In Paris or Montreal, an open-air market is a “marché à ciel ouvert” and a sidewalk sale is a “vente-trottoir.” There being no French phrase to precisely describe the combination open-air market, sidewalk sale and street festival that welcomes spring to the Book Hill stretch of upper Wisconsin Avenue, the free, three-day happening is simply called … the Georgetown French Market.
Presented by the Georgetown Business Improvement District, the 16th annual French Market, sponsored by TD Bank and car-share company Getaround, will bring that “je ne sais quoi” to Wisconsin Avenue between O Street and Reservoir Road on Friday, April 26; Saturday, April 27; and Sunday, April 28. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
More than 35 local boutiques, salons, art galleries and antiques shops will offer items at special reduced prices of up to 75 percent off (see sidebar for details). And shoppers should come hungry; Book Hill eateries will be focusing on such French fare as sweet and savory crepes, grilled merguez sausages, pastries and macarons.
On Saturday and Sunday, the lots located at Wisconsin Avenue’s P and Q Street intersections will become family-friendly community gathering spots, with live music, a roaming unicyclist and juggler, face-painting, a caricature artist and a French-inspired photo booth, made possible by Getaround. Visitors who take a photo with their dog will get a free dog toy. On Sunday, there will be free Tunes 4 Tots music classes at noon and 1 p.m. in the lot at Wisconsin and P.
The pathbreaking Montreal-based circus arts organization Cirque du Soleil is taking advantage of the Georgetown French Market to promote its touring show “Volta” — based in part on street-sport culture — which will be performed this summer at Tysons II. Free Cirque du Soleil tote bags can be picked up at participating stores while supplies last.
In addition, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday, the first 250 people who stop by the Georgetown BID info tent in the TD Bank lot at 1611 Wisconsin Ave. can enter to win tickets to “Volta.” Each will also receive a free, festive beret.
Saturday’s lineup of live French and Gypsy jazz is: Bitter Dose Combo at Wisconsin and P from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and, in the TD Bank lot, Djangolaya from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Veronneau from 2 to 4 p.m. On Sunday, Laissez Foure will perform in the TD Bank lot from noon to 4 p.m.
Additional information about this year’s French Market is available at georgetownfrenchmarketdc.com.