In case you didn’t know, the day before yesterday was la fête de la Bastille! Bastille Day is the French Independence day, which falls on le quatorze de julliet every year, marking the day during the French Revolution when the Bastille was stormed in 1789.
When I went to Paris last summer I actually stayed in the area near where the Bastille used to stand- it’s strange knowing I walked in places where history was made!
Besides the history, for Francophile Seattlites like me, Bastille Day is really just an excuse to do something that makes us feel a little more français.
Seattle has a few good places to satisfy your craving for all things French…
I’m sure I’ve mentoioned La Parisienne before. Smack in the middle of Belltown, it’s surrounded by other coffee shops and eateries in a seriously gorgeous little neighborhood. There are tables outside next to leafy green trees, and the staff are kind and gregarious. Their pastries and sandwiches are délicieux as well.
Le Pichet is my favorite place in Seattle for a luxurious evening. They have absolutely amazing food, always serve you une assiette à pain et au beurre before you eat, and supply a few caramels with the check.
Le Panier is, admittedly, where all the tourists go, but the have the best tasting and best-priced pastries, macaroons and baguettes in town!
The Belle Epicurean on 4th ave downtown is another favorite because of it’s classic French feel, plus you can sit outside and people-watch on account of all the hotels and business offices nearby.
Out of all these wonderful options, it was to Cafe Campagne, a French restaurant tucked into Pike Place, that I headed this Bastille Day, mainly because it would be easiest to get to after work. I was also intrigued by their promise of live music and burlesque…
It was a beautiful, sunny day for a celebration.
The city was gifted with stunning blue swathes of sky, warm but not too-warm weather, and the mellowest of afternoon breezes.
La fête took place beginning inside the cafe and spilling out and over the patio, filling the alleyway with throngs of people. It did feel very French with all of us cramped into this little cobblestoned space.
As promised, we were treated to live music, a small group of older gentlemen playing string instruments. They played the type of music you’d expect to hear in a French film, and one song that I assume from the reaction of the crowd was the French national anthem.
I loved that everyone was dressed up- some people with an over the top costume with stripes and berets, some just influenced by the simplicity and classic timelessness of French style. Everyone, some ladies I waited in the bathroom line with pointed out, had beautiful shoes (except yours truly, who was wearing the same 15$ sandals I’d survived most of the summer in… parts of the soles are beginning to peel off, but I wore them in Paris!).
There was also, of course, French food. I headed inside the cafe and ordered some pain au fromage et confiture de tomate, vin rouge, et des macarons chocolat!
As with any good French restaurant, the inside was low ceiling-ed and had seating around the edges of the room, encouraging interaction between patrons. Dusty bottles of red wine lined the shelves and the menu was written in French.
I’m addicted to chocolate macarons!
After sitting inside beside a guy shucking oysters and enjoying our little meal, I returned to alley in time to catch an accordionist before the burlesque show.
He looked the part, with that cigarette oh-so-casually dangling from his lips. After he had been paying a while, Shanghai Pearl, Seattle burlesque artist, came out and performed a cheeky little bit to some classic French songs.
Isn’t that a pretty French way to end an evening?