Where to Celebrate Bastille Day 2024 in the Bay Area

Jets streaming red, white, and blue

On July 14, San Francisco and the entire Bay Area will celebrate Bastille Day, or La Fête Nationale as it is known in France. From gastronomy to music and dancing, there’s something for everyone. Here’s a selection of the best events around.

Bastille Day Festival and Dance Party

After a one-year hiatus, the Bastille Day Festival is back in San Francisco, at a new venue. This not-to-be-missed event for the Bay Area’s French-speaking and Francophile community will be held this year at the SF Design Center Galleria, in the Design District. On four levels arranged around an atrium, you’ll be able to discover numerous stands featuring French culinary specialties from Maison PorcellaThe French SpotMy French CuisinePetit Pot, and Maison Benoît, as well as four bars and numerous exhibitors. The festival runs from 11am to 5pm. SonoMusette, Bistro Moustache, and the & Friends Band will provide musical entertainment. In preparation for the Paris Olympics, there will be break dancing and fencing demonstrations. Tickets are $10 until July 8, and $20 thereafter. More info is available here.

DJ or minuet? 

From 7pm, the Bastille Day Festival will become a French Dance Party hosted by DJ Franck Boissy, with a French Cancan demonstration, and a buffet prepared by My French Cuisine. Tickets range from $10 (single entry purchased before July 8) to $75 (with VIP buffet and champagne). More info available here.

Danielle Shanz, president of the Alliance Française Berkeley board and ballroom dance teacher, will be giving a minuet class, not to the sound of the harpsichord, but to a rap! This event will take place on Saturday, July 14, from 11am to 1pm. Admission is free, and sandwiches will be served. All we ask is that you bring a good bottle to share. More info available here.

Bastille Day Restaurant Specials

In San Francisco, on Belden Lane, several restaurants in this charming alley will be celebrating Bastille Day on Sunday, July 14, from 5pm to 9:30pm. There will be special menus, French music, and even free berets! Reservations are recommended at Café Bastille, B44 Catalan Bistro, Sam’s Grill, Café Tiramisu, Leleka, and Toy Soldier. Details here.

Left Bank restaurants in Menlo Park, Larkspur, and San José will all be offering a special Bastille Day menu on Sunday, July 14, featuring black pudding terrine and coq au vin, accompanied by a tasting of sparkling wines and champagne. These menus are available for lunch and dinner. More info.

Bardot, Django, or pétanque? 

Françoise Hardy passed away on June 11 of this year. On Saturday, July 13, the Bardot a Go Go evening will pay tribute to her, and to all the yéyé and disco music we love: Antoine, Dutronc, Gainsbourg, Polnareff, and, of course, the inevitable Brigitte Bardot. DJ Grimm, one of the creators of this evening, which celebrates its 26th edition this year, will be at the turntables to set the dance floor on fire at the Rickshaw Stop in Hayes Valley. More info.

At Amélie Wine Bar on San Francisco’s Polk Street, there’ll be music from 2pm to 2am on Saturday, July 13, with DJ Joule and DJ Valentino on deck. It is set to be a day of kings and queens: the dress code is either all white, or a Louis XVI or Marie-Antoinette costume. On Sunday, July 14, there will be more music from 2pm to 11pm, as well as pétanque and aperitifs at Ricard. More details here

Le Jazz Hot will be in concert at San Francisco’s Mechanics Institute on Saturday, July 13, from 7pm to 9pm, to celebrate the 170th anniversary of the oldest chess club in the USA. The program features gypsy jazz in the tradition of the Quintette du Hot Club de France, founded in 1934 by guitarist Django Reinhardt. Find more details here.

This article was originally published in French on French Morning. It has been translated by Catherine Rickman.

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