Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet, Belmont

Photo: The painting is “Bastille Day, Boulevard Rochechouart, Paris” by the Bostonian Childe Hassam.

For all Belmontians who call France their (ancestral) home: Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet! Today, Tuesday, July 14, is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. But the French themselves don’t call today “la fête Bastille.”

Today is simply known as “la fête du 14-juillet” – the July 14th holiday – or more officially, “la fête nationale” – the National Holiday. In 1880, the French decided to celebrate a national holiday; July 14th eventually won out because it was the day of la Fête de la Fédération, a joyous celebration in 1790 that honored the new French Republic and commemorated the one year anniversary of the storming of the Bastille.

So the day is a holiday mostly concerning national pride and the values “liberté, fraternité, and égalité,” with a extravagant military parade in Paris, picnics, parties and fireworks. As for Belmont – yes, the town’s name is Old French for “beautiful mountain” – you can find some decent macaroons at LA Burdick Chocolate in Harvard Square and you can obtain big, fluffy croissants at Quebrada Baking Company in Belmont Center. 

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  1. Adriana Poole says

    Or you can find significantly better macarons at Praliné our very own Belmontian local store owned by a lovely French native. Her macarons are seriously better than La Bourdick in Harvard Sq. which are a few classes below hers. Plus Praliné has a lot of other specialties that are absolutely outstanding.

    I just returned from Paris and I can tell you that the canelles I had there didn’t even compare to the masterpieces found at Praliné. In all honesty, her macarons are significantly better than those of the famous Parisian macarons place called Ladurée. Tried those yesterday as well in Paris and there is no doubt that our very own French-American Belmontian beats the famous place by quite a bit -texture, flavor, look.

    So why not have much better French specialties and support a local business at the same time?

    But yes, Happy Bastille Day!. I was in France on the 4th, the French do celebrate our Independence Day in great style so we might as well return the favor :).

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