French Recipes for a Bastille Day Picnic

Now that the Fourth of July is behind us, it’s time to gear up for France’s Independence Day celebration: Bastille Day. Also known as Le Quatorze Juillet (the 14th of July) and La Fête Nationale (the national celebration) in Francophone countries, this day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution, and is a great excuse to pack up a French-inspired picnic.

There are plenty of French dishes you could make to honor the holiday (Salmon en Croûte, Chocolate Soufflé, and Potato-Leek Soup to name a few), but since it’s summer, here are some lighter, travel- (and heat-) friendly dishes ideal for dining in the park.

Ham and Camembert Baguette Sandwich (above)
A halved sweet baguette spread with fresh fig jam, topped with salty ham and creamy Camembert cheese, and garnished with spicy arugula is a perfectly balanced sandwich for any day, but it’s especially fitting for Bastille Day.

Salade Niçoise Sandwich
To add a little variety to your spread, include a healthy fish sandwich in the mix. Inspired by the classic French salad, this one has caper mayonnaise serving as a briny base that pairs traditional niçoise ingredients such as olives, red onion, and hard-cooked eggs with ahi tuna fillets. If you’re a vegetarian, no problem. Thanks to the addition of protein-rich eggs, this dish is hearty enough without the tuna.

French Lentil Terrine with Savory Carrot Custard
Little jars of carrot custard topped with lentils, zucchini, leeks, and chèvre are a mini meal on their own, and an impressive dish to serve at brunch, or of course, on a picnic.

French Chocolate Macarons with Chocolate Ganache
End your picnic on a sweet note with double-chocolate macarons. Even though these are one of the more difficult French pastries to master, Bastille Day is just the reason you need to push your baking boundaries. Bon appétit!

Photos by Chris Rochelle