July 14th might just be like any other day to us Londoners, but to the French, it marks the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille, the birth of the French Republic. Also known as Bastille Day. Nowadays it’s an opportunity for one hell of a party! Although this year it’s on a blinking Sunday, we certainly aren’t going to let a school night ruin our festive plans! We’ve scoured the city finding 13 of the best ways to celebrate Bastille Day in true Parisian style. So grab your finest beret and Breton shirt darling, we’re off to France!
The world-renowned Parisian bar, Le Syndicat, is joining forces with Balthazar for the ultimate Bastille Day extravaganza and you’re invited! To toast to the French national hol, they’ll be celebrating with their very own Pastille Day thanks to a series of limited-edition cocktails made with the leading brand of white crème de menthe, Giffard Menthe Pastille. Highlights include the French Caraibe, concocted of Giffard Caribbean pineapple, agricole rhum, ginger and mint, or for a quick pick-me-up have a dash of caffeine with their wake me up, a mixture of Giffard crème de cassis, espresso coffee, cognac and lemon.
If you head down early, you’ll be in with a chance of receiving a goodie bag filled with all things French of course! But be quick, only the first 50 guests who order one of the Le Syndicat cocktails will get one!
Where: 4-6 Russell Street, Covent Garden, London WC2B 5HZ
Nearest station: Covent Garden (0.2 miles)
Celebrate the 230th Bastille Day with a glass or two at Cahoots, as they pay tribute to their French comrades with an spectacular underground soirée. While you party the night away, you might even be shoulder to shoulder with some of the Captain’s old French comrades. The Captain and his busy team have been working away plotting a lethal combination of French-inspired cocktails from Grey Goose and St-Germain, cuisine and live entertainment. You might even find a free oyster or two being passed around from Wright Brothers.
Running from 3pm with live music from 7pm – 12am
Shhh! We’ve got a secret for you!
Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like a fresh cuppa’ Joe and a warm, buttery pastry. Well, as a homage to the national day of France, PAUL are giving away a free freshly-baked croissant. Yes, for free! All you have to do to bag yourself a French treat is to keep an eye out for the secret password that’s being revealed on PAUL’s Instagram account, and head to one of the 37 stores across London (as well as Oxford and Newbury too!).
The secret password will be revealed on Instagram @paul_bakeryuk
Hop on board the Brigit’s Bakery express for a French take on the quintessentially British afternoon tea. So why not channel your inner Parisian chic and dine on board one of Brigit’s Bakery themed bus tours, especially created to honour Bastille Day. Expect cakes embellished with blue, white and red flags, baguettes galore and a whole lotta’fun!
Bringing a splash of Français to the Thames is Le Pont de la Tour with their terrace day party in collaboration with Moet & Chandon. From midday until 4pm, you’ll be transported into a Parisian paradise overlooking the iconic Tower Bridge. Expect live musicians to entertain in true French spirit, champers to be flowing, seafood platters scattered around and a freakin’ bottomless BBQ.
While the whole of France celebrates Bastille Day, us Londoners can venture to Cocottee, the French farm to table rotisserie joint, for a brunch-lunch to remember. They’re offering buy one get one free on drinks for anyone who attends brunch or lunch on July 14th sporting their finest Breton stripe-inspired clothing. So get rummaging through your wardrobe, we know you’ve got a stripy number somewhere!
Of course, our ol’ mate Raymond Blanc is paying a homage to his country with a limited-edition special burger. Brasserie Blanc will be putting a French spin on the classic burger, giving it a street food influence and by the looks of it, it’s gonna’be a messy one! Indulge in the boeuf burger’gnon, with a tender beefy patty, onion rings, crispy bacon, tomato and a rich red wine bourguignon sauce – oh boy, it sounds dreamy! And as if that wasn’t enough, tuck into their assortment of homemade bleu, blanc and rouge marshmallows (it’s in the colour of the French flag, duh.)
You can enjoy these tasty treats until July 19th at all Brasserie Blanc restaurants around the country, and for one day only, any guests who wear red, white and blue will get a half of their burg’n’chips on Bastille Day (July 14th), yippee!
Mwar! Celebrate Bastille Day with a kiss from choux pastry. Maître Choux will be waving the blue, white and red flag proudly with their French-inspired éclairs (Um, aren’t éclairs always a salute to France?) Either way, we’re excited for the two special flavours making an appearance on the menu. There’s a sticky salted butter and homemade caramel infused éclair made using recipes from the French region of Brittany, and an intensely creamy dark chocolate, both of which will be topped with a chocolate layer adorning the French flag.
à votre santé! Grab your a glass (or three) at Champagne + Fomage and celebrate Bastille Day with a blue, white and red take on a glass of fizz! They’re offering a ‘tricolore’ flight of three glasses – Curaçao Kir, classic Champagne and rosé Champagne. Pair it with a couple of soft and hard cheeses, and you’re set for the evening. Bon appètit!
Available at their Greenwich branch – call or email to book in
Celebrate Bastille Day in true Parisian style as you wine and dine at Brasserie Zédel. Nestled in the heart of Piccadilly, you’ll find yourself surrounded by high ceilings and marbled walls, indulging in a rich boeuf bourguignon or, steak haché equipped with peppercorn sauce and frites. Stick around for a dance or two – well, it’ll have to be toe-tapping while you dive into dessert but hey, we tried – to some French swing, Gypsy music.
Cider cocktail? Oh, go on then! 108 Bar at 108 Marylebone Lane will be serving a whole new menu of cocktails expertly blended with France’s coolest cider, Normandy’s SASSY Cidre. Highlights include the ‘riding high’, a mixture of 108 gin, cherry purée, lemon, sugar syrup, SASSY cidre rosé and camomile foam; and the Bastille Day spritz (obvs) which delicately blends 108 gin, salted yuzu water, grapefruit juice, passionfruit juice, rosemary, thyme, and of course a splash of SASSY cidre rosé. Now who’s ready for a cocktail?
I hate pizza. Said by no-one ever.
Pizza lovers far and wide should be ecstatic about Hai Cenato’s guest chef pizza this month. The pizza will come from Gregory Marchand, Chef Patron of French Covent Garden, French To Go and Michelin-starred French Rue du Nil in Paris. So to celebrate Bastille Day, dive into the Tarte Flambée sourdough pizza, topped with crème fraiche, fromage blanc, smokey bacon and onions finished with Munster cheese. It’s romantically inspired by Greg’s wife, Marie.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing I love more than exploring different cultures. Yes, when it comes to films it does mean there’ll be subtitles but the underlying themes, stories and cultural expressions make up for it. Throughout July, the cinema at the Barbican Centre is showcasing an array of French New Wave films. This generation of filmmakers explored the complexities of youth, love and intimacy during the tumultuous French political events of May 1968. So why not celebrate Bastille Day for the whole of July and drop by and discover some exciting, influential filmmaking that’s been somewhat overlooked.