Bastille Day. In Piermont, NY. I wanted to share this with you sooner but it happened while we were having technical difficulties. C’est la vie! Nonetheless for lovers of history, food, summer or France, here’s a glimpse at this coolest of days.
A friend of mine, who would kill me if I wrote her name, told me about this recent Piermont tradition. When I told the hubby that this short trip might include an opportunity to enjoy a beautiful sunny day with the twins, and possibly teach them about history while enjoying good food – well how could we resist? July 14 (le quatorze de juillet) fell on a Saturday this year which made it just perfect for the organizers of the third annual Bastille Day celebration in Piermont, and for us. It was pleasantly crowded, but not overly so, and the weather was terrific. The town did a great job organizing parking and shuttles in the event of overflow capacity, but we were fortunate enough to park right in town.
What was there to see or do? There was as much or as little as one might wish. It was part craft fair, part food festival and mostly a celebration of a momentous (and bloody) day. The finest restaurants in town and beyond offered delicious fair, and one of the most notable chefs in the country was on hand slicing and serving saucisson and brie alongside his staff. It is not often one is handed a simple plate of sausage, cheese and cornichons by the likes of Peter Kelly himself. And if I haven’t said it before – and I know I have – peasant food is the best. It’s that simple and in its simplicity its secret lies.
And if walking down a main street sampling French food, playing pétanque (or perhaps it was boules – the Italians are not the only ones who play “bocce”) and sorting through trinkets is not your kids’ idea of fun, there is a large carnival full of rides and games to keep them busy. And while all this is happening, a group of citizens emulating the revolutionary rabble of the time march around the event alternately aiming, firing and occasionally singing “La Marseillaise“. And the big day ends with fireworks over the Hudson River. Does it get more French than that? Oui – it does. But, is it a great afternoon or evening for all? Bien sûr. So to that I say “Vive la Revolution!”