But first a little bit of history… Just 10 days after the U.S. Independence Day, France has a similar holiday called Bastille Day. The date is based on the storming of the “Bastille”—a fortress/prison representing French royalty. On July 14, 1789, political prisoners were released from this prison. At the time, France was ruled by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who were forced to hide in Versailles because of angry mobs. Bastille Day is recognized as the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the French Revolution.
1- The French call Bastille Day “le 14 juillet.” “Bastille” finds its origin in the French word for “bastide,” which means stronghold.
2- The famous writer and philosopher Voltaire was once a prisoner in the Bastille.
3- This day only became a national holiday in 1880.
4- The official parade occurs in Paris, starting at the Champs Elysées and ending at the Arc de Triomphe. It’s the oldest military parade in Europe.
5- France is not the only country having this celebration. Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, India, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and even some part of the United States such as Milwaukee, Wisconsin, have a Bastille Day celebration.
6- Today is the 100th Anniversary of America's entry into World War I
Bastille Day is also synonymous with fireworks, dancing, music, street celebrations, and food. Here is where our Chef Jemel Ghroum, who works at our French location near Paris, comes in. He shares a classic French sliced beef/ Dijon mustard sandwich, using Pain d’Epi bread. This easy-to-share sandwich is perfect for any celebration.
1 Pain d’Epi bread (known as wheat stalk bread in the U.S.)
¾ lb of thinly sliced roast beef
4 tsp old-fashioned Dijon mustard
1 tomato, thinly sliced
½ C sweet onion confit
½ red onion, thinly sliced
4 oak-leaf lettuce leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cut the baguette into 4 portions. Slice each portion in half lengthwise.
2. Spread the bottom and top side with the mustard.
3. Arrange the sliced beef on each bottom side, then top with the onion confit, red onions, tomato, oak-leaf lettuce, and parsley.
4. Season with the salt and pepper, then close the sides together.