Bastille Day Party
LIBERTE, EGALITE, FRATERNITE
VIVE LA FRANCE!
July 14th is a national holiday in France celebrating the Revolution & is known as Bastille Day after, what many people consider to be, the main event of the French Revolution.
The Bastille was a castle in the working class district of St Antoine to the east of Paris, which was used as a prison under the command of the Marquis de Launay. After months of rumours & civil unrest, members of the Third Estate took affairs into their own hands & on July 14th 1789, stormed the Bastille. After 4 hours of fighting, de Launay surrendered on the promise of his safe conduct. He & some of his officers were taken to the Town Hall, murdered & their heads mounted on poles & paraded through the streets. The revolution had begun.
BASTILLE DAY PARTY INVITATIONS
Cut out a strip of white, red & blue paper & glue onto a piece of stiff card approx. 4 x 3 in., to form a french flag. Write the party details on the back. Ask guests to come wearing red, white & blue or as a typified frenchman – beret, stripy t-shirt, string of onions around neck. Alternatively, ask them to come as a famous french person – examples are Joan of Arc, Edith Piaf, Eric Cantana, Marie Antoinette (by marriage), Inspector Cloussou & Jean – Paul Sartre.
Drag out the bunting from the Royal celebrations & use to decorate the room. Ask your local travel agent for posters of France & blu-tac on to the walls. Hang strings of onions & garlic on the walls as well for a slightly more rustic look. Have a few bunches of red, white & blue balloons dotted about the room – these are good in corners.
Use the 3 colours for napkins & candles for the table & if possible for the tablecloth as well. How about a white tablecloth with a blue runner down the middle & red napkins & candles? Cornflowers, red carnations & gypsophila would make a fitting centrepiece.
BASTILLE DAY PARTY FOOD IDEAS
Croissants de Provence (almond biscuits)
Red, white & blue layered jellies
French cheese board
BASTILLE DAY PARTY DRINKS
Start the evening by offering Pernod & water or try a longer cocktail by adding plenty of orange juice, ice & a slice of lemon (sacrilege, some may think I know).
Serve crisp white french wines with the meal (hopefully the weather will be warm) but have on hand a few bottles of light french red for those that prefer it. For a leisurely finish, go for armagnac, calvados or ratafia.
For soft drinks, try lemon presse or elderflower cordial.
BASTILLE DAY PARTY GAMES
How much do your guests actually know about France? Compile a quiz & find out. Include a picture round & use travel brochures & photos of people in the news.
Either call out the numbers in french or do picture bingo by printing a selection of 9 pictures on to sheets of paper plus cutting out one of each picture to go in a box or bag to be called out. Make sure the pictures differ at least slightly per sheet!
A good one for the beginning of the evening if there are lots of guests. Write the names of animals on slips of paper & repeat but this time write the french word. Hand one to each guest who must then find their french/english counterpart. Have english/french dictionaries lying around just in case.
Spot the advertising
Get together a list of french logos & advertising slogans & get guests to name the products. Examples could be Renault, Petit Filous, La Vache Qui Ri & Les Routier.
Drag the boule set out from under the stairs & dust it off. Hopefully the weather will be nice in July ………
BASTILLE DAY PARTY PRIZES
Hand out prizes for games or fancy dress, such as berets, mussels, french vocabulary book, bottle of french wine, string of onions or boule set.
BASTILLE DAY PARTY MUSIC
Not many french artists make their way over to Britain. Start the evening with a rousing rendition of Les Miserable to get people in the revolutionary mood then work your way through Holden, Indochine, Marie Laforet & finally Sacha Distel (your mum might have a copy) & Edith Piaf.