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If you feel you didn't properly celebrate July 4th with enough pomp and circumstance (it was on a Sunday this year, and a rainy one to boot), there's always Bastille Day
Several local French restaurants plan to celebrate the holiday next Wednesday, July 14 (and later in the week), with some intoxicating specials. After a few sips of peche au vin
, you may lose your wits -- but not, unlike Marie-Antoinette, your head.
So what, exactly, is Bastille Day? The French holiday, also known as Le Fete Nationale, celebrates
the 1789 storming of the Bastille Prison in central Paris, the first
major event of the French Revolution and the precursor to Queen
Marie-Antoinette -- the "Let them eat cake" gal -- being led to the guillotine four years later.
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Westport's intimate Boozefish Wine Bar
isn't exactly a Gallic restaurant, but owner Maija Diethelm is the daughter of a French citizen and the granddaughter of Frenchman Bernard Peigne, who taught her to create peche au vin
with ripe peaches crushed in sugar. This concoction is put into a wine goblet and covered with chillred red wine. She says it's both a cocktail and a dessert. She'll also be serving ratatouille over rice, topped with and egg, and Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame sandwiches.
Diethelm plans to show the Tour de France on TV and play French music over the sound system. The celebration runs from 4 p.m. to after midnight.
Emmanuel Langlade, the chef-owner of the popular Aixois
restaurant in Brookside, serves dinner specials on Wednsday, the actual Bastille Day anniversary. But the real celebration will be held the following Saturday, July 17, when he'll erect a tent over the patio, move a grill outside and host petanque
games: "It's the French version of bocce ball, but the balls are heavier and smaller," Langlade said. The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday.Le Fou Frog
owner Mano Rafael refuses ever to be outdone. He's hosting no fewer than three
days of Bastille Day celebrations, beginning tomorrow, Friday, July 9, with a circus cabaret: Le Fou Cirque! There will be two dinner seatings this night, 5 and 8 p.m. On Sunday, July 11, the restaurant will host -- beginning at 5 p.m. a "beat" inspired musical evening featuring the band Bongotini.
On July 14, the actual Fete de National
celebration, expect local performance-art troupe Alacartoona as Le Fou Frog's headline entertainment.