By Noah Kaufman
Updated June 09, 2014
Credit: © Sud de France. Photo by Charles Roussel

The Sud de France festival begins in New York tonight, kicking off three weeks of French food, wine and parties starting with a Paul Liebrandt cassoulet cruise down the East River. Restaurants likeContra, Navy and Reynard will offer Tasting tables as well. The French clearly know how to have a good time. That’s probably why they outlawed work after 6. So if you want to party like the French this month, here are some pointers to keep in mind, with photographic evidence from last year's Sud de France fest .

1. Beyond striped shirts, try a hat.


The festival is going to celebrate the Languedoc-Roussillon region, which is all the way down on the Mediterranean coast. The straw hat is a must down there if you want to keep the sun off your neck. It also gives you something to throw in the air at the end of the party.

2. Don’t be afraid to cozy up to people.


The French aren’t nearly as interested in personal space as Americans are. So get comfortable.

3. You have to eat at least one cassoulet.


And preferably 4-10. Paul Liebrandt will actually be making a giant version of this cassoulet to serve 450 people at the opening party on the water.

4. Season everything with anchovies.


Act like you're on the Mediterranean coast and serve fish, including some of the best sardines and anchovies you'll ever get your hands on.

5. Make sure your cocktails are colorful.


Like this brilliant concoction of Aperol, Muscat and sparkling wine, made by Estela’s Michael Klein at a preview last night.

6. Drink wine at lunch.


Your average French person puts away 1.2 bottles of wine a week so increase your capacity via day drinking. At a recent panel at NYC's French Institute Alliance Francaise, chef Alain Ducasse shed light on a major difference between diners at his Benoit bistro in Paris versus its American counterpart. They drink wine, we drink iced tea. Sad really.

7. If there’s music, just start dancing.


The French swing in more ways than you can guess. Gypsy swing goes back to the 1920’s when Django, the guitar player with only a couple working two fingers, not the Jamie Foxx one, made it popular