In 1688, 176 French Huguenots landed on African soil and received land from the then Dutch government.
These Frenchmen, schooled in the art of wine-making, went to work planting vineyards, and so was born Franschhoek, one of Africa’s premier wine regions and a culinary capital.
To celebrate Franschhoek’s heritage of fine wine, the town hosts an annual festival called the Bastille Festival.
The festival runs for two days, on 15 and 16 July, concurrent with France’s National Day, la Fête nationale (Bastille Day).
The Franschhoek Bastille Festival was born in 1994 to celebrate the freedom given to all South Africans at the close of the apartheid era. It was a celebration of the storming of the apartheid bastille.
More than two decades later, food and wine lovers still gather in Franschhoek to celebrate freedom, by enjoying fine wine and mouth-watering food.
What can visitors to the Bastille Festival expect to enjoy?
Food and wine
The highlight of the Bastille Festival is the Food & Wine Marquee.
For two days (15 & 16 July) festival goers can enjoy excellent wine, as well as gourmet food from Franschhoek’s finest restaurants, at the Food & Wine Marquee, set against the backdrop of the Huguenot Monument.
Sip and nibble the day away while gazing at the gorgeous mountains.
The Bastille Festival offers a number of sporting events too.
On Saturday the 15th runners can partake in the Salomon Bastille Day Trail Run 2017.
The trail run event offers three distances:
- 25 km
- 35 km
- 50 km
This is a hardcore event, since the Franschhoek mountains might be covered in snow. Even if they’re not, it’s cold this time of the year.
The 50 km race is a Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) qualifier. The UTMB is a prestigious single-stage mountain ultra-marathon that takes place in the Alps.
For those who prefer the comfort of a saddle and a pair of pedals, there’s the Bastille Day MTB event, which offers three distances:
The Franschhoek Bastille Festival is a grand get-together for food and wine lovers. You’ll appreciate the warm Western Cape hospitality, great food and wide selection of exquisite wines.
For those with too much adrenalin, there are two sporting events, a trail run and an MTB race.
This is one of South Africa’s foremost food festivals. Don’t miss it.
Learn more at the official Bastille Festival website.