Franschhoek puts best foot forward for Bastille Festival

Franschhoek puts best foot forward for Bastille Festival

The Franschhoek Wine Valley, South Africa’s leading wine and food destination, will once again be hosting the annual Bastille Festival over the weekend of July 14 and 15, where locals and visitors will be celebrating the Valley’s centuries-old French Huguenot heritage.

In keeping with its French heritage the area has officially been accredited to be part of an exciting collaboration between France and South Africa, the SA-French Seasons 2012-13. This multifaceted bilateral agreement was concluded last year between the heads of state of these two countries, and will commence this winter as the first French Season in South Africa kicks off. The French Season in South Africa will commence formally during July and continue to November.

The collaboration has allowed the Bastille Festival event organisers the perfect opportunity to take this social calendar highlight to a new level. Visitors to the festival will have the chance to meet 10 winemakers from the Rhône-Alpes Region in France, who will be showcasing some of their finest wines. These French wines will be available for sampling at two wine tastings organized specifically for members of the public, as well as in a specially demarcated VIP marquee, adjacent to the main marquee during the festival.

The public tastings, which will include Rhône-Alpes wines alongside a selection of Vignerons de Franschhoek wines, will take place on Saturday and Sunday at Grande Provence at a cost of R395 per person. Booking is essential as seating is limited to 100 people. Tickets for this special opportunity also include access to the Bastille Food and Wine Marquee, valued at R150 per person. Tickets also include a delicious platter of French inspired food.

The Food and Wine Marquee, which will be located closer to the village this year, is open from 12pm until 5pm, and as always is the focal point of attracting visitors to the hub of activity. Taking a leisurely stroll, festival goers will be treated to a selection of stalls as they make their way to the marquee. A popular meeting place, the marquee allows visitors the chance to meet up with friends while enjoying fine wines from some of Franschhoek’s award-winning wine estates, and indulge in mouth-watering dishes created by the Valley’s highly acclaimed chefs.

The R150 per person entrance fee allows one access to the Bastille Food and Wine Marquee, which includes a tasting glass and a complimentary booklet of tasting coupons. Thereafter all tastings will be charged on consumption.

Other major festival attractions will include boules – the largest and longest running boules competition of its kind, – The Waiters’ Race, the Franschhoek minstrel parade, as well as the popular barrel-rolling contest. A farmers’ market, craft market stalls, musicians and children’s activities are also included in the line up of festival celebrations. Visitors to Marche de Franschhoek, located in the Town Hall, can look forward to an array of French and French inspired food and lifestyle products.

For those wanting to appreciate French heritage in comfort, the Screening Room at Le Quartier Français will be screening French movies throughout the weekend. Franschhoek’s restaurants will also be offering special menus exclusively prepared for the festival.
Visitors interested in making a proper weekend of it can book into one of the town’s luxuriously quaint, yet affordable B&B’s or guest houses, and discover all that Franschhoek has to offer.

* Book tickets directly at Booking is essential as tickets to the marquees are limited. Once the venues are full no further patrons will be admitted.
For more information as well as details about special Bastille events planned for Friday July 13, visit, or call the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861.

Five lucky readers can each win double tickets to the festival on Sunday July 15 by emailing the words “Bastille Festival” in the subject line to by Monday July 9 at 11am. You need to be a newsletter subscriber to enter. Send an email to to become one.