This is the exterior of the Liberty Hotel. It’s a former jail that was turned into Boston’s swankiest hotel a few years back. Keep that in mind as I tell you this story…
One year ago today I was living in a lovely apartment in Cambridge with a French couple and a lovely American female roommate. The French roommates often welcomed couch surfers, and since our guest that week was also French, Helene decided it would be fun to celebrate Bastille Day. The French Cultural Society was hosting a free cocktail hour at the Liberty Hotel. Awesome, right? I was reticent because my roommates and guest did not seem to get how upscale the Liberty Hotel was (they wanted to go in jeans) or how popular a night spot it was (after attending a wedding there, I left to find a line of over 200 people in club wear winding out of the door). Nevertheless, we went.
When we arrived, sure enough, it turned out to be a bigger affair than Helene anticipated. There was a line of over 300 people outside the hotel and it was not moving. We found a couple of Helene’s office friends who had been there almost an hour. They informed us that people were getting in—but they were on a list. VIPs.
So, essentially, the French Cultural Society of Boston advertised an open cocktail reception to the public, but was only letting their wealthy, connected VIP members in to a luxury hotel that used to be a jail. ON BASTILLE DAY.
Best Bastille Day story ever.