From the streets of Boston: Vive la France!

Plenty of ways to celebrate Bastille Day

Senegal native Yoro Ndiaye will perform at the French Cultural Center’s Bastille Day party. Senegal native Yoro Ndiaye will perform at the French Cultural Center’s Bastille Day party. (Hilary Hulteen)
By Kathleen Pierce
Globe Correspondent / July 14, 2011

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On July 14, 1789 French revolutionaries in Paris stormed the Bastille to end the monarchy. Feudalism was abolished and the rights of man restored. What does this mean for us Americans? Another excuse to raise a toast to summer in the city. Whether you’re a Francophile, an expat, or just someone with a penchant for rosé and escargot, there’s no shortage of places in Boston to feel French this year.

Dancing in the street

Since 1975, the French Cultural Center has been holding the biggest bash in the city, with dancing in the street, good wine, great music, and bonhomie. The fete takes place tomorrow on Marlborough Street.

“It’s not the Champs-Elysees, but we think it’s the prettiest street in Boston,’’ said Sacha Chiniara, marketing coordinator for the FCC.

Afro pop music from Senegal native Yoro Ndiaye and gypsy jazz band Rupa and the April Fishes will set the festive tone for this year’s Bastille Day Party.

Rub shoulders with stylish types as you down morsels from Sandrine’s Bistro, Petit Robert Bistro, Brasserie Jo, and Teranga. New crepe shop Doré Creperie will be dishing out authentic street eats. And to appease all tastes, the Waffle Cabin will be laying down the Belgian classics.

“Liberty, equality, and fraternity are the pillars of the French Revolution, and we are celebrating the last one,’’ said Chiniara. Beret optional.

Tomorrow, from 6-11 p.m. $28 in advance and $35 day of. French Cultural Center, 53 Marlborough St., Boston, 617-912-0400,

Eat like a Parisian

As the book title says, French women don’t get fat. But they do eat well. Take advantage of this happy paradox and visit Bistro du Midi for a taste of France. Chef Robert Sisca puts the hot in haute cuisine in this Back Bay restaurant with a stunning view of the Public Garden. Classic French dishes such as pork terrine, pickled shallots, figs, cornichons with whole grain mustard, and pan-roasted skate with pimentos, capers, and brown butter go down nicely with a glass of crisp, cool rosé.

Prix fixe specials run tonight and tomorrow, $45. Bistro du Midi, 272 Boylston St., Boston, 617-426-7878.

Dine outdoors

For Gaul gastronomy at its most divine, grab a seat on the patio at Sel de la Terre and dig into a four-course Bastille Day feast. Start with sea-salt-roasted bone marrow or chilled vichyssoise. Choose between fisherman’s bouillabaisse or steak tartare and frites. Dessert is a liberty crème brulee.

Tonight, $45, from 4 - 11 p.m. Sel de la Terre,774 Boylston St., Boston, 617-266-8800, 255 State St., Boston, 617-720-1300, 1245 Worcester St., Natick, 508-650-1800.

Buzz into Beehive

Complete this moveable feast by stopping by the Beehive, where gypsy jazz French group the Chicken Thieves rock from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Later, DJ Kamal drops St. Tropez-style beats until the wee smalls. If you missed out on the French feed, grab a ham and brie baguette and other fare offered in this subterranean space all night.

Tonight from 5 p.m. - 2 a.m. The Beehive, 541 Tremont St., Boston, 617-423-0069.

Cinéma vérité Whisk yourself away to the Left Bank without leaving the banks of our fair city as the Museum of Fine Arts this month presents the Boston French Film Festival. Among those you’ll meet at various screenings: Jean-Pierre Améris, the director of “Romantics Anonymous’’ (July 24); actress Josiane Balasko of “The Hedgehog’’ (July 23); and, of course, a host of arty film students. Think style, intrigue, and film noir.

Through July 24, Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston,, 617-267-9300.

Kathleen Pierce can be reached at