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(photo copyright Sasha Arutyunova, 2014)

Can-Can dancers are part of the fun at annual Bastille Day festivities on 60th St. (photo copyright Sasha Arutyunova, 2014)

60th St. between Fifth & Lexington Aves.
Sunday, July 12, free, 12 noon – 5:00 pm

On July 14, 1789, a Parisian mob stormed the Bastille prison, a symbolic victory that kicked off the French Revolution and the establishment of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Ever since, July 14 has been a national holiday celebrating liberté, égalité, and fraternité. In New York City, the Bastille Day festivities are set for Sunday, July 12, along Sixtieth St., where the French Institute Alliance Française hosts its annual daylong party of food, music, dance, and other special activities. There will be a Wine, Cheese, Cocktails, and Beer Tasting in FIAF’s Tinker Auditorium from 12 noon to 4:30 ($25), as well as luxurious ninety-minute Champagne & Chocolate Tastings in Le Skyroom at 12:30 and 3:00 ($65) featuring delights from Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, La Caravelle, Piper-Heidsieck, Pommery, Chocolat Moderne, Neuhaus, Valrhona, and Le Cirque. The annual raffle ($5 per ticket) can win you such prizes as trips to France and New Orleans, concert tickets, beauty treatments and gift baskets, and more. Food and drink will be available from Bar Bordeaux, Financier, Barraca, Rotisserie Georgette, the Crepe Café, François Payard, Épicerie Boulud, Mille-feuille, Ponty Bistro, Maison de l’Éclair, Macaron Parlour, le Souk, and others. Among those taking the stage will be DJ Ol’ Stark (12 noon), Can-Can dancers (12:45 & 1:30), Benjamin Swax (1:00), Ginkgoa (2:00), the Hungry March Band (3:15), and the Arpège Choir of the Saint-Joseph de Cluny School in Martinique (4:00). The festivities also include a fencing demonstration by the Sheridan Fencing Academy, free half-hour French language workshops for beginners as well as advanced experts, the annual Citroën Car Show, and family-friendly film screenings in Florence Gould Hall, with shorts by Michel Ocelot and studios in Poitou-Charentes and the 2013 feature film Minuscule, Valley of the Lost Ants by Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo. So there will be plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in French culture at this always entertaining block party.

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