Bastille Day in London

Get in the French spirit with these Bastille-honouring events

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Bastille Day celebrates a key date in the French Revolution and, today, July 14th is the French National Day. Get in the spirit with a Bastille-honouring event in London.

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Bastille Festival, Bankside

The heart of London’s Bastille Day celebrations will be on Bankside this Sunday, where the city’s largest free Bastille Day festival takes place in and around Borough Market. Food and drink will, quite rightly, play a large role in the festivities and French traders will be selling delicacies from across the channel, to be accompanied by a selection of vin Français. During the day, entertainment will be provided by wandering artists, musicians and performers, a traditional 14th July Waiters’ Race and a market selling vintage items and books. Gastronomic screenings and workshops will also take place. In the evening, the tempo will up with a traditional open-air party, live music, DJs and theatricals.

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July 14th 12pm-10pm; FREE, Borough Market and Environs, Bankside, SE1 1TL
Enq: 0207 928 3998; bastillefestival.co.uk
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Awaken by Call My Agency, DAB club

A club night with a French, girl-centric twist, in honour of Bastille Day. The all-female DJ line-up flying in from France includes Paris-based Lisa Moon who has explored electro genres in clubs across Europe, Kritzkom, also from Paris, who has released under a number of French labels and Milka, who mixes 80s vinyl, 45s and 33s. The night will include a surprise interactive art project, which promoters are keeping under wraps, saying only that everyone will become an actor for the night and that “human revolution” is the theme. Visuals will be provided by VJ Mouseonthetelly, who has created a Bastille-meets-pin-up-girls display.

July 13th 10pm-3am; Tickets £10 in advance, £15 on door, DAB, 14 Long Lane City of London EC1A
Enq: 0 7796 9777; residentadvisor.net
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Bastille Day at the Midnight Apothecary, Brunel Museum

The gorgeous Midnight Apothecary pop-up bar, on the roof of the Brunel Museum, is the flower-filled creation of ‘cocktail gardener’ Lottie Muir who tends the gardens by day and, by night, blends alcoholic delights using home-grown and foraged plants (think honey and basil dacquiris, whisky mint juleps, blackberry martinis, maple martinis and gin and lavender fizz). The Midnight Apothecary is celebrating Bastille Day with bespoke French cocktail creations which will exist for one weekend only. Sit in the roof garden, overlooking the Thames, amid fairy lights and flares as you toast marshmallows over a fire-pit.

July 13th 5.30pm-11pm and July 14th 12.30pm-5pm, Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe, SE16 4LF
Enq: 020 7231 3840; brunel-museum.org.uk
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French films at Institut Francais

Alongside the Wallace Collection exhibition, The Discovery of Paris, Watercolours by British Artists, Ciné Lumière is screening a series of films revealing new sides to the City of Lights. As part of this season, there’s a Bastille Day 2pm matinee screening of Hôtel du Nord, a 1938 classic set in a seedy district of Paris, telling the story of two pairs of lovers. The film will have an introduction and will be followed by the Cine Salon, a casual discussion with film writer Nick Walker. If you miss this, there are later screenings of Les Invisibles at 6.15pm and romantic comedy Paris-Manhattan at 8.40pm.

Screenings 2pm, 6.15pm, 8.40pm, tickets £8, Cine Lumiere, Institut Francais Cultural Centre, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7 2DT
Enq: 020 7871 3515; institut-francais.org.uk
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Absinthe and French wine Masterclass, Vinopolis

Begin your Bastille experience on Friday with a class in Absinthe, the bohemian French spirit so beloved by Parisian artists and writers of the 19th and early 20th century it was duly labelled a dangerous psychoactive drug and banned. After being proved no more harmful than regular tipples, Absinthe has seen a revival and, at this Vinopolis masterclass, George Rowley – a pioneer of modern-day Absinthe drinking – will guide you through the history and tasting of France’s Green Fairy. On Bastille Day itself, you can polish up your knowledge of French wine with a class that promises to leave you knowing the difference between a Bordeaux and a Côtes du Rhône.

Absinthe Masterclass July 12th 7pm, £45; French wine Masterclass July 14th, 1pm, £40, Vinopolis, 1 Bank End, SE1 9BU
Enq: 020 7940 8300, vinopolis.co.uk

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