Bastille Day is an annual event held in Frenchtown, New Jersey and in multiple cities and countries across the globe including France. Frenchtown's inspiration to celebrate Bastille day stems from the tale of our founder who escaped the guillotine and made his way to America.
Bastille Day is the national day of France, which is celebrated on July 14th each year. In French, it is formally called la Fête nationale (National Day) or Le Quatorze Juillet. The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790.
It is often celebrated with military parades, meals, dances, parties and fireworks. We do it a little bit different in Frenchtown but folks seem to enjoy it... and they keep coming back.
This year Bastille Day will be a smaller scale, "sidewalk celebration". There will be live music in several locations in the downtown area, a scavenger hunt, French-themed menu items at the cafes and restaurants, and our very own Marie Antoinette and her friends will be roaming around town.
While you're visiting town that weekend keep your eyes peeled for the Frenchtown History Placards supplied by our local historian Rick Epstein. There will be certain buildings in the downtown area that will have fun facts displayed about it's history such as which location was visited by the famous sharp-shooter Annie Oakley, and a fire that was potentially started by a horse!
As the event winds down around 7:00 pm, you can head over to the ArtYard tent for the Before Bed Films at 8:00 pm. They are encouraging folks to bring a picnic and join them under the tent to screen two films to cap off Frenchtown’s Bastille Day. Porch Pirates, made by Frenchtown’s own Tyler Wallach, is a modern-day swashbuckling, Peter Pan adventure about an uncle’s quest to track down a band of infamous porch pirates who stole his nephew’s birthday present. Following this short film is Ratatouille, an animated film about a rat who can cook that makes an unusual alliance with a young kitchen worker at a famous Paris restaurant.