Bastille Day, also known as French National Day, celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. Manhattan may be more than 3,600 miles from Paris, but Francophiles in New York have a wide choice of things to do to celebrate. Here are our favorites.
East 60th Street transforms itself into the ultimate Parisian street fair for Bastille Day. The festival includes booths offering champagne tastings, French delicacies (an overload of crêpes, éclairs and macarons), wines and cheeses. Expect Can-Can dancing, fencing demonstrations and free French classes as well.
Bastille Day Festival: July 10 from 12-5pm; 60th St. between Fifth and Lexington avenues
In trendy NoHo, Lafayette is a French cafe where the rotisserie counter is on display and the bakery stays open late for après dinner. Chef Andrew Carmellini’s menu draws inspiration from France’s regional cuisines. The lamb chop tagine ($35) is a crowd pleaser, but be sure to order the pasta special—noodles are Carmellini’s specialty. Dark wood tables and a tin-plated ceiling transport diners to Lyon 24-hours a day at L’express. The Union Square mainstay. merges the traditional southern and northern influences of French cooking with charcuterie, cheese plates and plenty of robust beers and Beaujolais wine. On the Upper East Side, Chef Daniel Boulud continues to impress diners at his two-Michelin-starred flagship restaurant Daniel. One of the city’s most elegant dining rooms, the multi-level restaurant has oversized chandeliers, columned walls and a soaring coffered ceiling. If there are no tables available to sample Boulud’s seasonal menu, stay anyway and sit in the plush entry room for a glass of wine.
Lafayette: 380 Lafayette St., 212-533-3000
L’express: 249 Park Ave. S., 212-254-5858
Daniel: 60 E. 65th St., 212-288-0033
At his SoHo bakery, pastry chef Dominique Ansel serves up creative and delicious French treats, like the cronut—a croissant-doughnut pastry invented and trademarked by the chef in 2013. The line for fresh cronuts, which Time magazine named one of the “25 Best Inventions of 2013,” often extends out the door, and is worth the wait.
Dominique Ansel Bakery: 189 Spring St., 212-219-2773
Ladurée is the go-to Manhattan pâtisserie for macarons, the famous French sweet meringue-based confection. Dating back to 1862 when the Ladurée family founded a bakery in Paris, the cafe serves a rotating flavor of macarons—we love the strawberry poppy— for $2.80 per piece.
Ladurée: 864 Madison Ave., 646-558-3157
Chanel, Cartier, Dior, Hermès and Louis Vuitton—there’s certainly no shortage of French brands in Manhattan. Be sure to visit Diptyque, a Parisian parfumer since 1961. The shop sells luxury goods like personal fragrances, home fragrances, face and body care and gifts. Downtown, Céline, a high-end French brand, sells sophisticated women’s apparel, shoes and leather goods. For men and women, Sandro’s collection of spring-summer essentials and accessories is not to be missed.
Diptyque: 10 Columbus Circle, 212-459-9800
Céline: 67 Wooster St., 212-226-8001
Sandro: 8 Prince St., 212-226-3226