Atmosphere, atmosphere, est-ce que j’ai une gueule d’atmosphere?
Given our focus on the French salonnieres of the 17th and 18th centuries and their influence on everything from the arts and politics to the French Revolution, it’s no wonder that we love a great Bastille Day bash. While our friends en France take to the Champs-Élysées on July 14th to watch the military parade, Armée de l’Air show, and fireworks, we’ll be making heads roll stateside with our own style of La Fête Nationale. Care to join us? Here are five chic and easy ways to throw a fête-fabulous Bastille Day party.
Photo via Chez Bonne Femme
Kick things off with apéro.
L’heure de l’apéro—French happy hour—is a big deal en France, so begin the festivities with a traditional apéro to get your guests instantly in a French frame of mind. Serve Kirs and Monacos, a popular summertime beer drink in France. Set out bowls of traditional apéro snacks, like radishes sprinkled with sea salt, potato chips, nuts, and olives, along with a few vintage issues of Paris Match magazine to kick-start conversations. Toast the occasion by raising your glass and saying, “Santé!”
Photo via Le Jacquard Français
Set une table très authentique.
To set a table like the French do, start with a colorful cloth from Le Jacquard Francais or Couleur Nature, a company that creates table linens inspired by the flowers and landscapes of Southern France. Add classic French Pillivuyt dinnerware, Picardie glassware, which is standard in French cafes, and vintage French flatware purchased on 1stDibs, Chairish, or eBay. Add touches of whimsy by sprinkling the table with a few “found items,” like vintage French postcards, which can also be used as place cards.
Photo via Carolyne Roehm
Ajouter de jolies fleurs.
Lily of the Valley and freesia are abundant in France in the summertime and perfect for a casual outdoor gathering. Create a statement-making centerpiece for your table using one or both of these lovely white blooms. Next to the sink in the powder room, place a small pot of lavender and lavender-scented hand soap.
Read our final two Bastille Day tips in our recent interview in Flower magazine.
Voila! Vive la France, and bonne fête!
And here are a few related story topics that we think you’ll enjoy:
What is a salonniere?
The history of Dîner en Blanc, the world’s largest dinner party.
How to infuse lavender, the color of the season, into your summer party décor.
Bastille Day Party Tips
Welcome Photo and Quote Mashup
Welcome Photo: Brigitte Bardot by Brian Duffy for Elle France, May 1965
Welcome Quote: Hotel du Nord, 1938