Boerum Hill basks in Bastille Day • Brooklyn Paper

Boerum Hill basks in Bastille Day

Let it go: A man hurls a ball on a pop-up petanque court on Smith Street on July 13 as part of the Smith Street Bastille Day celebration.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

To the barricades! To eat, drink, and have a good time!

Crowds flocked to Smith Street in Boerum Hill on Sunday to celebrate Bastille Day a day early. The French holiday celebrates the storming of a medieval Parisian fortress in 1789, but you wouldn’t know it from the happy crowds sipping drinks, cheering and jeering the World Cup final on the big screen, and playing petanque, a bocce-like French game, on a temporary court.

“Petanque a classic pastime,” said Apoftolos Valleras, general manager of Bar Tabac, the French bar that hosted live music, grilled fresh French eats, installed the petanque court, and projected the big soccer game for the throngs on the blocked-off section of Smith Street. “People play it at parks, anywhere they want. It’s a fun, competitive sport.”

The bar carted in more than 100 50-pound bags of sand to build the court for the occasion.

The street fair was a draw for French expatriates and Francophiles hungry for a taste of that je ne sais quoi they last experienced on vacation.

“I went to France in April and I loved the food and wine,” said Alex Barber, who came to the fair from Williamsburg. “It was nice to go spend the day outside.”

Barber, who is originally from Australia, said this was her second time coming to Smith Street for the celebration of all things Francais.

The World Cup game, in which Germany shut out Argentina for global domination, was a big draw this year, Valleras said. France, of course, was knocked out by Germany in the quarter-finals.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz

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