as well. And heureusement, it’s free!
If you don’t feel like sitting indoors, there will be entertainment all day long outside, and it’s all free.
Taking place from 12:35pm until 5pm, there is a line-up of performers sure to please everyone in your group.
On the Main Stage, at East 60th Street and Park Avenue, the music and dance are non-stop:
12:35pm – Can-Can: Joanna Wronska
12:40pm – Music: Chloé Perrier & French Heart Jazz Band
1:10pm – Music: The Love Show
1:25pm – Feather Dance: Joanna Wronska
1:30pm – Music: The Blue Dahlia
2:15pm – Music: The Love Show
2:30pm – Music: Les P’tites Ouvreuses
3:15pm – Music: The Love Show
3:30pm – Music: Rodeo Joe
4:15pm – Zouk Dance Lesson: Franck Muhel
On 60th Street, you’ll find a range from mime to marching bands:
12:50–4:20pm – Mime with Catherine Gasta
12:50–4:20pm – Live Art with COCOVAN
12:55–5pm – Citroën Car Show
3pm – Hungry March Band
Kids won’t be ignored either. If music and dance isn’t their thing, take them to the “Fly Away with Books Workshops for Kids” from 1-4pm in the FIAF Library Booth in front of FIAF. Here, French illustrators and authors will lead three playful and imaginative workshops designed especially for kids. Starting at 1pm, and appropriate for the youngest in your group (ages 4 and up), there are three age-appropriate sessions with card games and art.
If you, like me , think France…. and Champagne, rosé and macarons immediately come to mind, you’ll be très contente as well with two indoor food and beverage fêtes.
A Champagne, cocktail and jazz party takes place in two sessions in the afternoon in the FIAF Skyroom, with Champagne from Besserat de Bellefon, Delamotte, Laurent-Perrier, Michel Gonet, and Pol Roger; cocktails from Gioffard; and treats from Jacques Torres Chocolate, Ladurée, and Maman. All this is set to music by The Avalon Jazz Band. 1:30pm-3pm and 3:30pm-5pm
Straddling this event is a “Summer in Provence Tasting,” proving that French rosés are equally as wonderful as those from the North Fork. Accompanied by a tasting of cheese from Président, charcuterie from Trois Petits Cochons, beer from Kronenbourg, and cocktails by Ricard, you’ll sample wines from Château d’Esclans, Château La Gordonne and Château Miraval. 12-4:30pm in the FIAF Tinker Auditorium.
For the shoppers among you, the “Côte d’Azur France Village” marketplace on East 60th Street from Fifth Avenue to Lexington Avenue will be the go-to. Along these three blocks, you’ll find more than 40 booths with all sorts of French food, culture, travel and other items. “The French Garden” showcases premium French fashion, accessories, food and travel brands as well as treats from Strasbourg.
Captivated by all the wonders of France? You can sign up for FIAF membership and French classes while you’re there, too, at a special price. And don’t miss your chance to win a trip to Cannes. You can purchase tickets in advance here, and you don’t have to be present to win.
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