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'French Maids' Fill 18th Street For Bastille Day

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Crowds gather to listen to King Louis XVI's opening remarks at the Bastille Day block party and French maids' race in D.C.
Patrick Madden
Crowds gather to listen to King Louis XVI's opening remarks at the Bastille Day block party and French maids' race in D.C.

At a popular block party in Adams Morgan, hundreds had gathered to see an unusual take on the traditional Bastille Day "waiters' races" that take place on July 14 around the world.

Jim Ball, co-owner of L'Enfant Café on 18th Street NW, is sporting a powdered wig, royal costume and an impressive accent.

"Today I am not dressed up as Jim Ball, but as King Louis 16th, the king of all of France," he says in convincing broken English.

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the café to watch the "French maids" relay race, a twist on the traditional race. The event is in its 7th year.

"We have 40 people, men and women," says Ball. "The women are sexy -- the men are not so much -- running up and down the street doing a race."

Ball says he believes his Bastille Day race will become a Washington tradition.

"I say it has all the fun and excitement of the Grand Prix, but none of the elegance," he says.

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