Things to do at the Franschhoek Bastille Festival

Posted on 10 July 2023 By David Henning

It’s that time of year again when you can be proud to be a Francophile as South Africa’s little French Town of Franshoek brings out all the stops for its annual Bastille Festival on the 15-16 July.

Bastille Franschhoek

If you are a newbie to this annual festival, the day is not just a day for your friends obsessed with all things French to relentlessly use the French phrases they learnt on Duolingo, but an action-packed day in Franschhoek.

Fun fact

Bastille Day celebrates the day when a group of revolutionaries stormed Paris’s Bastille Prison on 14 July 1789. This action ushered in the French Revolution.

Things to do at Franschhoek Bastille Festival

Don a Beret

Start growing your moustache now (if you can), and get the beret out from the back of the cupboard. Don’t worry if it’s red no one will assume that you’re an EFF supporter on Bastille Day and the best dressed stands the chance of winning a return trip to France!

To enter, look out for the Air France air hostess in town, or she might find you, over the course of the weekend. There are also great prizes for second and third place.

Wine and more wine

Tickets for the festival are R280 and you get eight coupons for wines at the marquee next to the town hall. All of Franschhoek’s wine farms will be there and eight will likely be more than enough unless you are a serious wine connoisseur.

If tickets for the festival are sold out, don’t fret. All the wine farms will be open over the weekend and will be serving French-inspired food so you can visit your favourite estates.

Village market

Picture: Flickr Commons/ Franschhoek Wine Valley

In front of the church, Franschoek’s market will be abuzz with local crafts and food stands. There will also be live music, so you are bound to be entertained.

The events in town are also kid-friendly, with playgrounds in selected areas. Galleries and museums are also open over the weekend.

Get active

There are five trail runs for every level of fitness, from a 10 know to a challenging 50km. The start and finish zone will be at the Old Bells Lodge at the edge of the Berg River Dam, with much of the trail run taking place around the dam. For more information or tickets, visit the run’s website here.

If you prefer to find your own path or to walk at your own pace, be sure to visit the La Rochelle Nature Reserve near town. If it’s cold enough, you might be enough snow to build a snowman on the peak.


There will be a constant flood of entertainment in the centre of town, with live music scheduled throughout the festival. When you visit the marquee on Saturday you will be able to cheer on our local Franschhoek Vignerons teams who will be competing in the annual barrel rolling competition.

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Also read: Discover an untouched wilderness: hiking trails in the Cederberg




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