July 14th is known as Bastille Day in France, the day that commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the Storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on July 14, 1790. There are parties, parades, fireworks, and of course, feasts all around France to celebrate the day. Having lived in France (and teaching French as my day job) I set out to find the best spots to celebrate and because KC has been lovingly nicknamed the “Paris of the Plains” here are my recommendations to eat, drink, and be merry throughout the day like a Frenchman on La Bastille!
Breakfast at The French Market
Le Petit déjeuner (Breakfast) in France is typically the smallest meal of the day and usually does not involve eggs or bacon! A cup of coffee and some sort of bread or pastry is suffice for a Frenchman so it was hard to find an authentic one here in KC! The French Market in Prairie Village is a quaint little shop that you can easily grab a pastry, baguette, or croissant with a good coffee and be on your way for the day! The Nutella Croissant is amazing! The French Market is also doing a special Tuesday crêpe service on July 14 from 11 am to 5 pm to celebrate Bastille Day!
Other Notable French Breakfasts: Chez Elle Breakfast Crepes, The French Bee Bakery in Parkville or if you prefer a New Orleans “French” try Beignet in the River Market.
Café Des Amis for Lunch
Le déjeuner, lunch in French, is the best time of day in France. Kids and adults alike get a 2 hour lunch break! And they know how to revel in it. Cafe Des Amis is a place one could easily sit the afternoon away and chat with a friend. This small authentic restaurant owned by a couple from Champagne, France, is located on Main street in the heart of Parkville and the minute I walked in, I was transported to a bistro in France with it’s intimate tables, and quaint patio facing the street. The menu features classic French dishes and I recommend being adventurous and trying something new…escargot, anyone? Crepes and quiche are offered as light lunches and with over 60 wines to choose from, you won’t be disappointed celebrating Bastille on the patio.
L’Happy Hour at Westport Café and Bar
L’Happy Hour (or Le Happy hour) was quite obviously adopted from Americans. Originally, the expression le cinq à sept was used, and refers to what could be considered a very French version of Happy Hour: the two-hour period after work, from 5 to 7 pm, when (some) people meet up with their lovers before going home to their spouses. So, we will stick to L’happy hour.
Westport Cafe and Bar can be described as a “modern day Paris café .” With small intimate tables and a glass front facing the the busy streets of Westport, one could sit back, relax and have a drink. Touted as “the Best Happy Hour” in KC by many, Westport Café offers a variety of French classics and great prices on wine. They also have a reverse happy hour at 10 for those that can’t make it in before 6. This Frenchie’s recommendation- the Steak-Frites(a nice cut of steak with Bearnaise and hand cut fries) and a glass of Grenache Noir, Reserve De La Saurine. It’s the perfect size but don’t forget to save room for le diner!
Westport Café and Bar is honoring its French influence by celebrating Bastille Day for five days straight starting Friday, July 10 and ending with one big Bastille Day party on Tuesday, July 14.
Another option for a great French-inspired Happy Hour: Aixois Bistro‘s Croque Monsieur and white aperitif all for under $10 or Le Fou Frog (a less expensive way to enjoy Le Fou Frog- see le dîner !)
Le Dîner at Le Fou Frog
Le Fou Frog, “The Crazy Frog,” knows how to throw a party. Their Bastille celebration, nicknamed by them “Boozestille Daze” starts a few days before the 14th and features specials, French music and a crazy sort of cabaret! The food is the highlight here and the menu is an extensive array of French classics. The menu changes, but the fact remains the same: Best French Food in the City! Be sure to make a reservation- the restaurant fills up fast for this special event!
If you have saved room for dessert, why not top the day off with a glass of Joël Falmet Champagne, a classic and a crème brûlée as dessert! Ça Va in Westport is the perfect place to end the evening!
Can’t go out to celebrate: The French Market in Prairie Village offers the best French food on the go! This is not your typical “le fast-food” this is genuine French classics! One of my favorites: Le Panier du Pique-Nique (Picnic Baskets) to take to a park and enjoy with a bottle of wine! (The French Market is the spin-off market of another notable French restaurant in Prairie Village Cafe Provence)
Of course, there are many other restaurants, cafes and bistros that I have found, but haven’t tried. See a list here for other French inspired spots around the Heartland.
Wherever you decide to celebrate, it is always a good excuse to raise a nice glass of wine to the French!
Bon Fête et Bon Appetit!