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Fête Nationale 


T here were only seven prisoners, none of them particularly political, housed in the Bastille on that hot July day in 1789 when the populace stormed the prison walls to liberate the unjustly jailed and help themselves to plenty of firearms and ammo. But no matter the inmates, the action prompted the French government to shortly establish the Rights of Man and Citizen and, not incidentally, launched the first great party that has since come to define le quatorze juilliet .

Far from the land of skinny women and garlicky snails, Bastille Day is celebrated in the North Bay with food and song. In Mill Valley, the 142 Throckmorton Theater hosts the cheeky orchestra and dancers of Chez Kiki in its 'Cabaret D'Amor' featuring the songs of Piaf, Chavelier, Brel and Baker with the nous sommes Française Moana Diamond and other Francophiliac performers on Saturday, July 11, at 8pm. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. $25-$35. 415.383.9600.

In Napa, the liberation of prisoners and citizenry is exemplified in fromage, accordions and le vin vieux. Cheese man Francis Sistiague has nimbly termed the celebration Napastille Day , organizing it around the many vendors gathered at the Oxbow Public Market for a celebration suitable for les enfants that features the SF Frisky Frolics outside at 6pm, French songs and dance all day, French cooper masters involved in live barrel making and oui, even French fries. Toni Cordioli holds down the squeezebox from 3pm while Allison Lovejoy tickles the ivories on Tuesday, July 14, from 2pm. Oxbow Public Market, 610 First St., Napa. Free. 707.963.1345.

Meanwhile, the Costeaux Bakery in Healdsburg promises that Tuesday will swell with a full day of events that are "just like Paris . . . but the servers are nicer" with a slate of activities including pétanque using bread bowls, can-can dancers and (quel dommage) a mime as well as French country dancing, an Eiffel Tower cookie decorating contest avec games for the kids, a goofy reenactment of the 1976 "Judgement of Paris" wine-tasting, an appearance by Mme. Marie Antoinette herself and, in a nouveau twist, a waiter's race. The tomfoolery commences at 9am on July 14 and stretches until 4pm, with plenty of yummy lovely food not surprisingly for sale. Costeaux Bakery, 417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Free. 707.433.1913.


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