Bastille Day is the French version of the U.S. 4th of July, only since it’s French, it seems cooler. (I might be biased, seeing as my mother, Brigitte, was born in the suburbs of Paris.) In France, Bastille Day is known as la Fête Nationale or le quatorze juillet. It commemorates both the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, a major event of the French Revolution, as well as the anniversary of that event one year later on July 14, 1790, known as Fête de la Fédération, when tens of thousands of Parisians gathered to celebrate the new unity of the French people.
Bastille Day has been a major celebration in France almost every year since 1880. The festivities begin with a jaw-dropping military flyover and continue with the oldest and largest military parade in Europe, which takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. After the parade, the French people typically celebrate with picnics, concerts, dance parties and fireworks, much like we do for our Independence Day. Well, except they have fireworks over the Eiffel Tower. Like we said: cooler.
A truly unique party component of Bastille Day takes place the night before and also the night of July 14. Firemen’s balls, or bals des pompiers, are big parties held at Paris fire stations. A typical firemen’s ball would include food trucks or buffets, live bands, dancing and firefighters in full uniform serving champagne and beer to guests. It’s a wonderful tradition that has been around since the late 1930s.
If you’d like to start getting some French vibes going for this holiday, we’ve got just the thing! Brew up some of our lovely French-themed or inspired teas and get in the Bastille Day spirit! You could even share some with your local firefighters. They may not be throwing you a dance party, but they certainly deserve some wonderful tea!
Paris. A perennial best-seller, our Paris tea is c’est magnifique! My dad, Mike Harney, was inspired to create this blend in homage to Paris and the many pots of tea he enjoyed there. Paris is a black tea with creamy vanilla and caramel flavors with a hint of bergamot. Pairs well with episodes of Emily in Paris!
Brigitte’s Blend. Named after my mom, Brigitte’s Blend is an elegant mixture of silvery Ceylon and golden Assam. As we always say about this tea, like my mom, this blend is perfect in many situations! Fun fact: this tea is served at the Dorchester Hotel in London as Dorchester Blend.
French Super Blue Lavender. If you’ve ever seen the lavender fields in Provence, you’ll understand the inspiration behind this blend. Our French Super Blue Lavender, a traditional herbal sourced from the perfume capital of the French Riviera, has a deep blue hue, intense floral taste, and captivating aroma.
Provence. Speaking of Provence…one of our newest teas was inspired and created by our French intern, Marine! She wanted to transport you to her native region of Provence where you’ll find the aforementioned fields of lavender as well as apricots and lemons common to the French towns that border the Mediterranean. Provence is a white tea base with lavender and lemon, apricot, vanilla, and honey flavor.
French Verveine. Also known as Lemon Verbena, Verveine has been appreciated for more than a thousand years. An herbal tea, people enjoy its clear lemon flavors and lack of caffeine. The French developed an affinity for it and made it into a much-beloved tisane.
Fruits d’Alsace. Chef Jean Joho, originally from Alsace, asked us to create a dessert tea. Using fruits found in many Alsatian desserts, this black tea is full of apricot, cherry, and plum flavors. My dad, Mike, describes it as “Paris on steroids.”
Garden Therapy. Part of our Met Museum collection, Garden Therapy’s tin features a beautiful Claude Monet landscape. Because Monet is French, this tea is invited to our Bastille Day party! A soothing herbal blend of chamomile, peppermint, and lemon verbena, this tea is perfect for the morning after you’ve danced with the firefighters!
Tilleul. As I mentioned, because my mother, Brigitte, is French, we are always on the lookout for traditional French teas, and one does not get more French or more traditional than Tilleul. Another lovely offering from Provence, Tilleul is a light and lively blend of the linden tree’s fragrant flowers and leaves. This naturally caffeine-free herbal is prized for its subtle floral quality as well as its mild digestive and sleep benefits. This is the tea that Proust dunked Madeleine cookies in that created fond memories in Swann’s Way, which makes this even more French!