On July 14, 1789, the people of Paris stormed the Bastille prison. This started a chain of events that ended with the overthrow of the monarchy and the ushering in of a new nation. Thus the France we know and love today emerged. Bastille Day, also known as La Fete National, is one of the most important French holidays and is celebrated all over the country.
In France, Bastille Day is marked with extravagant balls and parties. The morning sees Paris become home to the world’s oldest and largest military procession, led by the French president. In the afternoon, it’s all about heading outdoors and eating and drinking with your loved ones. During the revolution, the people of Paris took to the streets to protest. And they do the same every Bastille Day, only this time it’s to share good times with their closest friends and family. And why shouldn’t you do the same?
There are no ‘official Bastille Day foods’, but it’s as good a time as any to indulge in your favourite French foods. This is the best time to honour the fabulous contribution the French have made to the world of cooking. Which is a lot! Take this day to be with your nearest and dearest, soak up the winter sunshine, and eat the best food France has offered the world. Here are some ideas for how your Bastille Day menu can look like…
Start the morning with crepes & pastries
Start your Bastille Day with a delectable French breakfast made with crepes, croissants, pastries, or soft brioche. Who can resist a thin and delicate crepe, stuffed with mushrooms & bacon, or – for the sweet – lemon and sugar? If making crepes isn’t your thing, head to your local cafe and order a coffee with pain au chocolat, eclair, or madeleine. There’s no shortage of delicious French pastries to indulge in for breakfast. Then there are the multitude of egg options – a delicious omelette or a sweet taste of French bread. Whatever it is you choose for breakfast – take your time to enjoy your morning, sip on your hot coffee, and read the newspaper. The French are all about taking your time to enjoy the sweet things in life – including breakfast!
Picnic at the park
When it’s mid-morning, or mid-afternoon, you can pack a picnic basket and take to the park to soak up the sun with your loved ones. Seeing as the French celebrate Bastille Day by eating in the streets, why not do the same yourself? Gather a bunch of your friends and flock somewhere sunny and bright with a comfy picnic blanket and snacks abound. Make sure you have a fresh baguette and grab some brie or camembert cheese from a good deli. Add in some pate and charcuterie to really take your picnic up a notch. If it’s early, you may want to leave the red wine at home, but if you’re feeling like a celebration… then bring it with you!
Tart it up for lunch
The French have a real gift when it comes to baking. So there’s no shortage of delicious options for your Bastille Day lunch! Why not try your hand at making a tart or quiche at home? You can use frozen pastry or spend the day mixing your own dough for an authentic touch. Here are some of our favourite French savoury tarts and pastries that would make a standout Bastille Day lunch…
- Tarte a l’oignon – Similar to quiche lorraine but with its own twist, this Alsace tradition is made with onions.
- Mushroom quiche – Popularised by Julia Child, this warming pie is filled with mushrooms, shallots, port, and swiss cheese.
- Pissaladiere – This French-style pizza is topped with anchovies, olives, and caramelised onions.
- Hachis parmentier – For those who want something truly different, try this French version of shepherd’s pie. It’s made from mashed potato, minced meat, and Lyonnaise sauce. You can’t go wrong.
- Quiche florentine – This spinach and herb favourite is a versatile tart that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack.
- Quiche au fromage – Nobody needs an excuse to bake and eat a pastry pie that’s stuffed with a mix of delicious cheese. Gruyere, roquefort, camembert… the choice is yours. Blend the cheese with eggs, milk, and creme fraiche for the creamiest pie in town.
- Flamiche – This lesser-known traditional French tart is made with leeks, butter, and milk or creme fraiche.
French classics for dinner
The evening of Bastille Day is the perfect time to treat yourself to hearty French classics. Head out to a French restaurant (though you may need to book ahead), hire a private chef to cook you an exquisite meal at home, or have a go at making these classics yourself (warning: doing so might take up your whole day!) Here are some of our favourite French dishes that deserve to be on any Bastille Day menu:
- Bouillabaisse – This traditional fish stew originates from Marseille and uses the best Provencal herbs and spices to flavour its stock.
- Coq au vin – Chicken cooked in wine, what more can we say? This hearty dish is traditionally made with Burgundy wine and cooked with mushrooms.
- Cassoulet – This slow-cooked casserole can be made with pork sausage, goose, duck, or lamb, cooked along with pork skin and white beans.
- Beef bourguignon – This rich dish was popularised by Julia Child, and features beef slowly braised in red wine with bacon, onion, mushrooms, and carrots.
- Ratatouille – Not all French dishes are hearty, rich, and warming. Ratatouille is a Provencal stew that’s made with a mixture of vegetables layered in a dish.
- French onion soup – Hearty and slightly sweet, French onion soup is usually made with a base of meat stock, and served with croutons and melted cheese.
End the day with a sweet something
The French have contributed to the world of decadent desserts as much as they have to the land of savoury foods. You can end your dinner with a typical French cheese platter. Or if you have a sweet tooth, give it something to munch on with your favourite French desserts. You could never go wrong with macarons, creme brûlée, or creme caramel.
Experience the best of France with our dining experience
Want to celebrate Bastille Day and indulge in the best French foods, without spending all day in the kitchen? Treat yourself and let a private chef tend to you with a Bastille Day dining experience that features the best France has to offer. Our Taste of France food journey will take you all over the country to experience delicacies from different regions and provinces of France.
Your chef will guide you through this culinary journey, introducing each dish and explaining the history and different ingredients used. It’s as much a learning experience as it is a sensory indulgence for your taste buds. So gather your loved ones around the table and spoil yourselves with France’s best food and drinks – book your Taste of France food journey now!