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Celebrate Bastille Day In and Around L.A.

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"Vive l'independance!" Sure, we just hoisted back a few brews, grilled up some meat eats, and set off our own rockets' red glare on the 4th of July, but for the French--or merely fans of--today is the day of celebration: Bastille Day, which commemorates France's national uprising and storming of the Bastille prison. (We love history, but we'd rather talk parties, so if you've an inquiring mind, hop on over here and we'll continue with our celebration.)

If you're up for a lovely drive on the 101 Northbound, today and tomorrow you can check out Santa Barbara's annual French Festival--the largest French Celebration in the Western U.S.--which we heard all about this morning via KCRW's Good Food. The fest opens at 11 a.m. and runs to 7 p.m. and is held in Oak Park. The event boasts over 40 performances on 3 different stages that include examples of traditional French entertainment, as well as global acts from regions of French influence. There's food and wine aplenty, as well as the festival's legendary "Poodle Parade." Eats available will include the expected crepes and quiches, as well as foods from world cuisines, such as Alsatian and Vietnamese, whose styles and offerings stem from and merge with the French. Admission is free.

Tomorrow you can strut your other red-white-and-blues at the annual Bastille Day Los Angeles Festival, which is taking place at Santa Monica's Bergamot Station from 2 p.m. to Midnight. The event, which is hosted in conjunction with the French Consulate here in LA, will feature all sorts of French-tinged entertainment, food, and wares. Admission is $5 (kids get in free).

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Want to stay away from the fray, but still eat like a Francophile? If it's crepes you crave, check out Pasadena's CrepeVine or the French Crepe Co. at the Farmer's Market or Hollywood & Highland. Or, if you need to keep Kosher but simply must have French baked goods, try Delice Bakery. For those who'd prefer to sit down and dine a la francais, give one or more of the restaurants currently nominated for LA's Best French Food over at Citysearch, a try and get your two centimes in before the polls close. (We'd suggest checking out Monsieur Marcel's, La Frite, Cafe Beaujolais, Ortolan, Dusty's, or Taix, and avoiding Bistro 45, Cafe Bizou (we know tons of people love 'em, but we can't stand 'em), and most assuredly staying clear of Figaro.)

Of course, you could always hit up your local Trader Joe's and make your home into anything from the Bastille itself (French baguette, brie, red wine) to Louis XIV's Palace Banquet Hall (break out the Julia Child books for this one). No matter how you celebrate, raise your glass and toast: "A votre sante!" (to your health).

Photo by the-tml via Flickr