Break Out Champagne! Let’s Celebrate a Jailbreak!

arc de triomphe
When people wish a “Happy Holiday!” I sometimes wonder if they really know what they’re celebrating. Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We get a day off for Memorial Day! Do they really know the reason why it’s on the calendar? The history behind that day? What it really symbolizes, rather than just what Hallmark is trying to make us feel? How many people know that Cinco de Mayo (a huge celebration in these parts) is really a commemoration of the victory of a very small battle in the village of Puebla and not “Mexican Independence Day?” How many people know that Mardi Gras isn’t just one big debaucherous parade of beer and breasts? How many people know why we get the first Monday of September off as Labor Day? How many people know that I’m not really bitter, I’m just wondering?? Because really, I am all for any reason to take a break and celebrate ;)

french flag
vive le france!

Today is Bastille Day, and I have to admit, I didn’t have any knowledge about this day other than it had something to do with France, and I have some memory of it from 10th grade Literature and History classes. In short, Bastille Day is a national holiday in France that celebrates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, a symbol of the uprising of the modern French “nation,” which was held on the first anniversary of the 1789 storming of the Bastille. Because the Bastille, a prison, jailed people by arbitrary whim of the King, particularly political prisoners who simply disagreed with him, the Bastille symbolized the French absolutist monarchy. Though there were only seven prisoners who were “freed” when the French patriots seized it, the storming of the Bastille was more a symbolic act of rebellion against the monarchy and an important rallying point for the revolution ahead.

frounsh fries
in honor of france, “frounsh fries!”

So Bastille Day for France is like our Independence Day here in the States, and what do we do when we celebrate modern government in July? Well, duh. We eat! We drink! And in honor of France and Bastille Day, I will have an all-French dinner – French bread, French fries, and to drink…Peru! (and if you know what I’m talking about, then you’re a star!) I know about “french-fried” potatoes, but I’ve always wondered about the origin of French toast :)

But really, if there ever there was an evening to go and enjoy French food (the real kind), Bastille Day would be it, right? Unfortunately, LA just doesn’t come across as a “haute” bed of classic French cuisine (La La Land doesn’t come across as a hotbed for any cuisine except style-over-substance but that is a subject for another post). Or perhaps it’s just overwhelmed by the tremendous number of Asian-fusion restaurants here.

Nevertheless, there are a few French restaurants scattered around this sprawling city, a few that are formal and classic French, many more that are bistro/cafe fare with lots of California influences, and a few specialties like…crepes. Thanks again, to LA-ist’s Sassy Li’l Lindsay for inspiring me on this one, though I’ve added a decidedly Westside bias. (She’s also listed some Bastille Day-specific events around town). If it’s too late now to make a reservation, then just cozy up in front of la télévision, pop in le dvd du jour (hopefully you planned your Netflix queue well enough that Amélie arrived yesterday), and feast on pain et vin (and champagne if you’re sassy like that). Me? I have to go to my parents’ house so very appropriately, I’ll be eating Korean food – LOL! But I just may whip up a souffle to keep within the spirit. Vive la France! :)

Acadie French Crepes
213 Arizona Avenue (@ 2nd Street)

Santa Monica, CA 90405

8475 Melrose Place
Hollywood , CA

Bistro de l’hermitage
9727 Culver Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232

Cafe Bizou
in the Water Garden
2450 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Le Merigot Hotel & Spa
1740 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Chez Mimi
246 26th Street (@ San Vicente)
Santa Monica, CA 90402

8360 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA

Four Oaks
2181 North Beverly Glen Boulevard
Bel Air, CA 90077

French Market Cafe (breakfast and lunch only)
2321 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291

Gigi Brasserie
8555 Beverly Boulevard (@ La Cienega)
Los Angeles, CA 90048

1700 Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90401

903 North La Cienega Boulevard (@ Romaine Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90069

La Boheme
8400 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069

La Cachette
10506 Santa Monica Boulevard
Century City, CA 90025

La Dijonaise
8703 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

La Poubelle
5907 Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

La Vie en Rose
240 South State College Boulevard
Brea, CA 92821

Le Marmiton
1327 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403

1031 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Venice, CA 90291

1104 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA

Michel Richard Patisserie
310 South Robertson Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048

8009 Beverly Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90048

Monsieur Marcel
inside the Farmers Market
6333 West 3rd Street (at Fairfax)
Los Angeles, CA 90036

in The Grove shopping center
6301 West 3rd Street (@ Fairfax Avenue)
Los Angeles, CA 90036

8112 Beverly Boulevard (@ Crescent Heights)
Los Angeles, CA 90048

141 South Grand Avenue (@ 3rd Street)
Los Angeles, CA 90012

1386 Westwood Boulevard

Los Angeles, CA 90024

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