Le 14 Juillet: Celebrating Bastille Day French style

This weekend featured a slew of events (like this one and these) in various American cities all in honor of the French national day, commonly referred to as Bastille Day. But even if you missed out on the weekend events, you still have today — which happens to be the actual holiday — to celebrate the ideals of fraternité, égalité et liberté (translation: freedom à la française).

Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which occurred on July 14, 1789. The storming of the famous prison kicked off the French Revolution and was emblematic of the uprising of a modern France that no longer wanted to be controlled by the absolute powers of a monarch. Just like the 4th of July is cause for celebration so is July 14th, so if you’re a francophile at heart, or just need an excuse to throw a good party, here is quick guide to having your own célébration française:

What you need:

  • French baguette
  • French cheese
  • Bottle of French wine
  • Bottle of Champagne
  • Checkered picnic cloth
  • Several savory French dishes


  • Tri-colored clothing (come on, you have to have something left over from the 4th of July)
  • Beret

Don your French gear and throw all necessary items into a picnic basket; Bastille Day is meant to be enjoyed outdoors. If you’re really into it you can even memorize the lyrics to La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, and sing it to your heart’s content. To spice up the afternoon, play a round of pétanque, the popular outdoor game.

See, who ever said you needed to travel to France to enjoy Bastille Day? You can even check out the official Parisian activities here. Bonne fête!