Portland, July 13th 2013. It was three laps around Director Park to claim a top prizes in the waiters race, or course des garçons de caféas. Experienced waiters raced while holding a tray of glasses and tried not to spill a drop. The race was one of the highlights of Portland’s 11th Annual Bastille festivities. It was organized by the nonprofit Alliance Française de Portland and is the largest Bastille celebration on the West Coast.
Bastille Day, the French national holiday, commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which took place on 14 July 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the absolute and arbitrary power of Louis the 16th’s Ancient Regime. By capturing this symbol, the people signaled that the king’s power was no longer absolute: power should be based on the Nation and be limited by a separation of powers.