How to Celebrate Bastille Day in Style

Written by
Vintage Cellars
June 28, 2018
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Bastille Day is a wonderful reason to invite family and friends over to enjoy French wine. Let’s delve into the history of the day and explore the ways you can acknowledge it.

What is Bastille Day?

Bastille Day marks an important event in France’s political and social history. On the evening of 14th of July 1789, an angry Parisian crowd stormed the Bastille prison as a protest against rising taxes, rising food prices and the vast economic inequality between the classes.

The Bastille held many political prisoners sent away on royal indictments, sometimes for expressing anti-monarchist sentiments, and thus was seen as a symbol of the monarchy’s oppression of the lower classes.

The Bastille storming marked a turning point in the French Revolution and subsequently, a new era. By October, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were ousted from Versailles by thousands of protestors and in 1792France was established as a republic.

Bastille Day has been recognised in France since 1880, usually with a military parade that celebrates the republic’s values of liberty, equality and fraternity. The only time the celebrations haven’t happened in France was during the German occupation of France in the 1940s, instead taking place in London under the command of General – and future Prime Minister of France – Charles de Gaulle.

Now, Bastille Day is an opportunity to celebrate France’s rich cultural history – including its thriving wine industry.

How can you celebrate?

Making a French feast in your own home can seem like a daunting exercise, but French food need not be convoluted. You can keep it simple with a buttery baguette and baked brie, or serve seafood dishes such as lobster in cognac and tomato sauce or bouillabaisse. Delight your guests with magnifiqué desserts such as crème brûlée, eclairs or sweet crepes.

In terms of a French wine selection, we’re really spoiled for choice. France is home to some of the most famous wine regions in the world, including Champagne, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Côtes du Rhone. To celebrate the occasion, we’d recommend Royal Montcourt Grande Cuvee Brut NV from Champagne, Chateau Montlabert Saint Emilion from Bordeaux, Henri Bourgogne Rouge from Burgundy or Bonpas Cotes du Rhone Villages Plan de Dieu from Côtes du Rhone.

France is also well known for inventing some of the world’s most famous cocktails. This includes the Mimosa (invented in 1925 at the Ritz Paris), the Sidecar (another invention of the roaring ‘20s) and the gin, brandy and champagne concoction of the French 75. A cocktail station with appetisers will always be popular with guests.

Whether you’re matching your Bastille Day event with a cocktail, a glass of wine or a champagne flute, make sure to visit Vintage Cellars for a recommendation on celebrating la Republique.