Library Blog

Francophiles Unite for Bastille Day 2021

Sky background with blue-white-red swooping banner and eiffel tower and phrase happy bastille day

For all who love everything French, Bastille Day, the National Holiday of France, is a great day to celebrate. This day commemorates the fall of the French military fortress and prison, the Bastille, in 1789. It signaled the start of the French Revolution. For an overview of this historical event, check out Salem Online‘s article: Keleher, Edward P., and C. James Haug. “Fall Of The Bastille.” Great Events from History: The Eighteenth Century, edited by John Powell, Salem, 2006. And for those looking for a more detailed, academic discussion, try EBSCO’ History Reference Center article: Alpaugh, Micah. “A Self-Defining “Bourgeoisie” in the Early French Revolution: The Milice Bourgeoise, the Bastille Days of 1789, and Their Aftermath.” Journal of Social History, Spring2014, Vol. 47 Issue 3, p. 696, 25p. Plus, you could watch 48-episode TV series Great Courses: The French Revolution or, for a lighter take, try the French language movie (with English subtitles) historical comedy: The Visitors: Bastille Day available from Hoopla.

But, enough history, let’s see what fun we can locate in the online resources that center on France in some way.

Of course, there’s learning to speak some French phrases, using the language resources. With Mango Languages, there are 3 specialty courses to choose from, along with taking a full French language course:

  • Argot – pick up some French slang
  • Wine & Cheese – learn about French wines and cheeses
  • Romance – sweet words to say to your loved one

While Transparent Language Online has a French Word of the Day option.


Another educational option is checking out Universal Class‘s French Culture 101 course:
Universal Class French Culture 101 screenshotAs you can see, with 15 lessons, multiple assignments & tests, you will get a fairly thorough understanding for all things French here!


Moving on from studying to arts & crafts, Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center is a great place to check out.  Just doing a keyword search for “France,” you will find over 38,000 results. Some of the first results found are perfect for those planning a future trip abroad as they cover places to visit. And, of course, they are great for the armchair traveler, too. To find even more, try searching “French” which pulls up over 63,000 results.  Among these, you will find French style and cooking, along with history articles.


Talking about food, AtoZ The World has over 25 French cuisine recipes with pictures in the country profile for France. They have recipe options for creating a full course meal: appetizers, soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts. Among the choices are:

  • Escargots à la Bourguignonne (Snails in Garlic-Parsley Butter) (Appetizer)
  • Vichyssoise (Potato Leek Soup) (Soup)
  • Céléri Rémoulade (Celery Root Salad) (Salad)
  • Coquilles St. Jacques (Scallops Poached w/ Wine and Cream) (Main Course)
  • Ratatouille (Stewed Vegetables) (Side Dish)
  • Clafoutis (Fruit Custard) (Dessert).

There is lots more to learn about France here as well, such as the national symbols, including the words to the national anthem (in both French & English) “La Marseillaise” (“The Song of Marseille”). And, under the Language heading, there is even a Video Dictionary to teach you 11 French words & phrases.


Another great resource to check out for all things French is Hoopla, the library’s streaming resource with eBooks, audiobooks, music, movies and TV shows. There’s lots to find whether you search “France” (which finds 2118 results) or “French” (which finds 5519 results).

The eBooks includes a treasure trove of French cookbooks, such as: Lonely Planet’s France (Authentic Recipes From the People That Know Them the Best), The French Cook series with 4 books, French Bistro, The French Baker, French Comfort Food, and French Country Cooking. Plus, for historic recipes, try these two books from the American Antiquarian Cookbook collection: The French Cook and Domestic French Cookery. But there is much more than just cookbooks.  You may enjoy reading how one person moved to France and fell in love with the country: Pardon My French. Or check out the artwork in France: 149 Paintings You Really Need to See in Europe.

In the audiobooks, along with many teaching you how to speak French, you will find foodie titles, such as In a French Kitchen: Tales and Traditions of Everyday Home Cooking in France and Bicycle Gourmet’s Treasures Of France. Plus, for fun and humor, check out: Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures Framed In France and Abbott & Costello Trip to France.

For movies, one choice which covers both travel and history to enjoy is France With Dr. Dwayne L. Merry. Another travel documentary, which takes you to the Chateau Chenonceau, is Passeport Pour Le Monde: Châteaux De La Loire. A fun video for children is Madeline Sing-A-Long With Her Friends.

For television, there’s Visions of France, which covers traveling through Provence and the Riviera. A good cooking series is the French Pastry Shop Classics. French Village is a historical drama series set during World War II. And, here as with other online resources, there are courses for learning the French language for both adults: Great Courses: Learning French and children: Dino Lingo French for Kids or Muzzy French for Kids.

Don’t forget to check out the music in Hoopla. For children, there’s A Musical Tour Of France With Maurice Chevalier and Nashville Kids Sound: French. And for all ages, check out these choices: The Classic 100 – Music Of France, Finest Music of France, France-22 Great Favourites, France-20 Chansons D’Amour, The Best of France, and Welcome to France.


The last online resource on this tour of all things French from France is OverDrive. Here among the ebooks and audiobooks, you will find:


I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of online resources locating lots of things centered on France and the French.  Happy Bastille Day!

Sara Churchill

Sara Churchill is the Digital Services Specialist and Assistant Supervisor in the Information Services Department at Main Library. A major fan of technology devices and computer research resources at work, she enjoys helping everyone learn to use their devices and the library's many online resources.  She loves reading Science Fiction/Fantasy books, British cozy mysteries, True Crime and other true stories, plus a past reader of horror fiction by the likes of Stephen King and John Saul (among others).  Also, she’s a big fan of Sci-fi, action, horror, spaghetti westerns, and based-on-a-true story movies.  Her blogs are for adults and the entire family to enjoy reading and trying out the many online resources free for PLYMC library cardholders to use.