Backyard barbecues on America's Independence Day are great, but how dang lucky are we to live in an internationally-minded city that's home to lots of nice French folks where we get to celebrate (and by that I mean EAT) the joys of Bastille Day as well?
Our local Franco-foodie scene is going gangbusters for the 14th, so if eating well is your priority, I would really try to squeeze one of these fêtes in:
Bastille Cafe & Bar (Ballard)
Pétanque is a game traditionally played by paunchy, elderly French men in very tight, very tiny sunbathing attire. However, you and lots of other youthful, well-dressed beauties can give it a shot in Ballard at Bastille's party, which also includes live Gypsy-Jazz, burlesque, $3 pints of Kronenbourg, plus $5 charcuterie, oysters and wine. 5307 Ballard Ave. NW, 206.453.5014, bastilleseattle.com
Le Pichet (Pike Place)
Tables just get in the way at the Pike Place French institution, where they get hauled out in favor of wine barrels just big enough to set your Kir Royales on. It's standing room only, with Parisian street food (think crêpes and pommes frites) that's meant to be eaten on your feet while whooping it up to live music by Le Quartet and the Djangomatics. 6 p.m.-midnight, more info at Le Pichet/Cafe Presse chef Jim Drohman's blog, jimdrohman.com. 1933 1st Ave., 206.256.1499, lepichetseattle.com
Luc (Madison Park)
Chef in the Hat Thierry Rautureau is bringing it on with a 3-course dinner menu for $36: Salad Niçoise, Honey Rosted Duck Breast with Lacinato Kale and Black Pepper Bing Cherry Jus, and Strawberries with Pound Cake and Chantilly Cream. And the beverage specials are just as enticing: $6 Lillet Blanc, Pastis, Luc Rosé and Vacqueyras glass pours. 2800 E. Madison, 206.328.6645, thechefinthehat.com
The Corson Building (Georgetown)
Here's my advice: Show your fraternité with the French nation and just go on strike from work on Thursday. The family-friendly fun starts at 3 p.m. in Georgetown, where Wylie Bush, Matt Dillon and co. are promising quite the lineup: chicken races, carnival games, stories, a bounce house, illusionists, goat staring, a hookah lounge and henna tattoos. They will also be joined by Nettletown and The Walrus and The Carpenter for a feast of oysters, merguez sandwiches, crêpes and more, plus live music from Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States of America, among others. Adult tickets are $28 in advance or $35 at the door. Kids get in for $8.50. Need I go on? 5609 Corson Ave. S, 206.762.3330, thecorsonbuilding.com
Oh, and in case you forgot what Bastille Day is for besides eating, partying and goat-staring, it commemorates the day in 1789 when a crowd in Paris stormed a fortress where political prisoners were often held, leading to the French Revolution and the collapse of the absolute monarchy. You know, just in case it comes up in conversation.