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‘French Quarter’ to offer music, movie, Bastille Day festivities for Minnesota French Week

Minnesota French Week kicks off next Monday.
What, you might ask, does France have to do with Minnesota?

Minnesota French Week kicks off next Monday.

What, you might ask, does France have to do with Minnesota? Ever heard of “L’Etoile du Nord”?

Until 1803, when the “Vente de la Louisiane” (Louisiana Purchase) took place, all of Minnesota west of the Mississippi River belonged to France.

With that historical fact in mind (maybe), the Alliance Francaise of Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Minnesota Opera have launched Minnesota French Week by transforming a section of First Street in downtown Minneapolis into the French Quarter.

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The kickoff on Monday at 4 p.m. starts with a ceremonial bike ride (it’s being called the “Tour de First,”) along five blocks of North First Street between the offices of the Alliance Francaise, at 113 N. First St., and the Minnesota Opera, at 620 N. First St.

After the ride, the Bastille Day Queen will be crowned (aka Marie Antoinette), and there will be a group singing of the “Marseillaise.”

Other events include a “French Immersion Experience” on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and a screening of “Le Mepris,” the 1963 Brigitte Bardot movie, on Friday at 7 p.m. Both events are at the Alliance Francaise.

The highlight of the week takes place Saturday, July 11, which starts with an afternoon flea-market fundraiser at Alliance Francaise. The main event — a Bastille Day celebration — starts at 4 p.m. and has been titled “Storming the Opera.” Activities include French food, a vintage French auto show (featuring Citroens), singers singing in French, children’s activities and — of course — a mime.

For details, go here.

Bastille Day, by the way, is July 14, not July 11. But this is Minnesota and we try to stay ahead of things.