In 1986 and ’87, Michael, Jen, and I traveled to Europe. Both trips included stays in Paris.
Jen and me, 1986
(Photo by MKR)
Both times we were there on le 14 juillet. Parisians celebrate French Independence Day with the annual Bastille Day Military Parade down the Champs Elysées including a formation flyover by the French Air Force.
(Photos by MKR)
In the evening, there were fireworks. Raucous crowds jammed the streets making it difficult to get around.
In New York City, there are celebrations as well, the largest and longest running one being the Alliance Française’s “Bastille Day on 60th Street.” Along the stretch between 5th and Lex, booths offer tastes of French foods and drinks, and there is also entertainment. In the early years, we found it enjoyable. But after not having been for several years, we went again a couple of years ago and found it was not what it once. Food offerings were meager, and many vendors were the same ones who can be found at the ubiquitous street fairs that pop up each weekend on various avenues in Manhattan. Chinese massage, peut=être? Quel dommage!
A great way to celebrate is at a French bistro, many of which have special menus and events. The late Park Bistro was a favorite spot for us to mark the day with a delicious meal. Had we been in the city last weekend, chances are we would have attended the ticketed Bastille Day event on the 13th at Montmartre.* But we were in NJ, so on Bastille Day, I put together a French-themed dinner for the two of us.
Belgian Endive Salad with Blue Cheese, Pecans, and Vinaigrette
Basque Seafood Stew with Scallops, Shrimp, and Steamed Red Potatoes**
Bing Cherry Clafoutis
Bing Cherry Clafoutis, Homemade Bing Cherry Ice Cream, Blueberries, and Homemade Whipped Cream
*We did have a scrumptious dinner at Montmartre on Friday, the 11th, dining al fresco in their thoroughly charming garden. Photo set here.
** My seafood stew is based on a recipe in Pierre Franey Cooks with His Friends.