Dance the Carmagnole all week long: Your guide to Boston's Bastille Day festivities

Francophiles of the world (or at least of Boston and its associated suburbs) unite! Vive la gluttony, street fairs, live music and more gluttony! Bastille Day is right around the corner, folks, and you better get your croissant-consuming self ready, because Beantown will be seeing blue, white, and red (not to be confused with "seeing red, white and blue" -- that was last weekend) all week long.

In the days leading up to and including the yearly celebration of the celebration of the storming of the Bastille, there will be no shortage of Francophilic delights to be had around town. Get ready to pull out all those token French phrases you know, and maybe even reacquaint yourself with a little ninth-grade history. Brave the heat and take the guillotine to the currently very dog days of summer with a little bit of liberté, égalité, and fraternité.

The inspiration for Mobius's Storming of the Bastille Croquet

Through July 10, longstanding Boston experimental art group Mobius will be hosting its inaugural Storming of the Bastille Croquet tournament. We're still trying to figure out whether this is performance art or an actual game of croquet, but tickets are only ten dollars. Each performance/match will occur at 8 p.m., with the final game being played on July 14. According to a comment on the unabashedly vague Mobius event listing, the croquet course will be set up as if it were the floor-plan of the Bastille prison, and the "audience" will be led through said course by a guide. Also, it seems that the winner will receive cake in honor of that thing Marie Antoinette most likely didn't say.

French Cultural Center's Bastille Day Bash

On Friday, July 9, The French Cultural Center of Boston will be blocking off Marlborough Street between Berkeley and Clarendon for its 35th annual Bastille Day bash. The outdoor party, for which tickets run from $28 in advance to $35 the day of, starts at 6 p.m. and rounds out the night at 11 p.m. This year, Parisian electro-swing band Caravan Palace will be playing alongside Tabou Combo, ambassador's of Konpa, the rhythmically direct national music of Haiti. In addition, plenty of French food will be for sale courtesy of local restaurants and bars.

French Waiters Race in Harvard Square

Then, on Sunday, Harvard Square will throw its own take-to-the-streets-and-party-like-its-the-late-18th-century extravaganza, reserving Holyoke Street for a day of food, football (the one that is currently relevant), music and sprinting waitstaff. Starting at 2 p.m. one can engage in any variety of family friendly activities and culinary treats. In addition to the face painting and crepes, there will be a live screening of the final World Cup game. At 5:15 p.m., there will be a traditional French Waiters Race, which will feature hot foods moving at fast paces. Someone better get a good tip. The rest of the evening will feature performances by several French bands, and a set by DJ Kamal of the Boston French Party.  

Beehive's "Une Nuit A Paris"

On July 14, the Beehive will be hosting its third annual Bastille Day soiree. Starting at 5:30 p.m., the Beehive's patio will open for a sidewalk cafe style evening of pay as you go, street-cart dining. And, of course, what would a night in an imitation city of lights be without plenty of mimes? But if that's not enough to tickle your French fancy,  at 7 p.m., lounge-pop star ElodieO will take to the Beehive stage. Then, in something that the press release calls a moment of "musical history," and something that we call a moment of "that band's still around?" early 90s Grammy winning world music act Deep Forest will play a set in support of their new album Deep Africa. The Beehive show will be the duo's first performance on U.S. soil in over a decade.

Franklin Park Zoo's Poitou donkers, Samuel and Balthazar.

Also on the 14th, Franklin Park Zoo will be celebrating Bastille Day in its own way. The zoo is home to two specimens of an extremely rare French breed of donkey called the Poitou. These bad-asses are named Samuel and Balthazar and can be experienced in person during regular zoo hours. Montilo's Bakery will be providing French-flag-shaped cake samples for all to partake in.

Bastille Day A-Go-Go

The following Friday, July 16, Precinct will host Shaun Wolf Wortis's 17th annual Bastille Day A-Go-Go. Wortis has been on the Boston scene for quite some time now, and started hosting this little shindig back in 1994. This year will feature performances by all sorts of familiar Boston faces including members of the Downbeat 5 and local scene godfather (and publisher of The Noise) T Max.

But maybe all that sunshine and late-night partying is a bit too much excitement for your Paris je' taime-ing heart. Then take it easy that day and curl up with Matt Stewart's new novel, The French Revolution. This ain't your mother's historical fiction, though -- nor is it historical fiction at all, actually. Stewart's book. rather, is an allegorical work, examining the French revolution through the lens of a dysfunctional San Fransisco family.  Marie Antoinette is a 450-pound former pastry chef, her kids represent the French people, Napoleon's a street urchin turned politician; it's all good, symbolic, fun. But if you want to make things even more interesting, you can attempt to read the book in its original medium of publication: Twitter. That's right, 3,700 140-character excerpts, tweeted back-to-back.

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