It's Independence Day in France, and in New Orleans, the most French of U.S. cities, we celebrate along with them! Bastille Day commemorates the day in 1789 that more than 8,000 French men and women stormed a prison fortress in Paris, the Bastille, and demanded the release of the political prisoners held inside. This event sparked the French Revolution which gave rise to Napoleon Bonaparte and, in 1803, the sale of New Orleans to the United States.

As with any holiday, Bastille Day is a great excuse to throw a party and laissez les bons temps roulez, and this year is no exception! Events kicked off early last Sunday with a French mass held at St Louis Cathedral but the real party starts tomorrow with Alliance Francaise's gala dinner. Contact or call 504-568-0770 for details and reservations. If you're not in the mood for a big dinner party, or you want a bit more spectacle, all you need to do is wander through the French Quarter on Saturday, July 14, where free public events will be taking place all day long, culminating in a block party from 4:00pm to 9:00pm to be held in the 3100 block of Ponce de Leon (just off Esplanade). Bonne fête!

More details and a full list of Bastille Day events in New Orleans can be found here.