Bastille day is a huge day of celebration in Paris, of course, but it's also responsible for long nights of partying in cities around the world. Perhaps nowhere is it observed more enthusiastically than in San Francisco, where French flags and red-white-and-blue balloons spring up every July 14 in a two-block downtown area that includes Café Claude and Gitane in Claude Lane, Le Central and Café de la Presse on Bush Street and Café Bastille and Plouf in Belden Alley. People flock to the area to socialize, listen to French music and drink (mostly) French wine. It's become so popular that Belden Alley (left) now has a cover charge, but elsewhere you can just hang out (though if you want dinner, it's advisable to have a reservation). People definitely get into the spirit: one fellow showed up for dinner at Café de la Presse in a Louis Quatorze-style wig. It being San Francisco, hardly any one paid any attention to him.