13 ways to celebrate Bastille Day 2021 in New York City
France’s Independence Day is coming up on Wednesday, July 14, and you don’t have to be in Paris to join the festivities. Ahead, we’ve rounded up 11 ways to celebrate Bastille Day in New York City, from a special Central Park SummerStage event to a block party in the newly dubbed “Little Paris” to several restaurant specials.
Bastille Day Celebration in Central Park
For the first time, the Consulate General of France in New York, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), and the Committee of French Speaking Societies (CAFUSA) will present a special Bastille Day Celebration in Central Park as part of the larger SummerStage festival. First up is a jazz quintet headlined by vocalist Kavita Shah, then comes a “French dance party” with film clips by DJ Joachim Garraud, and things end with a screening of the 2020 French comedy My Donkey, My Lover & I. The event starts at 6:30pm and is free.
Do note that normally (since 1996, actually), FIAF hosts an annual Bastille Day block party on East 60th Street that draws roughly 40,000 people. Last year, the event went virtual, and this year, the Central Park SummerStage event is taking its place.
Bastille Day in Jersey City
Jersey City’s bilingual school The French American Academy is putting a street fair this July 14. Taking place on 3rd Street between Eerie and Grove Streets from 2:30 to 6:30pm, the annual event includes family-friendly games and entertainment, as well as French wine, food, and cheese for purchase.
Coucou Bastille Day in Little Paris
Did you know NYC has a Little Paris? As Secret NYC tells us, it’s located along Nolita’s Centre Street, between Broome and Grand Streets. On the street, you’ll find “French café and bakery Maman, wine bar La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, and art and home decor shop Clic,” with additional French shops and restaurants nearby. The initiative to officially dub this area Little Paris is being led by language and cultural center Coucou, which has been on the block since 2019.
Since Coucou is reopening for in-person classes, they’re also celebrating Bastille Day with a block party on Saturday, July 17 from 3 to 7pm. The party will feature live music, French treats and cocktails, and an unveiling of the new Little Paris street sign. You can RSVP on Facebook.
Industry City’s “La Brooklynaise” Pétanque Tournament
Head out to the Courtyard at Industry City for the first annual “La Brooklynaise” open pétanque tournament and fête on Sunday, July 18 at 12pm. You can opt to join the competition or just watch while enjoying delicious French food and drinks. If you’re joining in, there will be two tournament brackets, one for beginners and one for more experienced players–with trophies and prizes. The tournament is being put on by Carreau Club. Each team has three players and can participate for $75 (this includes a swag bag).
Specialty dishes and treats will include an Oyster Cart, Soca Bar, and the classic Jambon Beurre from D’Artagnan and M.Wells, alongside a Pastis Patio popup by Ricard. In addition, there will be a DJ’s playing the latest in French music all afternoon.
Pre-Bastille Jazz, Sailing and Wine Tasting + Post-Cruise Dinner at Liberty Bistro
On Tuesday, July 13, join the Paris American Club and hop aboard the Shearwater sailboat for a wine and jazz concert cruise around New York harbor in partnership with Jazz Generation. After the cruise, head to Liberty Bistro at Le District for a special dinner. ** Note: At the time of publication, the boat tour was sold out, but there was still space for the post-cruise dinner.
Bastille Day Boat Tour
The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island is offering a special French-themed boat tour departing from Pier 1, St. George and taking a tour from the Lower Bay to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. It leaves at 11am and is $60 for adults and $40 for children 12 and under.
Bastille Day at Le District
FiDi’s French food hall is holding a special celebratory event on July 14 that features live music, a caricaturist, illusionist, and cocktail and menu specials at Liberty Bistro. You can make a reservation on Resy.
In Midtown, this contemporary French bistro by Alain Ducasse is offering both lunch and dinner specials on July 14. There’s a sparkling wine and oyster package, a charcuterie and pâté package, special dishes (beef prime rib for two or grilled lobster), and the Frenchy Frozen Mauresque cocktail.
This Hell’s Kitchen French brasserie is known for its “joie de vivre” and comforting French Provencal cuisine. On Bastille Day, they’re offering a special three-course prix fixe menu that starts with a Vichyssoise (cold potato and leek soup), followed by Cochon Frites (pork jowl confit), and Chocolate Crepes as a sweet final touch. The super-reasonable price is, fittingly, 1789, and there’s a $10 special on rosé wine and cocktails.
At Upper West Side neighborhood favorite Nice Matin, you can order a holiday-centric Cochon Frites special featuring whole roast suckling pig, potato mille-feuille, and charcutière sauce for $28.
This Upper East Side bistro oozes old-world charm, and on the 14th, this is carrying over to a special $65 prix fixe menu that includes a refreshing French 75 (Citadelle gin, fresh lemon juice, and Frerejean Frères), Salade Lyonnaise (frisée salad, bacon vinaigrette, poached egg, and croutons) and Navarin d’Agneau (braised lamb with summer vegetables). It’s available for indoor or outdoor dining or to-go via Postmates.
In addition to its gorgeous waterfront views, Estuary at ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina in Brooklyn Bridge Park has a special Bastille Day menu that includes deviled eggs with Cajun spiced mayo and smoked trout roe, steak tartare served with dijon and capers that’s topped with a quail egg, Côte de Boeuf in a peppercorn sauce served with fries, and salmon sorrel with fingerling potatoes and baby carrots. Guests can also enjoy two biodynamic wines, both of which were delivered straight from France to the Brooklyn marina via cargo sailboat Grain De Sail.