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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 07/14/2011

Bastille Day celebrations in the Washington area


Participants prepare for the annual French Maid Race at L'Enfant Cafe's annual Bastille Day street festival (Courtesy of L'Enfant - Courtesy of L'Enfant)
Bonjour! It’s Bastille Day, the holiday that commemorates the storming of a French prison in 1789, and now celebrated with a rush toward baguettes, cheeses and wine cellars.

Bastille Day is officially today, but many festivities are on Saturday, yielding twice the opportunities to experience a bit of France in Washington. Elegant soirees, a concert by a French virtuoso and a baguette race are but a few offerings — and many more are available at the Going Out Guide:

Baguette Race

Alors! You missed the passing-of-the-baguettes at the new Paul Bakery and Cafe in Penn Quarter, a relay race around the U.S. Navy Memorial. Winner got a $25 gift card, but you can still nibble at the delicacies there.

Thursday at 11:30 a.m. Paul Bakery and Cafe, 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-524-4500. www.paul-usa.com . Free.

Stephane Wrembel

French guitarist Stephane Wrembel — whose exuberant “Bistro Fada” is the recurring theme song in “Midnight in Paris” — brings his quartet to the Atlas Performing Arts Center for a Bastille Day concert. A complimentary French wine tasting begins at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday at 8 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. 202-399-7993. www.atlasarts.org. $40.

Cheese tasting

In honor of the annual French bike race, Whole Foods on P Street NW in the District continues its July “Tour de Fromage” with a special Bastille Day tasting of French cheese. Enjoy the distinct flavors of the soft, creamy Florette goat cheese; the rare, pungent Reblochon; and the sweet Swiss Le Marechal. Wine or champagne is included with the tasting.

Thursday at 5 p.m. Whole Foods, Specialty Department, 1440 P St. NW. 202-332-4300. www.wholefoodsmarket.com. Free.

La Maison Francaise

For those looking to do it up as close to France as possible this year, head to La Maison Francaise, where chefs from several area restaurants, including Michel Richard’s Citronelle, Cafe du Parc, Bistrot Lepic and Wine Bar, and Et Voila!, contribute dishes to an expansive buffet. Imbibe with French wine and spirits at an open bar while musicians serenade guests. You can even enter to win a round-trip jaunt for two to Paris.

Saturday at 7 p.m. La Maison Francaise, 4101 Reservoir Rd. NW. 202-944-6400. www.la-maison-francaise.org. $100.

French Festival

Alliance Francaise and Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens team up for a weekend full of French delights. Start out at Hillwood for a family-friendly festival and appearances by the New York Baroque Dance Company and Opera Lafayette. Then, on Saturday at 7 p.m., head over to an after-party at Alliance Francaise for crepes, cheese, champagne, live music and more.

Festival: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. 202-686-5807. www.francedc.org. $18 for festival; $49 for Alliance Francaise after-party; $59 for both.

By and  |  12:00 PM ET, 07/14/2011

 
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