For the first time, celebrate Bastille Day in Central Park with a FREE concert, FREE outdoor dance party, and a FREE outdoor movie. Plus, there are additional Bastille Day offerings in NYC restraurants.
That’s all replacing the annual street fair on East 60th St., which drew as many as 40,000 people annually. Last year’s virtual edition marked the first change to FIAF’s three-block Bastille Day party on 60th Street in its 26-year history, and this year’s Central Park festivities are another change to tradition.
Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation, inspired – of course – by the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence in 1776, which was aided by the Marquis de Lafayette, a French nobleman who was an indespensible aid to Gen. George Washington. But I digress.
For the French Consulate, Bastille Day is always a celebration of the French community and the French-American friendship – which included the historic gift of the Statue of Liberty from the people of France to the people of the USA more than a century ago
In 2021, this Bastille Day is a moment to look to the future, and to a return to post-Pandemic normalcy.
FREE Bastille Day Concert, Dance Party and Film in Central Park
It’s one of the first live events of 2021 for SummerStage, the annual series of FREE concerts and dance performances in NYC Parks.
Bastille Day Celebration Schedule –
5PM — Doors Open
6:30PM — Opening Address
Jérémie Robert, Consul General of France in New York
Marie-Monique Steckel, President of FIAF
Gérard Epelbaum, President of CAFUSA
6:40PM — National Anthems of France and the United States
Singer Marie Viapiano with Les Cadets Lafayette Fanfare conducted by Jacques LeTalon
6:50PM — Jazz quintet with Vocalist Kavita Shah
The Bastille Day celebration kicks off with a live jazz band performing a selection of beloved French classics. The quintet is headlined by French Grammy-nominated singer Kavita Shah, and features Matt Munisteri on guitar, Matt Penman on bass, Ferenc Nemeth on drums, and Olivier Manchon on violin.
- FNAMM, which supports the development of French and francophone artists, assisted in bringing together this top-notch ensemble.
7:30PM — French House Dance Party with Joachim Garraud
Joachim Garraud, an important member of the French Touch (or French House) music scene will mix classic French electronic and house music with movie excerpts on the big screen. Garraud’s portion of the evening will turn the festivities into a lively dance party!
8:20PM — Film: My Donkey, My Lover & I (Antoinette dans les Cévennes)
Dir. Caroline Vignal, France, 2020
With Laure Calamy, Benjamin Lavernhe, Olivia Côte
In French with English subtitles
Cannes Label 2020
Directed by Caroline Vignal, this warm comedy features stunning landscapes, a gentle touch, a few slapstick flourishes, and a tour-de-force star turn from Laure Calamy (Call My Agent!). On an impulse, Paris schoolteacher Antoinette (Calamy) decides to follow her married lover Vladimir and his family on a hiking holiday. Yet she soon realizes this impromptu vacation is more than she bargained for, as she finds herself trekking across the Cévennes mountains with only a recalcitrant donkey named Patrick to keep her company.
- This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of UniFrance and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.
The Central Park event is presented by the Consulate General of France in New York, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), and the Committee of French Speaking Societies (CAFUSA) in concert with (pun intended) the NYC Parks Foundation SummerStage.
More Bastille Day Events
Bastille Day Boat Tour
The National Lighthouse Museum on Staten Island is offering a special French-themed boat tour departing from Pier 1, St. George Terminal. It tours the Lower Bay to the Sandy Hook Lighthouse.
It leaves at 11am and costs $60 for adults and $40 for children 12 and under.
French Food Deals
The food hall inside Brookfield Place in Lower Manhattan is holding a special celebratory event on July 14 with live music, a caricaturist, illusionist, and cocktail and menu specials at Liberty Bistro.
Reservations are required. You can make a reservation on Resy.
This Upper West Side neighborhood favorite is offering a special Bastille Day dinner for $28. The menu includes Cochon Frites special featuring whole roast suckling pig, potato mille-feuille, and charcutière sauce.
Reservations are recommended, including for the expansive sidewalk dining on 79th St. and wrapping around to Amsterdam Ave.
Jersey City’s bilingual school The French American Academy is hosting its annual FREE street fair on July 14.
It is on Third Street, between Eerie and Grove Streets, with family-friendly games and entertainment, plus French wine, food, and cheese for purchase.
- 2:30pm to 6:30pm.
Bastille Day Celebration on Sat., July 17
There’s a row of French restaurants, cafes and bakeries on Centre Street, between Broome and Grand, in Nolita, with additional French shops nearby.
There’s a move to designate it as “Little Paris”, being led by the restaurant Coucou, which is hosting a block party on Saturday, July 17, with live music, French treats and cocktails, and an unveiling of the new Little Paris street sign
Coucou also is resuming in-person French cooking classes.
- 3pm to 7pm
- RSVP on Facebook.
The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York’s premier French cultural and language center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.
Founded in 1924, the Committee of French Speaking Societies, unites French and French-speaking associations in the New York Tri-State area that are characterized by their vigorous interest in France and the French language. The Committee plays the essential role of federating our 67 member associations. We are enriched by their diversity. Our goal is to promote French culture, French American friendship and our presence in the Tri-State area.
About Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage
Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage is New York’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival. SummerStage annually presents approximately 100 performances in 15-18 parks throughout the five boroughs. With performances ranging from American pop, Latin, global music, dance, and more, SummerStage fills a vital niche in New York City’s summer arts festival landscape.
Since its inception 35 years ago, more than six million people from New York City and around the world have enjoyed SummerStage. In 2020, Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage Anywhere was launched in response to the global pandemic, presenting 80 free digital performances, spanning all genres, available to all around the world. Capital One is the Title Sponsor of SummerStage.
For more information, visit www.SummerStage.org.