This post has been updated with additional events.

Bastille Day has a long history of being celebrated in Washington bars and restaurants, and the diverse slate of events includes races, happy hour with free beer and late-night dancing. You don't have to be French to join in: You just have to love a good party.

Tuesday, July 14

Bistrot du Coin is the epicenter of Bastille Day parties in Washington. After two dinner seatings at 7 and 9 p.m., the staff begins clearing tables and chairs to create a dance floor. DJ Ash spins all night, and entertainment includes musicians, stilt walkers and other surprises. Admission is free, but if you show up late, you might have to wait in line. The easiest way to guarantee entry is a dinner reservation.
1738 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202- 234-6969. Free.

Art Soiree takes over the ballroom of the French-owned Sofitel hotel downtown, and it's hard to say "non" to an event that starts with complimentary macarons and Veuve Cliquot from 7 to 8 p.m. The evening includes the Bitter Dose Combo playing jazz fueled by bass and accordion, an art installation by Nena Depaz, dancing and Marie Antoinette serving cake to the masses. Festive or cocktail attire is requested.
7 to 11 p.m. Sofitel Washington, 806 15th St. NW. $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

L'Enfant may have moved the block party to Wunder Garten, but celebrations will continue in Adams Morgan on Bastille Day proper. From 6 p.m. to midnight, specials include $5 red, white or sparkling wine; $5 Stella Artois; and $5 mixed drinks. A DJ and French maids provide the entertainment.
2000 18th St. NW. 202-319-1800. Free.

H Street NE's cozy Le Grenier marks the holiday with a special Bastille Day happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. Deals include free Kronenbourg beer, free baguettes and $3 glasses of pastis, plus live music from Kevin McWha Steele, who ranges from French chansons to glam rock.
502 H St. NE. 202-544-4999. Free.

For the fifth consecutive year, Paul in Penn Quarter is holding a baguette relay race, which involves teams race-walking around the circumference of the U.S. Navy Memorial while carrying baguettes, which they pass off to team members. The kids division begins at 11 a.m.; adults race at 11:30 a.m. Winners receive a free lunch at Paul. Arrive early to sign up, as spots are limited.
11 a.m. to noon. 801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-524-4500. Free.


Burleith's Bistro Lepic offers a three-course menu every night through July 14 for $39. (The full menu is available online.) The Hot Club of D.C. performs Django Reinhardt-style jazz on Bastille Day, beginning at 7 p.m., and Rose Morales is featured on Monday night.
1736 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-333-0111.

Ventnor Sports Cafe's monthly Say Know to Trivia quiz night falls on Bastille Day, which guarantees "an epic night of questions about things like Gerard Depardieu and the origins of French Onion Soups." There's no charge to participate, and the first round begins at 8 p.m.
2411 18th St. NW. 202-234-3070.

Original post:

Bastille Day, the celebration of France's independence, has a long history of being celebrated in Washington bars and restaurants. Though the holiday falls on July 14, parties begin this weekend, with events for all ages.

Friday, July 10

If you're new at this whole Francophile thing, the Alliance Francaise hosts an evening open house at its Kalorama headquarters, offering free French classes, language placement tests, French wine, French cheese and a chance to check out the organization's well-stocked French library.
5 to 8 p.m. Alliance Francaise, 2142 Wyoming Ave. NW. 202-234-7911. Free.

Saturday, July 11

After 10 years of Bastille Day block parties and festivities in Adams Morgan, the owners of L'Enfant Cafe are moving their celebration from Vernon Street NW to Wunder Garten, the German-inspired pop-up beer garden that they opened in an empty lot next to the NoMa Metro Station in May. (Short review: It's as basic as Dacha was in its early days, but with more room for lawn games.) Despite the change in venue, most of the entertainment will be the same: A French maid race, in which costumed runners attempt to fill a champagne glass with spoonfuls of water; burlesque and can-can dancers; DJs and a New Orleans-style brass band. Admission is $7 and tickets must be purchased in advance from or (Note that if you want to participate in the French maid race, you must purchase a costume in advance from L'Enfant.)
3 to 10 p.m. Wunder Garten, 150 M St. NE. www.wundergartendc. $7.

Marjorie Merriweather Post's love of French decorative arts and design is on display at the Hillwood Museum's annual day-long French Festival. Take a tour of the gardens; play lawn games; watch the New York Baroque Dance Company's performance inspired by Lafayette's visit to America; explore the museum's collection of French art; and meet strolling mimes and members of the "French court."
9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Ave. NW. 202-686-5807. $18, $15 seniors, $10 college students, $5 ages 6 to 18, free for children 5 and younger.

Sunday, July 12

The Alliance Francaise and the Francophone bookstore Bonjour Mama team up for an afternoon of family events at the Kensington shop, including storytime (known as heure du conte), group games and arts and crafts. It's free, but an RSVP is required.
1 to 3 p.m. Bonjour Mama, 3786 Howard Ave., Kensington. 240-383-9163. Free.