If you’ve ever driven past Guillot Street in Uptown, spent an afternoon in Oak Cliff, or traveled to the top of Reunion Tower, then you’ve experienced a piece of France in Dallas. Each pay homage to the former French colony on the banks of the Trinity River, La Réunion. The spirit of La Réunion comes alive across the city on Bastille Day (July 14) every year.
While sometimes the celebrations look more mimes and Madeline than modern day France, there are lots of great options to mark France’s national day in Dallas. I love any excuse to use my French degree and connect with the Francophile community. Below are some of my favorite ways to celebrate Bastille Day in Dallas, along with ideas I plan to try in the future.
Party like it’s 1789 with the whole family.
The classic Bastille on Bishop is an obvious choice. The annual festival on the land that used to be a French commune is free, though purchasing an official wine glass will grant you access to drinks during the festivities. Wearing your most outlandish (or most chic) French styles is highly encouraged! Expect street performers, market food, and live music. The organizers recommend riding the free streetcar from Union Station or taking the DART since the closed streets make parking difficult. This year’s festival takes place Thursday, July 14, from 5–10pm.
Keep the party going all weekend long by joining a family-friendly party at the Dallas International School. The bilingual French-English school is partnering with French Consulate and other local French organizations to host Bastille Day Dallas. The day will include a rosé wine bar, crêpes and other French treats, and the classic game of pétanque. The party takes place Saturday, July 16, from 11am onward.
Eat your way through France across Dallas.
Dallas is home to several excellent French restaurants that cater to a range of budgets and tastes. You can choose to make it a date night or bring the kids along on a mini-trip to France all day long.
Start your day with French coffee and pastries from Village Baking Co. Boulangerie or La Madeleine (the original location is next to SMU—or try the newest location right across from Klyde Warren Park and stay and play with the kids).
RM1220 in Lake Highlands will be celebrating Bastille Day all weekend long with a special menu. You’ll feel like you flew to France at Mercat Bistro, where they are offering a special Bastille Day dinner menu.
Head to dinner in costume with your family and furry friends for a chance to win prizes from rise no. 1, the best soufflé restaurant outside of Paris. They also have the cutest highchairs that will transport you to Provençal France at both their Dallas and Fort Worth locations. The “marshmallow” soup is a must try, and they will be serving cherry clafoutis for Bastille Day.
For a more romantic night out, Alliance Française Dallas is hosting a celebratory dinner at Lavendou Bistro. (BONUS: Their next round of beginner adult French courses also kicks off on Bastille Day at their school in North Dallas.)
Finally, my favorite French date night spot is Dallas classic St. Martin’s Wine Bistro in Lower Greenville. While Dallas has changed, the champagne brie soup has remained a local favorite since 1977. Nothing says bonne nuit to a French-filled day like a restaurant named for the French patron saint of winemakers.
Host your own Bastille Day soirée at home.
Macarons are a favorite French treat—gluten-free and available in varieties for every palette! Order a “Tower of Joy” from JOY Macarons or a custom display from Bisous Bisous Pâtisserie. Pick some up from Savor, where you can also take a class to learn how to make your own.
Cook your favorite French meal (perhaps learned at a class from Sur La Table) or order a mix of French favorites from any of the restaurants mentioned above. Serve your favorite French wines, Perrier, and cocktails or mocktails (Kir Royale or French 75, anyone?). And don’t forget to lead your guests in a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.