On Sunday, July 14 celebrate Bastille Day, the national day of France, like a Parisian. Raise a baguette with French culture and cuisine without leaving Columbia.
As you drive into downtown, make a pitstop at South Carolina’s only French-inspired roadside attraction: the Statue of Liberty. Columbia’s own little Lady of Exile is one of 200 statues bought and dispersed throughout the United States in 1950 by the Boy Scouts of America to mark their 40th anniversary. And even though our Palmetto State Statue of Liberty was made in Chicago, not France, Lady Liberty will forever remain an emblem of freedom and justice for all.
Where to find it: 1800 Blossom St.
Having spent some time with a replica of one of the most iconic international gifts to America, take a culinary flight overseas with a trip to Crêpes & Croissants. This counter-service eatery with its sweet and savory crêpes will satisfy that French bistro atmosphere you didn’t even know you’ve been craving. Travel to France with the Paris crêpe — Monterey jack cheese, ham, and an egg. Afterwards, treat your sweet tooth to some French macaroons.
Where to find it: 1465 Sumter St. 803-462-4779. www.crepesandcroissants.com. Open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-2p.m. Sunday.
Continue your localized celebration of all things French at the Columbia Museum of Art gift shop. As a purveyor of unique and one-of-a-kind gifts from local artists, the CMA gift shop carries prints, scarfs, and home goods from CHI Design Indigo. At 20 years old, Caroline C. Harper moved from France, earned her art degree, and after some time as a graphic artist, learned about indigo and resist-dyeing. This education led to CHI Design Indigo, and Harper’s stunning patterns and brilliantly hued indigo products have been featured in Columbia Living magazine and the Freetimes. In addition to her whole sale items at the CMA, Harper offers dyeing workshops and private lessons by appointment only.
Where to find it: 1515 Main St. 803-343-2159. www.columbiamuseum.org. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday.
France greatly influenced New Orleans as a city, and its traditions, so it’s only fitting that your drink should be from a Cajun-Creole restaurant that specializes in the flavors and spirits of the Louisiana Bayou. Walk up Main Street and stop into Bourbon for a French 75 or a Sazerac: Rittenhouse Rye and Peychaud’s Bitters with an absinthe rinse. One sip will have you proclaiming, “vive la France!”
Where to find it: 1214 Main St. 803-403-1404. www.bourboncolumbia.com. Open 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Thursday; 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday; 11 p.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Saturday; 11 p.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday.
Alyssa Velazquez, special to GoColumbia