When you think of the French Revolution, you probably envision the Bastille, the Parisian prison that housed political insurgents and stored large amounts of ammunition and gunpowder. It was made infamous on July 14, 1789 when the people of Paris stormed the fortress, freed the prisoners (all seven of them!), and effectively initiated the fight for their independence. Thus, Bastille Day — officially French National Day to les Français — is commemorated on July 14 every year.
Here are a few local places that are hosting events. Did we miss one? Share it in the Facebook comments box below.
Piermont Bastille Day, Piermont
No one parties harder than the Rockland County village of Piermont. The main drag is closed to traffic on July 12 for the fête, which is complete with festivalgoers dressed in 18th-century garb and a guillotine (don’t worry, it’s a wooden blade) on display. Enjoy traditional French food (with some Irish, Italian, and Mexican dishes thrown in for fun) prepared by local restaurants; a Pétanque, or Provençal bowling competition; and a reenactment of the storming of the Bastille. A glass blower demonstrates his skills and sketch artists offer their services. And don’t miss the raffle! Get the chance to win baskets filled with wine bottles and other goodies, valued at $1,500.
If you go:
When: Saturday, July 12, 12-10 p.m.
Where: Piermont Ave., Piermont
For more info: www.facebook.com/events/451380338339028
Southern French Celebration of the Storming of the Bastille, Pine Plains
If you can’t make it to Piermont, Stissing House in Pine Plains hosts its own party on July 13. Guests can participate in a Pétanque tournament; munch on veggies, salads, and grilled meats with aïoli; and enjoy swigs from a bottomless glass of rosé wine.
If you go:
When: Sunday, July 13, 12 p.m.
Where: Stissing House, Pine Plains
For more info: 518-398-8800; www.stissinghouse.com
Bastille Day at the Rhinecliff
Further west, the Rhinecliff Hotel serves a French-inspired menu accompanied by international vocalist Elaine Rachlin. Choose between a la carte or “Le Menu Prix-Fixe” (three appetizers, three entrées, and three desserts, plus coffee). Reservations recommended.
If you go:
When: Sunday, July 13, 6-8:30 p.m.
Where: The Rhinecliff Hotel, Rhinecliff
For more info: 845-876-0590; www.therhinecliff.com