To the French, Bastille Day seems to be about freedom. The storming of the Bastille took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s reign. The people signalled that the king’s power was no longer absolute by capturing this symbol; power should be based on the nation of people and be limited by a separation of powers.
In France, Bastille Day is a national holiday. In Australia, it is a day of celebration. Whilst commemoration of the day may take place silently, French celebration is loud and unbashful. This year over fifteen hundred partygoers celebrated Bastille Day in style at The Argyle with plenty of french food, dancing and lots of cocktails. Thanks to our host for the event, Alliance Francaise Sydney, I was met with a red carpet arrival and free drinks. Accompanied by our photographer for the night, Yohannes Ario, who himself is a vocal artist (runner up to Indonesian Idol 2009 no less), we headed upstairs to enjoy the spinning sounds from French DJ Mafia. Talk about spicing up the atmosphere with mixed tunes of house, traditional and rock music.
The people I interviewed had some sort of french background. They were either from France or Mauritius. There was plenty of Australians in attendance too. “It’s a party,” Michael Sun told me who was with his friends Daniel and Dominic from Sydney University. Daniel’s face was painted in colours of the French flag and his beret stamped him as a proper mascot for the day. Elise, an Aussie girl with a Belgian father, wooed us in her adorable red beret and girlish smile. “The French share their culture. It’s a day of celebration of something good,” she said.
During the night a chorus line of dancers performed the traditional cancan dance. They even pulled a few men out of the crowd to join in on another dance. Nobody could have suffered from hunger pangs with the Argyle putting on French stalls with Chicken Cassoulet amongst other things in the courtyard.
Let’s never forget that if you want to know how to have a good party, follow the French. They are as free today as they must have been all those centuries ago when freedom was the only thing that mattered.
For more upcoming Alliance Francaise events in Sydney, visit them here.
Photo Credit: Yohannes Ario, 2009 Runner Up, Indonesian Idol TV Show.