Each summer, Milwaukee throws the country’s largest Bastille Day party in Cathedral Square Park, complete with an Eiffel Tower. Head to town July 12–15 this year for a taste of old Paris.

By Kristine Hansen; Illustrato:r Marissa Johnson
Bastille Days festival

Tips to enjoy Milwaukee's Bastille Days festival:

Practice French (or learn a few words) at the Alliance Française de Milwaukee tent.

Buy tickets to wine tastings on Friday or Saturday.

Snap a selfie under the 43-foot Eiffel Tower-and don't miss its hourly light shows.

Creole crooners and other musicians play on four stages.

The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist holds a French Mass on Saturday.

Vendors sell goods from around the Francophone world, like Provençal tablecloths and African-print dresses.

Bastille Days festival

Bon Appétit

Plan your day's feasting around our favorite stalls.

Macaron ice cream sandwiches from Le Reve.

Milwaukee Brewing's Bastille Day Brew, a citron-saison ale.

Lake Park Bistro's rich beef bourguignon stew.

Freshly fried-and-sugared beignets at Alliance Française.

Just South Of The Fest

Stay where it all began In 1982, The Pfister Hotel's French general manager, François Nivaud, hosted a Bastille Day celebration. Big crowds prompted a move two blocks north to Cathedral Square, where some 200,000 people show up today. Book a posh room at The Pfister to relive the glory days and walk to the festival.

Pfister. Photo courtesy of The Pfister Hotel.

Just Northeast Of The Fest

Eat in Parisian style Two blocks from Cathedral Square, Cafe at the Plaza's garden patio evokes the Avenue des Champs-Élysées with ivy, brick walls and twinkly lights. Brunch features huge helpings of lemon-poppyseed pancakes and avocado toast with green salsa.

Cafe patio. Photo by Matt Haas.
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