French Cultural Center’s Bastille Day Celebration Returns July 12

One of the most eagerly anticipated of the summer in Boston, the French Cultural Center’s Bastille Day Celebration returns Friday, July 12, from 6 to 11 p.m. on Marlborough Street between Berkeley and Clarendon streets.

Around 2,000 guests are expected to turn out to enjoy the event that marks la Fête nationale and the historic friendship between la République Française and the United States, thanks to  Platinum Level Sponsors Montpellier Méditerranée Tourisme & Congrès and Ropes & Gray.

This year, the celebration will include four bars; food from La Voile Boston, La Voile Brookline, Mr. Crepe, Waffle Cabin and Wilson Farm; and face painting and a kid’s table offered between 6 and 8:30 p.m.

“It’s our signature event and one of largest Bastille events in the city, if not the largest,” said Jamie Haslett, the French Cultural Center’s director of marketing. “People certainly here in American might not know how large the French-speaking world is. This event tries to expose them to French culture and pulls together Francophiles from all over the world…and hopefully demonstrates just how big the Francophile world is.”

Unlike years past that have featured musical acts from abroad, this year will include performances by legendary New Orleans trumpeter Shamarr Allen and the self-described “Indie Gypsy/New Orleans band” Bon Bon Bivant.  “It’s sort of homegrown French-inspired music,” Haslett said.

Adrien Argentero, the French Cultural Center’s cultural programs manager, said this is the 44th consecutive year that the organization has sponsored the event, which until the advent of Pride celebrations in the neighborhood, was the only Block Party in the Back Bay.

“Some people still call it Back Bay block party…and it’s one of the few occasions in Boston where you can dance in street with glass of wine in your hand,” Argentero said. “It’s really an occasion to celebrate together the French values embraced by Americans – equality, fraternity and freedom.”

Haslett added, “Everybody is welcome to this great event that celebrates diversity and unity.”

Street Party tickets, with food and drinks available for purchase for $34 in advance and $40 at the door while Garden Party All-Access Passes, which includes an open bar and complimentary food, cost $150 each. (Table sponsorships are also available for $2,000.)

Visit to purchase tickets or for more information.

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