Bastille Day, Philly-Style

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July 14th, the day Parisian militia stormed the Bastille prison and the start of the French Revolution.

Without question, Bastille Day is one of the most important moments in the history of France, and a holiday that’s celebrated all over the world. While most Bastille Day festivities are traditional in nature, Philadelphia prefers to put it’s own spin on the French National holiday.

Philadelphia Bastille Day

The Philly-version of Bastille Day is held at Eastern State Penitentiary, a fitting site for the celebration as the prison was once the most famous in the world and housed notorious criminals like Al Capone and Willie Sutton. The street festival kicks off with a song and dance performance of the entire French Revolution by The Bearded Ladies, a Philly cabaret troupe.

RELATED: Top Hotels in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Bearded Ladies at Philly Bastille Day

Bastille Day in Philadelphia

The main show begins when French revolutionaries reenact the storming of the Bastille, as Marie Antoinette mocks them from the top of the Eastern State towers. After she yells, “Let them eat Tastykake!”, three thousand Tastykakes will be tossed over the prison’s walls to the crowd below. Having enough of her taunts, the Bastille will be stormed, Antoinette will be captured and taken to a functioning guillotine for her “beheading”.

Marie Antoinette at Philadelphia Bastille Day

The party doesn’t stop after the beheading, as many restaurants in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia will fill the night with French-themed entertainment and food and drink specials. True to Philadelphia fashion, even Bastille Day is made into a genuinely unique experience!

Bastille Day Philadelphia Tastykakes

Philadelphia Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary

Where to Stay in Philadelphia

The Warwick – Rittenhouse Squareelegant hotel with a bold, modern lobby that’s just a quick walk from Rittenhouse Square and many attractions & restaurants. I particularly enjoyed the spacious rooms and modern decor.

Lokal Hotel – located in Old City, this brand-new (opened in April 2017) property lays claim to being the first “invisible service” boutique hotel in Philadelphia. The invisible service of the six, apartment-style suites simply means that there is not a concierge or person manning the front desk. Instead, visitors are able to communicate with hotel staff at all times via e-mail, text, or phone.

Loews Philadelphia – located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, this recognized luxury brand hotel is conveniently close to all major attractions and offers stunning, up-close views of the Philadelphia skyline.


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