How to spend a French summer in New York

french summer in New York -  www.MyFrenchLife.orgNew York is known – and loved – for its summers. This year, it is safe to say that it was long overdue.

Whether it is outdoor movies, music festivals, or street fairs, the city that never sleeps has a lot to offer during the warm season, including its traditional French touch.

How to enjoy a summer in New York, French style? See the festivities below and join the fun!

French cinema – in the parks

French film lovers, Films on the Green is for you! This French Film festival is produced annually by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and takes place in different New York City parks.

The goal? Bring classic and contemporary movies to New Yorkers.

The Festival kicked off on 30 May, with a screening every Friday until 1 August, in several parks including Central Park, Washington Square Park and Riverside Park.

french summer in New York -  www.MyFrenchLife.orgA final movie, ‘The French Minister’ will be shown on 4 September at Columbia University. All movies are in French, with English subtitles.

This year’s theme is male figures in French films, and highlights the work of iconic actors like Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and Vincent Cassel.

When asked about how the films are picked, Antonin Baudry, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the US, explains: “We choose the films we love… but it’s not that simple! Every year we choose a theme for the festival.

“In 2014, the focus is on French actors. Beyond that there are many things to consider when selecting the films such as the right balance of different genres, no nudity or sex scenes and running times. Diversity in the selection is critical as we work to reach as many demographics as possible. It is exciting with Films on the Green to promote French cinema to younger and more diverse audiences in New York!”

Whether you want to re-watch some of your favorite classics, discover French cinema, or simply immerse yourself into French language, join Films on the Green for an unforgettable outdoor movie night.

Films on the Green
30 May – 1 August
Parks around New York City

Missing French food?

How to spend a French summer in New York - Sud de FranceSpend some time at the Sud de France Festival that celebrates the region of Languedoc-Roussillon. Running from 9 June to 30 June, the festival brings some French joie de vivre to New York.

From a giant-cassoulet launch party and wine tastings, to concerts and a block-party on 74th street, foodies, gourmets, and Francophiles will discover the delights and culture of the South of France. If you’re not convinced, Georgia Kral of AMNY has three excellent reasons to consider going along.

Oh, and if you’re simply looking for some delicious French fare, be sure to take a look at our ultimate insiders guide to French food in New York!

Sud de France Festival
9 – 30 June
Various places in New York City

Celebrate Bastille Day in New York

Bastille Day is the commemoration of France’s Independence Day of 14 July, 1789. If you are in France, where it is simply called 14 Juillet, you will watch the military parade on the Champs Elysees, attend firemen’s balls or enjoy the many fireworks.

In New York, the French community celebrates with street fairs that offer traditional food, games, activities and performances.

french summer in New York -

As this year’s 14 July is a Monday, the festivities will take place on Sunday 13 July. You’ll have to choose between two main spots… Or visit both! On the Upper East Side, the FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française) organizes ‘Bastille Day on 60th Street’. This street fair takes place on 60th street, between 5th and Lexington Avenues.

On the other side of town, the Brooklinytes will go to Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill, around Smith Street, to enjoy French food and some petanque.

Bastille Day on 60th Street
Sunday, 13 July
60th street, between 5th and Lexington Ave
Bastille Day in Brooklyn
Sunday, 13 July
Smith st, Brooklyn

Get your French culture fix

Jennifer Bourne - 04.06.14 - - Programs_GuidedTours (1) copyThere are many French-inspired cultural events happening in and around New York – comme toujours.

Why not get out of the sweltering New York heat and try a tour of the Metropolitan Museum in French? They run each weekday between 11am and 12pm, and are free with admission.

After reading about the art of French artist Pierre Soulages on MyFrenchLife™, don’t miss out on seeing it up close at Galeries Dominique Levy until 27 June.


Tours in French at the Metropolitan Museum
Each weekday
1000 Fifth Avenue
Pierre Soulages exhibit
24 April – 27 June
Dominique Levy Gallery, 909 Madison Avenue

French music in NYC 

The Fete de la Musique is celebrated in France on 21 June by bringing music to the streets. New York isn’t left behind and hosts a special event as part of Summer Stage music festival with singers M and Emilie Simon. The concert is free and takes place at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park starting at 7pm.

Summer Stage
21 June
Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

A few more for the list… - French-American Chamber of Commerce in New York is also holding a summer get-together on the evening of Thursday 21 August to ring in la rentrée with drinks, hors d’oeuvres and good conversation.

Or perhaps you’d prefer a spot of French Tennis? They’re also holding the BNP Paribas cup– complete with champagne, French cuisine and jazz, bien sûr.

Oh, and if you’re a budding novelist, you might like to take a look at the ‘Prix de la Nouvelle Francophonie USA’, organized by Emue books and French Morning NYC!

Summer get-together
21 August
Boat Basin Cafe, West 79th Street
BNP Paribas cup
12 June
The West Side Tennis Club, 1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, NY
RSVP and payment required
Prix de la Nouvelle Francophonie USA
Date for entries: 30 June
Entry via email

Have you ever taken part in French festivals or events during summer in New York? Which one is your favorite or represents the best French traditions?

Image Credits
1. New York City by Andrew Anderson, via Flickr.
2. Vincent Cassel Cannes by Georges Biard, via Wikimedia Commons.
3. Sud de France Festival, via the official website.
4. Fireworks 3 – Front crowd by Bruce Stokes, via Flickr.

5. Tour at the Metropolitan Museum, via the Metropolitan Museum of Art website. 
6. Tennis racket and balls, via Wikiepedia.
By Published On: Jun 5, 20140 Comments

About the Contributor

Jennifer Bourne

Born and raised in France, I became a New Yorker at heart when I moved to the US. Social media and online research are my specialties. Movies and TV series are my conversation starters. While I try to make the best out of my New York life, I stay in constant research of all things French. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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