Bastille Festival, Franschhoek – This weekend!

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The annual Bastille Festival kicks is happening this Saturday and Sunday in Franschhoek. 

For those who don’t know, Bastille day in France is formerly known as The National Celebration and it is celebrated in remembrance of when the people of France stormed the Bastille Prison..  France at the time was ruled by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, Antoinette who is famous for (even though it may not be true) saying “Let them eat cake” when asked of the poor and middle-class ‘what should the people eat?”.  The country was in a state of bankruptcy and the people were fighting against their oppression.  The storming of the Bastille was in order to obtain ammunition and the prison represented Royal Authority and the King’s totalitarian power.  Bastille’s fall marked the beginning of the the French Revolution.

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And so today, the 14th July is a huge celebration (particularly in France) in honour of the day that began the revolution which resulted in the creation of the First French Republic (1792). 

Here in the Cape, South Africa, Franschhoek town came about when about 200 French Huguenots fled religious persecution in France and arrived in the Dutch run Cape.  They were allocated the land in the Franschhoek valley.  A lot of the people brought with them their wine making skills, hence all the wine farms, and a number of the farms are named after the original towns in France from where these settlers came (La Motte, Provence, Cabriere etc).  Franschhoek, therefore, has its own French history and we get to participate in annual Bastille Day festivities too!

There is a market all day Saturday and Sunday, barrel rolling competitions, boules competitions, the waiter’s race, the Solms Delta parade, trail runs and MTB events, berets for all and most importantly the Food & Wine tent (R150 a ticket, R550 for VIP).

So don your Red, Blue & White in honour of the French, if you don’t have a beret you can always get one there, and come enjoy the festivities in Franschhoek.

Picture courtesy of

For more information about the weekend’s events and activities, as well as a festival programme, visit the official websites – &


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