Much like the Battle of Puebla, from which Cinco de Mayo emerged, the actual storming of the Bastille was more symbolic than a real victory at the time. Still, the anniversary of Bastille Day is France’s National Day and like that other cultural holiday, we like to celebrate it here in Dallas by drinking and eating.
In fact, we celebrate it in a very big way, maybe because Texas is bigger than France and Dallas is more populous than every city in France except Paris. Or maybe we just like to drink wine and eat good food, and we don’t even need a reason.
In any case, Bastille Day is this Wednesday (July 14), and there are several days of celebrations to enjoy. Some require reservations, so ne tardez pas (do not delay).
Marche to Bastille on Bishop
Bishop Arts District, 500 N. Bishop Ave., along Bishop Avenue from 7th to 9th St.
What: A street party with costumed merchants and festgoers, entertainers, games of pétanque and more.
When: 5 to 11 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Tickets: Free. Official event wine glasses and tokens are required for alcohol purchases. Food and beverage tokens $6 each. (Most items require one token.)
This free annual festival honors part of the history of Oak Cliff with fun, frolic and all things French. The event is pet-friendly, and kids can enjoy a marionette show at 6 p.m.
Parking is available in the lot at the southeast corner of 9th Street and Bishop Avenue, but rideshare or DART service via The Dallas Streetcar is recommended.
If you want to purchase alcohol at any of the festival booths, you’ll need an official wine glass package, and they will sell out. If you can’t get tickets, you can still enjoy the festival, and the restaurants and shops in Bishop Arts will be open. If you’d like to have dinner in one of the area restaurants, reservations are highly recommended.
Celebrate at Toulouse
Toulouse Cafe and Bar, 3314 Knox St. (Knox-Henderson) and 7301 Windrose Ave., Suite C150 (Plano)
On Tuesdays at Toulouse, bottles of French wine regularly priced under $100 are half price all day for dine-in only. If you’d like to get a head start on your Bastille Day celebrations with a quiche of the day for lunch or duck a’lorange for dinner, we say “oui, oui."
Start the day with a Croque Monsieur or a Champagne Omelette at Café de France
Café de France Bakery & Bistro, 17370 Preston Road (Far North Dallas)
In France, instead of telling someone to buzz off or jump in the lake, they say, “Va te faire cuire un oeuf!” which means go cook yourself an egg. But why do that when you can get crepes or an omelet with creamy mushroom Champagne sauce or any number of French specialties for breakfast at Café de France?
Enjoy a Tea Party with a French Twist at The French Room at the Adolphus
The French Room at the Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St. (Downtown Dallas)
What: The hotel’s classic afternoon tea with special pastries made just for the day’s festivities.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Tickets: $65 per person for the three-course tea. Make reservations on The Adolphus Hotel website.
Listen to French jazz during Wednesday’s tea service, and enjoy sandwiches, scones and pastries with specially blended tea from Zatki. Tickets also include one glass of Champagne or a non-alcoholic option.
Throw on a Beret and Head to Rise Soufflé
Rise, 5360 W. Lovers Ln., Suite 220 (Northwest Dallas)
What: A party with gifts for guests (including pets) that come dressed in Bastille Day attire.
When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Tickets: Free, but you’ll want to reserve a table. Call 214-366-9900 tout de suite.
In addition to the costumed fun, Rise Souffle’s Dallas and Fort Worth locations will be serving one of their limited-time specialties, a delicious pastry called cherry clafoutis. If you want to pronounce that correctly, say klah-foo-TEE, but even if you mangle it, they’ll still serve you some.
If your pup looks chic in a chemise, bring them along for lunch on the patio.
Pretend to be French at Mercat Bistro
Mercat Bistro, 2550 Harry Hines Blvd. (Harwood District)
What: A special menu with some items the color of the French flag.
When: All day Wednesday, July 14
If you close your eyes, it’s possible to feel truly French on the patio at Mercat Bistro any day, and they’ve made some special treats just for today’s holiday. Drink sparkling peach lemonade ($12) and eat berry pound cake ($10) with fresh berries that just happen to be the colors of the French flag. Of course, the full menu is also available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and don’t forget happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.
Meet the Alliance Française de Dallas at Lavendou Bistro Provençal
Lavendou Bistro Provençal, 19009 Preston Road, #200 (Far North Dallas)
What: A special evening of dinner and conversation
When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Tickets: $90 for members, $100 for non-members
Alliance Française de Dallas shares and enjoys the French language and culture often, and this special Bastille Day dinner at Lavendou will be one to remember.
Join a Gastronome for Dinner at Cadot Restaurant
Cadot, 18111 Preston Road, Ste. 120 (Far North Dallas)
What: Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is hosting their Bastille Day celebration at Cadot
When: 6:30 to 10 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Tickets: $125 per person
Chaîne des Rôtisseurs is the oldest and largest food and wine society in the world, and it’s not surprising that they have a bailliage (chapter) in Dallas. Non-members are welcome to attend a limited number of events, and a French national holiday seems a good time to indulge in your foodie yearnings.
The evening’s menu at Cadot is impressive with escargots in phillo, lamb chop with ratatouille, fricasseé of pheasant in crust, a cheese tray, apricot coulis, chocolate tarte and more (yes, more). You’re invited to bring red wines; white wines will be furnished.
Visit Grapevine's Town Square's Gazebo Parisian Pocket Park
325 S. Main St. (Grapevine)
What: An evening of fun in Historic Downtown Grapevine
When: 5 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 14
Enjoy a special evening outdoors in the town square. The event promises local artisans, street food and French pop music.
Ponder the Sweet vs. Savory Quandary at Whisk Crepes Cafe
Whisk Crepes Cafe. 1888 Sylvan Ave., F120 (Sylvan Thirty)
It’s always hard to choose between chef Julien Eelsen’s sweet and savory offerings at Whisk Crepes Cafe. A French fondue crepe with leek-shallot-bacon fondue or the Midnight in Paris with dark chocolate and raspberries? La Complete with jambon, gruyere and sunny-side-up eggs or the Notre Dame with Nutella, strawberries, bananas and vanilla ice cream?
Dozens of other choices could keep you dithering all day, and while Bastille Day seems like a good day to make a firm resolution, you could insist that diplomacy requires you to have one of each.
Savor and Sip at RM 12:20 Bistro
9850 Walnut Hill Ln. Suite 305 (Northeast Dallas)
With a new summer menu just rolled out on July 6, RM 12:20 Bistro is ready to add its Southern twist to some French favorites every day. French onion chicken meatballs sound like a great choice for Bastille Day, as do the moules meuniere (mussels in garlic sauce) and honey and lavender chicken. Don’t forget croissant-bread pudding or crème brûlée for dessert.
Channel Bridget Bardot at La Tarte Tropézienne
1604 Main St. Ste. 110 (Downtown Dallas)
Just over a year ago, La Tarte Tropézienne opened its first location outside of Saint-Tropez in downtown Dallas. That’s worth celebrating in and of itself, and those amazing pastries might taste even better on Wednesday. Bridget Bardot favored the spot when she was filming And God Created Woman in Saint-Tropez in 1956. How could she be wrong about pastries?
A Tasty Tour de France at The French Room
The Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St. (Downtown Dallas)
What: A sommelier-guided “tour” of three wine regions in France with six wines from La Cave
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, July 15
Tickets: $68 per person via Resy
You’ll want to celebrate an extra day so you can experience an evening of wine tastings from the Loire Valley, Burgundy and the Rhône, all of which the Tour de France passes through. The evening will begin with Parisian swing and vocals from La Pompe, and tickets include charcuterie and passed canapés.