La Fête Nationale, as it is called in France, is typically celebrated on the 14th of July each year. But making a belated grand entrance feels very Catherine Deneuve, no?
Boerum Hill's own will host its 10th Annual Bastille Day extravaganza on Sunday, July 15, with festivities starting at 11 a.m. and running until 10 p.m. French fare, pastis drinks and live music will infuse Smith Street between Bergen and Pacific streets with a certain joie de vivre, while the largest Pétanque tournament in North America will pit 80 teams of three against one another in a test of tossing skill. Magnifique!
"We put tickets for Pétanque teams on sale at the end of June and they sold out in an instant," said Bar Tabac co-owner Christophe Haxaire. "People come from all over the world to play. But that day if one or two teams don't show up, we will resell those tickets." The cost is $45 for a team of three.
With having moved to Carroll Gardens and surrounding neighborhoods in the past decade, for many this celebration will be a taste of home.
"It's supposed to be a fun day in the summer, very different from a street fair. There is a spirit!" said Haxaire. "We will have a nice band playing funky reggae and French music. A few nearby businesses will also have food stands on the side of the street, selling French dishes."
And of course there are the refreshing aperitifs. "My favorite is Ricard Pastis," said Haxaire, trumpeting a classic French anise-flavored liqueur. [In fact, Ricard is one of the sponsors of the event.] "Then, after that I will have a beer, which we will be serving outside, or a nice rosé."
For newcomers who aren't accustomed to seeing sand in South Brooklyn—or so many glasses of Lillet in one place—what does one wear?
"French colors? It is Bastille Day after all," Haxaire responded, laughing, then added, "Lillet and Ricard will be handing out hats to crowd-goers, as well as umbrellas. There will be t-shirts. But if you want to bring a French flag, I'm sure you can find one somewhere."
Then, once outfitted with the proper garb and glass in hand, all one must do is stand back and enjoy the tournament.
Que le meilleur gagne! (May the best team win.)