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Storming Bastille Day in Sonoma

Bastille Day is the French holiday commemorating the “storming of the Bastille” on July 14, 1789.

According to history website, History.com, at dawn on July 14, a “great crowd armed with muskets, swords, and various makeshift weapons began to gather around (the Paris prison known as) the Bastille.” And then things got interesting.

As more and more Parisians were converging on the Bastille, its governor, Bernard-René Jordan de Launay, raised a white flag of surrender over the fortress. Launay and his men were taken into custody, the Bastille’s gunpowder and cannons were seized, and the seven prisoners were freed. Upon arriving at the Hotel de Ville, where Launay was to be arrested and tried by a revolutionary council, he was instead pulled away by a mob and murdered.

“The capture of the Bastille symbolized the end of the ancien regime of Louis XVI and provided the French revolutionary cause with an irresistible momentum,” continues history.com. “In 1792, the monarchy was abolished and Louis and his wife Marie-Antoinette were sent to the guillotine for treason in 1793.”

So with Sonoma being a town that celebrates holidays of some of our favorite places, those of us who are Francophiles find a way to celebrate Bastille Day, or La Fête de la Revolution. Here are some local opportunities:

Frenchie: Sarah Pinkin – former chef at Murphy’s Irish Pub who allowed Sonoma School Gardens to hold a farmers market in the pub’s snug and bought lots of the veggies for the restaurant – and Elizabeth Payne, former chef at the Sonoma’s Williams-Sonoma, gave up both of those positions to spend more time with their little kids. The duo are set to hit the cheffing road again with a cute little Citroën named Frenchie to cart around their Frenchy lite bites and sandwiches. Baguette Sandwiches will include salami, butter and a cornichon; goat cheese, fig olive spread and arugula; and a Moroccan chicken salad on brioche. ($10 to $15) Their warm sandwiches will feature a traditional Croque Monsieur of ham, béchamel, gruyère cheeses, a mushroom Croque Monsieur with mushrooms, truffle butter, and brie; and a California Croque Monsieur featuring local ratatouille, spinach, pesto, Havarti.

They will be at Three Stix adobe on West Spain Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 14.

Chateau Sonoma: As a real fan of France and things French, Sarah Anderson and her Chateau Sonoma team will host a Bastille Day fête at Chateau Sonoma on Friday, JuJy 14 serving French 75s cocktails of sparkling wine, lemon juice, gin and simple syrup made by bartender Jeremy Sommier, accompanied by Piaf-like songstress Arabelle, who also sings at the General’s Daughter Pizza & Pinot nights. 3 to 5 p.m. at Cornerstone.

Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club: After all, pétanque is a French game of round metal boules, or balls.

Every year the group celebrates with a casual pétanque tournament (novices welcome) and a fabulous big lunch with Ravenswood wine to both imbibe and as prizes.

If you want to play, just arrive before 10 a.m. Boules are provided if you need to borrow some, and you do not have to compete. “Chef Marco” will offer butter lettuce salad with Gala apples and candied walnuts with tarragon vinaigrette, Bouillabaisse with Rouille, French bread and brie cheese, local strawberries and blueberries with shortbread and cream, and a glass of Ravenswood wine.

If you prefer just to go for lunch, reservations are required. Show up by 11 or 11:30 a.m. and bring your own plate. Lunch to be served at 1 p.m. Tournament $10, lunch $22 including a glass of Ravenswood wine. Reservations at vompc.org or 934-4844.