It's French Party Time: A Guide to Bastille Day


One thing’s for sure—the French certainly know how to celebrate. Whether you’re looking to satisfy that craving for Chateaubriand or twirl your tail off to DJ Frenchy le Freak, this city’s got you covered on July 14. Join the French in festivities commemorating the birth of democracy on Bastille Day.

1. Party Like It's 1789

Let them eat cake, we say. Join the swank Franco-fanatic soiree at Grand Cafe to celebrate France's declaration of independence with free-flowing champagne flutes, a prix fixe menu offering coq au vin, Marie Antoinette costumes, jovial tunes and complimentary cake aplenty.

2. Bastille Day Ball

If you haven’t already attended a party by French Tuesdays, now’s your chance to see what you’ve been missing. Don your snazziest red, white and blue get-up, and get down to DJs Frenchy le Freak and Pheeko Dubfunk late night at Ruby Skye.

3. Belden Place Festivities

Crowded and crazy it may be, but Belden Place is where it’s at on Bastille Day. Home to San Francisco’s “French Quarter,” this alley is lined with bistros and cafés offering plenty of sidewalk seating for an oh-so-European vibe. Join the throngs of Frenchies, tourists and locals for a street party reminiscent of Mardi Gras mayhem and St. Patrick's Day debauchery.

4. Taste Les Vins de France

Dégustons! What better way to celebrate the French than with a full glass of fine wine? Sneak into the last session of the Alliance Francaise's six-week wine course. Let International Vineyards' sommelier Raphael Knapp take you through Basque Country and Jurancon, while you pick up tips on tasting, production, cultural significance, vocabulary and more.

5. Jour de Bastille at RN74

Vive la France! You know you're in good hands when the folks at Vintage 415 and Michael Mina throw a party. Head over to RN74 after work for a celebration with French-inspired cocktails, haute cuisine and Euro tunes by DJ Dukes.

6. Dinner at Chez Panisse

Not feeling creative? Head for the obvious and savor a fine bottle of wine while sampling a special Bastille Day menu at Chez Panisse. Coinciding with the annual garlic harvest this year, your meal is sure to be quite the flavorful feast.

7. Family Fun

Don’t forget the kiddies—entertain your family with a good dose of culture on Tuesday, July 14 at the Habitot Children’s Museum. Make your own French beret using recycled paper bags and fun fabrics, plan your escape from the Bastille prison, read from a French menu and purchase croissants, cheese and baguettes from the museum café.

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