Pastries and Pétanque

Commiserating with the French on Bastille Day

It's a sorrowful Bastille Day for the French this year, what with their recent devastating lost to Italy in the World Cup-we imagine the only thing worse than losing on penalty kicks must be losing to a gang of luscious-haired pretty boys howling every time a Frenchman so much as tapped their knees. Expect the infamous Zidane head butt to figure into more than one heated conversation this holiday (and this weekend—most street festivals have been pushed to Saturday).

1. No one loves a good drag Marie Antoinette more than Florent Morellet, the owner of Meatpacking District mainstay Florent. Starting at noon on Bastille Day (Friday), his restaurant and the street in front will be the site of the 16th Annual Veuve Cliquot Pétanque Tournament. A French-chef cook-off is set for 1 p.m., with Morellet, Laurent Torondel (BLT Fish), Sascha Lyon (Sascha), and Francois Payard and Phllippe Bertinaud (Payard) going head to head (or crepe to crepe). The evening festivities start at 5 p.m., with performances by Murray Hill, Dirty Martini, Madame Fi-Fi's Can Can dancers, and more.

2. The French Institute Alliance Francaise, the French-American Chamber of Commerce, French Tuesdays, and the Committee of French Speaking Societies will host a Bastille Day NYC, a Sunday block party from noon-6 p.m. On 60th Street between Fifth Ave and Lexington, an array of French dishes will be set up for the sampling (food participants include Payard and the pricey Philadelphia French restaurant Le Bec Fin); there will be live music performances all day from French jazz performers, can can dancers, and accordion players; and a raffle whose grand prize is a round-trip ticket to Paris and lodging in a furnished Parisian apartment for a week. (We were also a bit intrigued by "The Ultimate Charcuterie Box" prize, what sounds like a year's supply of dried sausage.)

3. This marks the 15th year that West Village boite Provence has thrown its Bastille Day party (one of the few that is actually scheduled for Bastille Day itself—the guy who answered the phone acted like we were insane to even ask if it had been pushed to Saturday). Pétanque will be played outside all day, followed by a three-course meal for $55 (four choices each of appetizers, main courses, and desserts.)

4. Park Slope music venue Barbes will host an outdoor street festival on Saturday in conjunction with Patisserie Colon down the street. Performers include Les Chauds Lapins, a duo that covers Charles Trenet songs and other French music from the '30s and '40s; French virtuoso guitarist Stephane Wrembel; and, starting at 6 p.m., what they are calling a "polka freak-out". Patisserie Colon provides the baked goods and instructs on the proper way to down a Belgian waffle.

5. Cobble Hill restaurant Bar Tabac will close down several blocks of Smith Street on Sunday for its second annual pétanque tournament. A full French brunch will be offered at Tabac, and the event will also feature a live band playing Dixieland jazz. Ricard is the official sponsor of the event, so expect an ample supply of the French aperitif.

6. Hiro at the Maritime Hotel hosts a Friday evening performance, "Le One Night Stand," with Nous Non Plus, Rene Risque, and DJ Melody Nelson. Tickets are $10 before 11 p.m. to hear the bands; and no cover after 11 p.m.

 
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