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Liberté. Égalité. And Champagne sabering.

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Thirteen years and 10 days after the United States adopted the Declaration of Independence and severed their ties to Great Britain, France was also making history. On July 14, 1789, at the height of the French Revolution, angry Parisians on the hunt for gunpowder stormed the Bastille, a fortress and prison that was seen as a symbol on the then very unpopular monarchy.

When the prison fell along with close to one hundred men, mostly among the attackers, the defeat rocked the already weak government. Within a month nobles fled the country and feudalism was abolished, followed quickly by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, adopted in late August.

Today, Bastille Day, celebrated every July 14, is akin to July 4, and if you were in Paris right now, you might be doing nearly the same thing you did on the Fourth, watching fireworks or standing alongside a parade, although you’d probably be dressed better. The French always are.

In Las Vegas, however, the French holiday passes by unnoticed. Almost.

Tonight in Summerlin, French bistro and wine market Marché Bacchus is hosting a Bastille Day party that will put the holiday back on local calendars. In addition to serving traditional French food with an updated twist courtesy of chef Jean Paul Labadie, the restaurant will be the site of a special performance by the Las Vegas Skydiving Team (we have a skydiving team?!), who will land in the lake right next to Marché’s outdoor patio. When the diving’s done, the restaurant’s owner and resident Francophile, Jeff Wyatt, will saber champagne bottles for a complimentary toast to the French Revolution.

Forget saying “cheers” tonight as you clink glasses of bubbly in honor of Bastille Day. The correct phrase is: “Liberté. Égalité. Fraternité.”

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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