The French National Day is the anniversary of the Bastille Day on 14 July 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération celebrating the French people’s unity on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France, as well as our city of joy, Kolkata. And I was invited to attend the same. Here’s my experience there.
The Consul General of France in Kolkata Mr Damien Syed hosted the French National Day at the Eiffel Ballroom of the Novotel Hotel & Residences in Kolkata on Saturday the 14th July 2018. The theme of this year’s Bastille day was the relevance of restored French heritage in Chandernagore which found reflection in the décor, the speech and even the food. The celebrations were initiated by the arrival of the honourable Chief Guest, Additional Chief Secretary Government of West Bengal Shri. Debashis Sen who was ushered in through the famous lit story panels crafted by Chandernagore’s lighting artisans. Mr Syed celebrated this historic friendship between France & Bengal by raising a toast to this rich built heritage. In his last speech as Consul General, Mr Syed shared many memories and achievements from his journey during his tenure and thanked the people of Bengal for their warmth and generosity during over the past 3 years of his interactions with this city.
The work done during the Bonjour India platform, concluded recently across India, found reflection along legacy easels and image panels, nuggets capturing the essence of the French engagement and partnership that the project created, through awareness workshops and student to people exchanges about their own past.
For the rest of the gathering, the interactive sections like the selfie booth marked prominently by the statue of a headless Marianne was a huge hit. The coup de grace was of course the art installation featuring a near perfect Jora Ghat from the Strand in perspective from the twin pillars of the well-known Liberty gates of Chandernagore along the red carpet.
The evening showcased the finest of fusion of Franco Bengali flavours, from bakery and dessert specials of Chandannagar, kasundi marinated ham and melon skewers to salmon soufflé, gondhoraj infused tarts, to the popular hachis parmentier and Canard Roti trailing down to the best of Bengali roshogolla French classics like the crème brûlée blended with the finest of cheeses and wines curated by Novotel Executive Chef Neelabh Sahay.
I would sincerely like to thank The honorary Consulate General Of France In Calcutta for the invitation and it was a great evening spent.
Bon apettit !!!
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** Disclaimer:- Pictures and write-up is taken from the formal communication release from The honorary Consulate General Of France In Calcutta **