Roll out the Lillet! And the petanque balls! A Francophilic fete filled with joie de vivre.
Smith Street's block party on Sunday was a hot and sweaty, Lillet- and beer-soaked fête celebrating France's independence with the great American tradition of day drinking. New York Francophiles swarmed the blocks surrounding Bar Tabac for a day of pétanque tournaments, live music and French street foods: crepes, madeleines, merguez sandwiches and frites, washed down with Lillet sangria.
Little pieces of France could be spotted up and down Smith Street, with many attendees wearing classic French-style stripes, fedora hats, and red-white-and-blue French flag T-shirts. Loads of sand were dumped onto the middle of the street to make pétanque, while a small guillotine stood on the corner of Smith and Dean streets, presumably to be used on the game's losers—or, at least to provide festival-goers with a wickedly morbid photo op.
Despite all the Francophilia floating about, the Bastille Day celebration still had a distinctly American flavor. Reveler Danny Bloomfield complained that the celebration seems to become less authentic every year. He has a point, considering the hip-hop music that blared, and the mini skateboard park set up at Pacific and Smith Streets. Not to mention the less-than-French burgers sold at some food stands. But, hey, who can complain when a $2.25 Metrocard will add a little bit of je ne sais quoi to the weekend. Vive la France en Brooklyn! —Lauren Huefner