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Bastille Day London 2019: The best events, food and drink this weekend

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 11/07/2019 Ailis Brennan

Zut alors, it’s that time of year again – Bastille Day is back, and so are its can-can-kicking frivolities.

July 14 is the “fête nationale” of France, commemorating the day revolutionaries stormed the Bastille prison in 1789, an act thought to be a turning point in the French Revolution.

Bastille Day is marked in France with firework displays, military parades and opulent balls. While London might not be pushing the boat out quite that far, Francophiles can still celebrate in the capital by focusing on another great French tradition – properly good food and drink.

Of course, you can celebrate with a meal at one of the best French restaurants in London, but special festive events are also taking place across the city.

From menus of French classics to visiting Parisian cocktail bars, tricolore-topped eclairs to free croissants, here’s where you can celebrate Bastille Day in London. Bon appétit.

Coupette

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Award-winning bar Coupette is teaming up with acclaimed Parisian cocktail spot Danico to bring a little bit of France to Bethnal Green this weekend. Acclaimed bartender Thibault Mequignon will travel from the Second Arrondissement to east London to whip up a series of St Germain cocktails, including a Sacrée Parisienne, made with brown butter and tonka Grey Goose vodka, raspberry shrub, absinthe and champagne. Florists June In March will also create a botanical installation for the bar.

423 Bethnal Green Road, E2 0AN, coupette.co.uk

Brasserie Zedel

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West End favourite Brasserie Zedel will once again be throwing its Bastille Day party this year, offering a free three-course meal to any diners who arrive wearing Breton stripes and a beret. To have secured a certain spot at a table you’d have needed to enter their ballot in June, but a certain number of walk-ins will be allowed on the day – just be prepared to wait. Those who get a spot can enjoy live music throughout the day, as well as a meal of French classics and a complimentary glass of wine.

20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED, brasseriezedel.com

Orrery

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Marylebone restaurant Orrery will take the celebration al fresco with a lunch and a dinner filled with classic French dishes. The meals will kick off with a champagne reception on the restaurant’s south-facing terrace, before guests tuck into boeuf en croute with pomme puree with truffle and madeira sauce, a cheese trolley, matching French wines and a dessert of meringue with strawberries, chantilly cream and sorbet.

55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB, orrery-restaurant.co.uk

Balthazar

Another Parisian bar is heading to London this weekend, this time to Balthazar. Le Syndicat will come to the Covent Garden restaurant for one night only, throwing a “Pastille Day” party. The bar will serve a selection of cocktails made with Menthe Pastille – the first 50 customers to order one will get their hands on a goodie bag featuring a t-shirt, mints, a pin and a macaroon.

4-6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ, balthazarlondon.com

Hai Cenato

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The guest chef pizza at Jason Atherton’s Italian restaurant Hai Cenato is getting a French spin this month. The foodie lending his expertise is Gregory Marchand of the Frenchie restaurants, which can be found both in Paris and Covent Garden. Marchand has created a Tarte Flambee pizza for July: a white, sourdough base is topped with creme fraiche, fromage blanc, smoked bacon and onions with Munster cheese. £1 from the sale of every £15.50 pizza will go towards charity Hospitality Action.

2 Sir Simon Milton Square, SW1E 5DJ, haicenato.co.uk

Cafe Boheme

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St Germain is teaming up with more than one London hotspot this weekend, with Soho’s Cafe Boheme also serving up the French elderflower liqueur. At the bar, customers can order either a St Germain Spritz or Boheme Spritz, and get a platter of charcuterie, crudités and toasted sourdough bread, all in for only £11.

13 Old Compton Street, W1D 5JQ, cafeboheme.co.uk

Le Pont de la Tour

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Under the gaze of one of London’s most iconic attractions, Le Pont de la Tour is getting its French on. The restaurant will be hosting a Bastille Day party on its summer terrace, with its famously spectacular view of Tower Bridge as a backdrop. Expect a tower of Moet champagne glasses, bottomless seafood, oysters and a barbecue, as well as live music from a Parisian band. Tickets cost £60.

36D Shad Thames, SE1 2YE, lepontdelatour.co.uk

Maitre Choux

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What would Bastille Day be without patisserie? Choux connoisseur Maitre Choux is celebrating the home of pastry perfection by serving up two special edition eclairs bedecked with the French flag. Choose from either dark chocolate or salted butter and caramel fillings, and get them topped with a chocolate layer sporting the tricolore.

SW7, W1, SW3, maitrechoux.com

Petit Pois Bistro

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Having come from the team behind bars Happiness Forgets and Original Sin, it’s no wonder Petit Pois Bistro is celebrating Bastille Day with cocktails. It too is teaming up with St Germain, offering a special menu featuring a St Germain Spritz, French Negroni, Normandie Spritz and Plum Blossom. Guests who order one of the cocktails can add an oyster for a total of £10, or a small plate of steak tartare, foie gras or grilled asparagus for just £15 all in.

8-9 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU, petitpoisbistro.com

Paul

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Start Bastille Day right at London’s Paul bakeries, where croissant fans can get a breakfast pastry on the house. Keep an eye out on the bakery’s Instagram for a secret password, and you’ll be able to get a free butter croissant at any of their 37 locations by quoting it at the counter anytime on Sunday.

Various locations, paul-uk.com

Brasserie Blanc

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Chef Raymond Blanc’s relaxed French brasseries are celebrating the big day with some decidedly quirky dishes. Introducing the “boeuf burger’gnon”: a beef burger topped with onion rings, crispy bacon, tomato and a red wine bourguignon sauce. Alternatively, sweeter tastes can finish a meal with assorted homemade marshmallows in the colours of the French flag. The dishes are available from now until July 19, and guests who wear “red, white et bleu” on Sunday will be able to get the burger half price.

WC2, W6, SE1, EC2, EC3, brasserieblanc.com

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