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Party with the French

  • Bahamians are always eager to celebrate Bastille Day with the French.

  • Bahamians are always eager to celebrate Bastille Day with the French.

  • Bahamians are always eager to celebrate Bastille Day with the French.

Guardian Lifestyles Editor

Published: Jul 12, 2013

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For the French around the world, Bastille Day is the celebration of summer. In France, many large-scale public events are held — from a military parade in Paris to communal meals, dances, parties and fireworks. And the members of the French community in The Bahamas certainly won’t be left out of the festivities.

For the past 10 years, Alliance Française des Bahamas has been celebrating Bastille Day celebrations, and this year they will be doing so again with an evening of fine dining on Saturday, July 13 at the Balmoral Club, Sanford Drive, under the theme “An Evening in Paris”.

“While we won’t have all the marching bands, and can’t afford the fireworks, people will enjoy the evening because of the ambiance,” said Alliance Française des Bahamas Director Italia Watkins-Jan. “It’s not too stuffy, and they will get to meet a wide variety of people. They will feel like they’re in France.”

The Bastille is a medieval fortress and prison in Paris. Many people associated it with the harsh rule of the Bourbon monarchy in the late 1700s. On July 14, 1789, troops stormed the Bastille. It was a pivotal event at the beginning of the French Revolution. Fete de la Federation was held on July 14, 1790. This was a way to celebrate the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in France. Bastille Day became a public holiday for the first time on July 14, 1880. The military parade in Paris has been held every year since 1880, except during World War II. And Bastille Day celebrations are held in French communities around the world today.

French Counsel Dominique Lefevere will start off the Bahamian celebration with his Bastille Day speech, after which Watkins-Jan says the event will be all about fun, including modern and not so modern French music being played throughout the evening.

“This is our [Alliance Française des Bahamas] fundraiser of the year, and this is our way of encouraging people to come out and support French culture and language because we’re living in a global community and this is a way of meeting people from other cultures and getting exposed to the different cultures and communities living in The Bahamas, and to see that we all have something in common. People all love to have a good time, no matter where they come from, and so we do a lot of cross cultural things to show that we have different interests, but we also have common interests, and that at the end of the day we are all part of the same community,” said Watkins-Jan.

This year Alliance Française des Bahamas partnered with Barton & Guestier wines and Grand Marnier to host the event and promote French language and culture in The Bahamas.

Patrons participating in the evening of fine wining and dining will get to partake in a typical three-course French menu, according to Watkins-Jan and dine on a choice of Coquille St. Jacques or Balmoral quinoa salad to start; Beef Wellington, sole Veronique or stuffed chicken breast with vegetables for their entrée and a choice of tamarind sorbet and ginger crème brulee for dessert. Each course will be accompanied by the appropriate wine pairing.

Adding to the excitement of the evening will be a silent auction to raise funds for the Alliance’s cultural programs and events, and the door prizes that will be up for grabs.

Tickets for the Bastille Day celebrations are $80 members and $100 non-members and can be purchased at Alliance Francaise des Bahamas in Ocean’s Club, Cable Beach. Cocktails start at 6:30 p.m., dinner is at 7:30 p.m.


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