10 Things to Do at Bastille Days This Year

Storming the Bastille, love locks, a cathedral tour and more will be at this year’s fest.

MILWAUKEE’S Bastille Days returns this weekend after being postponed the last two years due to the pandemic. Here are some cool things to check out during the city’s four days of French-themed fun. 

1. Storming the Bastille 

THURSDAY FROM 9 P.M. – 10 P.M. | CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK 

On July 14, 1789, French revolutionaries charged the Bastille, an armory, as a part of the French Revolution. On July 14 this year you can join 5,000 other Milwaukeeans in the Storm the Bastille 5K run/walk through downtown and the Third Ward. Complete with glow sticks and Bastille t-shirts, the run is a perfect way to kick off the festivities. Registration costs $35.  

2. Streets of Paris 

THURSDAY FROM 10 A.M. – 8 P.M. | MILWAUKEE ART MUSEUM 

As the museum says, come experience the “joie de vivre” of Paris and French-speaking cultures throughout the day. Art lovers can check out exhibit “Always New: The Posters of Jules Chéret,” and listen to the assistant curator discuss the pieces. In the evening, you can stop by to watch and discuss “Myth of a Colorblind France” at 6 p.m. 


 

 

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3. Love Lock Sculpture 

ALL WEEKEND | CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK 

Bastille Days brings the Parisian Pont des Arts bridge – a famous spot for lovers to secure locks to symbolize their everlasting bond – to Milwaukee. You can buy a lock at the festival and attach it to one of the three statues on the east side of the park, effectively leaving your mark on the festivities.  

4. Learn to Speak French 

THURSDAY 3:45 P.M. & 5:45 P.M. | MADISON MEDICAL’S CHILL ON KILBOURN STAGE 

Become a true Francophile by stopping by to see if you can pick up a few phrases. Est-ce que tu parles français? 

5. Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist Tour 

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY | CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST 

Normally, you probably wouldn’t think about cathedral tours while at a street festival, but these tours can give you another look into French culture. Visitors can tour the cathedral, sip free coffee in the garden, listen to French classical music and even attend a traditional French Mass. 

6. Madame Gigi’s Outrageous French Can Can Dancers 

FRIDAY AT 1:45 P.M. | GRUBER LAW’S “ONE CALL…THAT’S ALL” STAGE 

For those unfamiliar with the traditional French dance, Madame Gigi’s dancers promise that watching them perform is like drinking champagne – bubbly and sexy. Check your calendar to see if you Can Can catch them this weekend. 

7. Kids Day at the Festival

SATURDAY FROM 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. | CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK 

Who can say no to beignets for breakfast? In addition to trying the fried pastries, families can catch performances by the Milwaukee French Immersion School and Milwaukee Ballet’s Ballet Beat. 

8. This Is It! Drag Show 

SATURDAY AT 10 P.M. | GRUBER LAW’S “ONE CALL…THAT’S ALL” STAGE 

Known for its drag shows, Milwaukee gay bar This Is It! is taking the stage at Bastille Days. The show promises fun, friends and a little raunch. 

9. Bastille Days Marketplace 

ALL WEEKEND | CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK 

Your tastebuds might need a passport because over 30 restaurants will be showcasing different cuisines be at Bastille Days. While enjoying your food, you can explore the booths of craft artisans from all over the world. 

10. JazzMen Performs 

SUNDAY AT 12:30 P.M. | CATHEDRAL SQUARE PARK 

This local music group combines jazz, soul and R&B. Ease yourself into a relaxing Sunday evening with their sonic blend. 

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