July 10, 2023
Bastille Day, the annual celebration of the start of the French Revolution, is recognized on July 14, when revolutionaries seized the Bastille fortress and political prison in 1789. People around the world honor the holiday with French food, parties, Champagne and large festivals.
The earliest known celebrations of Bastille Day in the United States occurred in Philadelphia in the 1790s, when the city was the U.S. capital. Now more than 20 cities throughout the country, including Philadelphia, celebrate with special events.
French restaurateurs are often credited with the popularization of the observance in the United States, according to Frenchly. In Philly, restaurants, bars and museums are presenting French-themed menus and extravagant live performances on Friday, July 14 and through the weekend.
Forsythia is celebrating Bastille Day on Friday with a specialty menu from 5-7 p.m. At $65 per person, the menu features entrées like a soft-shell crab BLT, panisse with cheese fondue and escargot with garlic and olive oil. French-inspired cocktails include the La Vie en Rose, made with gin, rose, bitters and lime-thyme cordial; A Drama in Paris, made with vodka, Cappelletti, absinthe and lemon; and the Cinq á Sept, made with cognac, Grand Marnier, absinthe and lemon.
Royal Boucherie is ringing in Bastille Day with a multiday celebration complete with French food and burlesque performances beginning on Wednesday. Guests can head to Royal Boucherie on July 12 for Lelu Lenore Presents Versailles, a Bastille Day burlesque show from 7-11 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include a glass of Champagne.
From Wednesday through Saturday, the restaurant will serve oyster and Champagne shooters, goat cheese Napoleons, escargot and brie crepes and other French-inspired foods, as well as offer a selection of French wines and specialty cocktails.
The Young Friends, a membership program at several Philly museums, will take over the Rodin Museum's garden bar on Friday from 4-8:30 p.m. for a Bastille Day celebration. Guests can listen to soft music and poetry from DuiJi Mshinda, check out a floral photography studio session from Jajhira Photography, view the French sculptor's work and enjoy French snacks and drinks.
Parc, Rittenhouse Square's French bistro, opened its doors on Bastille Day in 2008. The restaurant celebrates 15 years this year with live performances and food and drink specials from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday. There will be an ice cream cart open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., a St. Germain cocktail cart from 2:30-5 p.m., jumbo macarons, French lemonade, jazz music and kids activities.
South Philly's Good King Tavern is celebrating Bastille Day with an outdoor block party on Saturday from 12-8 p.m. Guests can head to Seventh and Kater streets to enjoy French street food, beer and wine, DJs, games and giveaways, including two sets of tickets to "Moulin Rouge! The Musical" at the Kimmel Cultural Campus.
Barnes & Noble in Center City will be celebrating Bastille Day with Lynn Miller and Therese Dolan, authors of "Salut!: France Meets Philadelphia," beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. "Salut!" lays out the long, colorful history Philly shares with France and how France has influenced Philly's past and present. The event is free, but registration is required.