There’s a week coming up in July this summer with both a French for Francophiles and a French Country Cooking course running (See Dates & Prices). It is an un-tutored week for Artists so the painters get the run of the studio and the chance to join in the fun too. It also happens to include Bastille Day so it’s going to be a week even fuller of the flavours and sounds of France than usual. We shall, naturally, be joining in the Bastille Day Celebrations.

Bastille Day – 14th July 1789

Everybody knows 14th July in ‘La Belle France’ is a jour de fête. It’s a special public holiday. France’s Bastille Day in France commemorates the beginnings of the modern nation of France, and does so with celebrations enjoyed by young and old alike. There are parades and speeches, open-air dances and fireworks everywhere. As you might expect, because this is France, ‘Quatorze Juillet’ is also a day for families and friends to get together and do what they do best which is talking, eating and laughing. 🙂

The history goes back to July 14 1789 when the people of Paris stormed the notorious fortified garrison-prison called the Bastille. Turbulent times these, they shook the whole of Europe and put the wind up the aristocracy of a continent. The story goes that the day after the fall of the Bastille, Louis XV1 woke up to the sounds of fighting in the streets outside his palace. You can imagine the scene can’t you?

Non Sire, c’est une révolution

(July 15th 1789. It’s morning in the King’s Chambers at the Palace. We see a gilded four-poster, rich hangings, tapestries, golden mirrors, sunlight streaming through a long window onto shiny parquet and a priceless Persian rug. Louis XVI is waking up; Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld is standing to one side of the window looking out. Sounds of rioting outside.)

Louis XV1 : Hey Francis – what’s all that noise?
Duc de la Rochefoucauld: It’s the people Lou. It’s all kicking off out there.
Louis XV1 : Is it a revolt Francis?
Duc de la Rochefoucauld: No Sire, it’s a revolution.
Louis XV1 : (groans) ….

True enough – Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld did actually say “Non Sire, c’est une révolution”, it’s one of the most famous French phrases ever and marks a turning point in history. His Family still owns the mighty Chateau down in town and La Rochefoucauld is where we go for bread every morning. It’s also where we all join in the July the 14th festivities.

What our guests can expect

When Bastille Day comes around at L’Age Baston we celebrate with a Revolutionary lunch or a Republican Dinner. Competition to play Madame Lafarge can be quite intense; tricolours are to the fore and ‘allons enfants’ is often heard (The Marseillaise is a tough old song though and the words are surprisingly bloody).

  • Cooking students get the chance to make (amongst other things) clafoutis, croissants, macaroons, madeleines and fresh sausages, and Alex is fond of putting Bouillabaise on the menu.
  • French Students can explore (amongst other things) French holidays and fêtes and maybe how the French really feel about their revolution. We will also have a trip to Cognac that week for all. Plus we have all the Other Things to do.

In the evening we take a trip down-town to the dancing and the beer tent at the stadium. Practically the entire township arrives for one of the best firework displays around. The mayor always gives a little speech and then the fireworks let rip. Going “oooo” and “aaah” to the display in the Belle-Air Stadium at La Rochefoucauld on Bastille Day is great fun.

You really should try it, just don’t forget to applaud at the end though! So why not come and join us for a very fun week of all things French?

Photo “Feu d’artifice du 14 juillet 2014 – Tour Eiffel (20)” by Yann Caradec from Paris, France – feu d’artifice du 14 juillet 2014 sur le site de la Tour Eiffel à Paris – Fireworks on Eiffel Tower #14juillet #Bastilleday. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Commons.