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July 11, 2008 at 1:30 PM

Stormin’ the gates: Viva la France!

The French-American Chamber of Commerce presents a weekend-long Bastille Day Festival beginning tonight at Seattle Center with the Bal des Pompier (Fireman’s Ball). Always one to have a ball, “Chef in the Hat” Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s will be on hand at Fisher Pavillion to prepare a four-course dinner to go along with the music and dancing, while chef Dominique Place (whose name is on the label of some of the Northwest’s finest smoked seafood) will accept the Medaille de l’ordre du Merite Agricole from the French consul-general. The celebration is set to continue on Sunday, spilling out of the Pavillion and onto the lawn and the Center House with festivities for all.

French restaurants everywhere are celebrating Bastille Day Monday, July 14. Among them are Campagne and Cafe Campagne (promising to party like it’s 1789 with “a full-day schedule of food, drink, music, entertainment and fun-filled debauchery”); Le Pichet (with their annual Bastille Day Bash set to last from 6 p.m. till the wee small hours); and Maximilien in the Market , offering a three-course dinner and French accordian music. And if you’ve been thinking it might be a good time to check out the newly remodeled Le Gourmand, chef/owners Bruce and Sara Naftaly are opening their Ballard restaurant to honor the storming of the Bastille with a special five-course seasonal prix-fixe menu ($65) served, if you like, with matched wines ($35). Or you could just check out the Monet-like garden at Le Gourmand’s petite adjoining cocktail lounge, Sambar, and raise glass in a French toast to la belle France.

Anybody else out there celebrating Bastille Day? Restaurants I missed? Chime in, s’il vous plait!

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