Fireworks roared into the sky in multicolored bursts. From Long Island, NY to Long Beach, CA, friends and family alike threw burgers and corn on the cob atop the barbecue. Flag cakes abounded with toppings from funfetti to strategically placed berries, each celebrating the American flag.
This coming week brings on a celebration of yet another Independence Day — Bastille Day. Franco-Americans, Francophiles, French expatriates, and of course, Brooklynites will be storming Smith Street in ode to the day the French people claimed their independence from the Bourbon monarchy.
Throughout Boerum and Cobble Hill, people will gather to enjoy a slew of festivities sponsored by several French groups including Marseille Provence Airport, Tourism Office of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille, Air France and Paris Gourmet to taste authentic fare and libations alongside their 14th annual pétanque tournament. 72 teams will compete on sands spread into the streets just for this momentous occasion in front of France’s official Brooklynais World Cup bar and local trésor, Bar Tabac.
Pétanque, oft considered a cousin to horseshoes or the Italian bocce, originates in the south of France. Its aim is to toss or roll steel balls (“boules”) as close as possible to a small target ball called the “cochonnet”. Players take turns and the team that ends up nearest to the target ball wins. The game can be played on most outdoor surfaces, with no specific requirements or rules for a court or set-up.
Pétanque is fun for the young and old. I learned as a young girl on a long driveway in Saint Raphaël under the shade of wild peach trees. Traditionally, those of age might have a glass of pastis in hand and today, in parks around Paris you still see old men in the middle of the day playing their luck.
For a taste of France in Brooklyn, there’s no better celebration than the corner of Smith and Dean Streets. However, there are a number of Bastille Day festivities around the city.
Schedule of Events
- Annual Bastille Pétanque Event in Brooklyn — at Bar Tabac, 128 Smith Street, Brooklyn
- FIAF Bastille Day — East 60th Street, Manhattan
- Bastille Day Ball — @Club404, 404 10th Avenue, Manhattan
July 13th – 19th
- French Restaurant Week, NYC
- Annual Bastille Pétanque Event in TriBeCa — at Paris Gourmet, 241 West Broadway, Manhattan
- Bastille Day at Hotel Americano — 518 West 27th Street, Manhattan