From garden parties to croissant-heavy brunches (yummm), toss class-consciousness aside for the weekend before Bastille Day (July 14) and show the petite ones how to party like a Parisienne. Check out D.C.’s most fun fetes that will suit the needs of all of the little francophiles in your brood.
Wig out and (go for) Baroque boogie
At Hillwood’s French Festival, you and your crew can frolic with costumed nobility in white wigs, get down with the dancers to live baroque music like they did back in the day and stroll the estate gardens. Before you break it down like it’s 1789, grab coquette fans and complete your visages with fake Cindy Crawford beauty patches (aka beauty marks or mouches). Do check out the tucked away formal gardens and fountain. It may be crazy but how many chances do you get to promenade with the kids at D.C.’s own mini-version of Versailles? Mime Warning: If your bambinos get squirmy around mime performances, try to avoid Pierrot and Pierrette who will be wandering about. Weather Bonus: This party rocks rain or shine because they have room in the adjacent mansion.
Let them eat cake
Courtly manners are tested by hunger. Before they revolt let them eat at Hillwood Café, which will have grab and go service, or enjoy your own picnic spread. Pro tip: Pick up your picnic map and loaner picnic blanket at the Visitor Center. Foodie tip: Hit the Montgomery Farm Women’s Market (Bethesda, Md) on Saturday morning before heading to Hillwood to nab melts-like-butter mini-chocolate croissants at the Saint Michel Bakery tucked inside the market. You’ll be glad you got extras; they’re closed Sunday.
When: July 12, 10 am-5 pm
Cost: Adults/$18; Kids 6-18/$5; Kids under 6/Free
Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave., NW (Van Ness)
Brunch with the Queen of France (sorta)
After fete-ing it up with nobility, get your joie de vivre at brunch Sunday (July 13) morning. Try Paul’s Bakery (qui, c’est la bakery chain from France). They have locations in Penn Quarter, Georgetown, and Tyson’s Corner, Va. Pro Tip: The Penn Quarter location is by the Naval Memorial and has lots of outdoor seating. If you go to Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown, you’ll be sitting pretty when you snag one of the outside tables tucked sweetly on the side of their building. If you want to turn your kids on to Macarons (think moon pies with a French twist) check out Olivia Macaron in Georgetown, Praline Bakery & Restaurant in Bethesda, Md, or The Happy Tart in Alexandria, Va. After brunch, send out the search party to find Marie Antoinette. Hint: you’ll find her at the National Gallery of Art’s West Building on the Ground Floor in Gallery 11.
National Gallery of Art
6th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Does your family celebrate Bastille Day? Tell us how in the comments section below.