Director Jacques Bounin and treasurer Francois Sachse of Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur on the cultural centre’s first Bastille Day celebration in KL on July 14.
Options: What does Bastille Day mean to you?
Bounin: Bastille Day is the French national day, celebrated annually on July 14 in France and French-speaking regions around the world. It signifies the start of the French Revolution in 1789, and is still a central event in the French calendar.
Sachse: In fact, we don’t use the name “Bastille Day”. Instead we call it “The 14th of July”. In France, the day usually begins with a spectacular military parade held at the Champs-Élysées in the presence of the French president. In 2003, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was invited by President Jacques Chirac to attend the celebration.
What can someone who has never attended a Bastille Day celebration expect from the event?
Bounin: People should expect a convivial and family-friendly celebration that is open to all, with everything French — food, music and children’s activities and games. Traditionally, in France, each year on Bastille Day, fire stations around the country open their massive red garage doors to the public for the firemen’s ball. There will not be any French firemen at Alliance Française but there will be a big space for dancing because Bastille Day without dancing is not Bastille Day!
Sachse: It is a time for Malaysians to enjoy a day of big parties accompanied by French songs and the bal musette (traditional music ball). From noon to 6pm, there will be games, contests and an inflatable playground prepared by Club Med to keep the children entertained. After that, there will be a French country style buffet for all and the party continues to midnight.
Will there be performers at the event?
Bounin: There will be DJs to entertain the large audience we expect.
Sachse: One of the invited DJs, Chris, is a Cambodian-French-American coming from the US. Performing with him is Alexandre or Alex, a French-Malaysian.
What French foods on offer are a must-try for Malaysians?
Sachse: Malaysians love to eat chicken in different styles. And, maybe for the first time, they will be able to taste French-style roast chicken cooked in a large rotisserie.
Bounin: Our guests can enjoy a selection of simple but traditional French food such as roast chicken, pâté, cheeses, crêpes, wines and baguette sandwiches.
What are you most looking forward to at the event?
Bounin: We are looking forward to seeing Malaysians and French people gathered together to celebrate this occasion!
Celebrate Bastille Day with the French at Alliance Française, 12 Jalan Gurney Kiri, 54100 KL, on July 14 from noon to midnight. The programme includes a French country buffet, an inflatable playground and activities for children, singing and dancing contests and an EDM party at night. Register your attendance for complimentary entry here.