French Festival

Saturday 12 July 2014 10:00am - 5:00pmTickets available
$18, $15 seniors, $12 Hillwood and Alliance Française members, $10 college students, $5 Children 6-18, free for children under 6

Location: Throughout The Estate

Tell your friends:

Celebrate France’s national holiday and Hillwood-founder Marjorie Merriweather Post’s passion for 18th-century French decorative arts!

  •  Enjoy live music and dance performances.
  • Join in the whimsical antics of strolling Mimes and fictitious French Nobles.
  • Take part in French-inspired games and art projects.
  • Admire the exquisite collection of 18th-century French decorative arts collected by Marjorie Merriweather Post, including gallery talks in English and en Français.
  • And much more Francophile fun!
Dancers in the French Parterre at Hillwood, Washington DC

The New York Baroque Dance Company performing at Hillwood

Pierrot & Pierrette of Happenstance Theater at Hillwood, Washington DC

Pierrot & Pierrette of Happenstance Theater

The French Parterre at Hillwood, Washington DC

The French Parterre


French Festival is a popular event and, due to parking limitations, we may not be able to accommodate all visitors at certain points during the day. Attendance is anticipated to be highest during mid-day, so we encourage you to consider arriving before 11 am or after 2 pm. French Festival activities run until 5 pm and the Mansion, gardens, and special exhibition, Cartier: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Dazzling Gems remain open until 7 pm.

Parking in the neighborhood is prohibited. Please help us be a good neighbor by using public transportation or carpooling. Hillwood is a one-mile walk from the VanNess/UDC Red Line Metro stop. Bordering the woodlands of Rock Creek Park, Hillwood makes a lovely biking destination. 


French Festival is presented in partnership with Alliance Française de Washington. All of Hillwood’s 2014 festivals are supported by a grant from the Sally Foss and James Scott Hill Foundation.  All exhibitions and programs are funded in part by the U.S. Commission on the Fine Arts through the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program.



Timed Activities

Dance Performance: A Lady's Guide to Beauty and Grace
Lunar Lawn
11 am, 2 pm, 4 pm

This dance piece looks at the advice from Thomas Jefferson to his daughter on the positive qualities in studying dance. Readings from late 18th century diaries and letters will add to the delightful context for presenting the standard dances required for a proper education of a Lady. Performed by New York Baroque Dance Company, featuring Caroline Copeland and Matthew Buffalo. Accompanied by Kevin Shannon on baroque guitar.

Music: Baroque Guitar
French Parterre
11:30 am, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm

Performed by Kevin Shannon

Workshop: Flirtation of the Fan
Lunar Lawn
12:30 pm, 3 pm
Learn to bow, offer and accept a hand, and use the language of the fan in this interactive lesson in courtly manners led by the New York Baroque Dance Company, featuring Caroline Copeland and Matthew Buffalo.

Gallery Talk en Français
Mansion: Marjorie Post’s Bedroom
11:30 am, 2 pm

Mansion: French Drawing Room
12 pm, 2:30 pm

Gallery Talks
Mansion: French Drawing Room
11 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm

Mansion: Marjorie Post’s Bedroom
12:30 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm 


Ongoing Activities

Performance: Strolling Mimes
Throughout the Gardens
10 am-1 pm; 2-5 pm
Enjoy the foolish antics and kinetic humor of Pierrot and Pierrette strolling around the estate.  Performed by Happenstance Theater, featuring Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell.

Performance: Strolling Nobles
Throughout the Gardens
10 am-1 pm; 2-5 pm
Join the whimsical frolicking and games of Madame ToutDeSuite and the Marquis Aubergine FouFou, fictional and eccentric members of the 18th century French Court.  Performed by Happenstance Theater, featuring Gwendolyn Grastorf and Matthew Pauli.

Lawn Games & Hats
Lunar Lawn
10 am-5 pm

Celebrate July 14 as the French do, with outdoor games and activities, including modern-day favorites and games enjoyed by French children in the 1700s. Adorn yourself with a mouche, or beauty patch, popular in 1700s France, and borrow a Pamela hat for your time at the Festival.

Hands-on Art Project: Shoemaker’s Workshop
10 am-5 pm

Gain inspiration from historic French fashions to design and decorate your own stylish paper shoes.

Meet the Alliance Française & Visit the Beauty Patch Parlor
Motor Court
10 am-5 pm
Learn about the Alliance's wealth of language classes and cultural programs, and adorn yourself with a mouche, or beauty patch, popular in 1700s France.

Classic Car Displays: French Citroëns
Motor Court
11 am-5 pm


Explore the Estate


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