Franschhoek Wine Valley

Tag Archive: Franschhoek Bastille Festival

  1. Franschhoek’s Virtual Bastille Festival A Resounding Success

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    Not even COVID-19 could keep one of South Africa’s longest running festivals from taking place this year. The Franschhoek Bastille Festival, which was launched in 1994, takes place annually over the same weekend of the French Bastille festivities, and sees thousands of festival goers fill the streets of Franschhoek to celebrate the valley’s French heritage.

    However, this year saw a different turn of events, and instead of cancelling the organisers saw this an opportunity to take the festival to the people. A 10-day countdown, which commenced on 1 July, took viewers through a virtual journey of the Franschhoek Valley as each day revealed a new experienced. Some of the experiences included cellar tours, a walk through the garden of Babylonstoren, a guided tour of the village, a sneak peek at the collection of vintage cars at the Franschhoek Motor Museum as well as the highly popular cook along with Franschhoek local and celebrity chef, Reuben Riffel. Linked to the daily reveals were unbelievable offers, affording the public to make use of unforgettable deals. Although only revealed on the day these offers are still available until the end of July.

    Chef Reuben Riffel presented an online cooking demo on 5 July 2020.

    Saturday, 11 July, which would have been the date for this year’s event, saw the virtual festivities wrap up with a day filled with Franschhoek celebrations. A sabrage, cooking demo, virtual wine tasting and live music show were all part of the day’s line up. 

    “With no blueprint to work off we didn’t know what to expect, but we were blown away by the response. We had the opportunity to engage with followers who, in the past, wouldn’t have been able to attend the festival, and simply with the click of a button they were able to experience the valley through our eyes,” says Franschhoek Wine Valley CEO, Reinher Behrens. “Not only was engagement with our followers crucial, but we have also grown our social media following substantially across all of our platforms, which these days is key in getting your message out to the greater public. We reached just over 500 000 people in total via our relevant social media platform with this campaign.”

    As one of the country’s leading winelands destinations this has certainly paved the way for future virtual festivals. Watch this space for more details on upcoming Franschhoek events. 

  2. Vive Le Franschhoek

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    Continuing to embrace our new normal has also included hosting our annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival, but in an entirely different format. Instead of the traditional festival we started on 1 July by taking viewers on a virtual journey through the valley. Each day we revealed a new Franschhoek experienced linked with amazing deals from some of our members. This week we continue our journey, which concludes with a jam packed day of Bastille Festival inspired events on Saturday, 11 July. Kickstart the day with a short lesson in French and end the day with a live music show. For a full line up of this week’s  programme visit, and don’t forget to check out the offers. The perfect opportunity to book that much needed getaway or restock your cellar.

    La Motte celebrating this year’s Franschhoek Bastille Festival

    Although a cold front is predicted towards the end of this week, should it for any reason bypass the Cape and bless us with perfect Winter weather, why not venture to the valley to soak up some of the Bastille spirit. Most of our restaurants have resumed trading allowing you to stop in for a delicious meal. Or simply take a leisurely stroll down Main Road, taking in the red, white and blue as we embrace our French heritage. 

    After almost four months of not being able to operate The Franschhoek Theatre is back and can’t wait to welcome visitors back for their weekly movie screenings. According to the relaxed regulations under Level 3 cinemas have been allowed to resume business. Their screenings resumed on 1 July and to ensure that the regulations are adhered only 20 people are allowed at a time. Not the end of the world as this allows for that ultimate in private movie experience.

    Attention aspiring chefs and foodies. Join Chef Shirley Guy in her kitchen for a live streamed Baking Master Class, which is in support of the Franschhoek Hospitality Academy. Perfectly suited to all levels of baking, the recipes in each of these classes are guaranteed to inspire you. Muso Carol Thorns, South Africa’s leading electric cellist, will welcome you with a streamed performance, adding extra excitement to each class. Although the first class took place on 4 July there are still two classes left, namely the 11th and 18th of July, and start at 12pm. Registration for each class is R300 and all funds raised will go towards purchasing a refrigerator and freezer for the new training kitchen as well as data for online learning. Find out more… 

    Chef Shirley Guy

    During these times of uncertainty the team at Together Franschhoek continues to shine a light on those who need it most. To date they have processed 92 935kg of food and fruit, 63 800 hours have been clocked by an amazing team of volunteers, a total of 19 handwashing systems have been set up in and around Franschhoek, as 14 community soup kitchens operate around the clock on a daily basis. The generous donations received have helped to feed approximately 2 000 people on a daily basis.

    Just R250 can feed a family in need. To learn more about this amazing feeding scheme follow Together Franschhoek on Facebook for all of the details.

  3. Franschhoek Bastille Festival: Embracing The Nouveau Normal

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    July is Bastille month and celebrating its 27th year since it was launched, the Franschhoek Bastille Festival, will still be taking place, but with a twist. This year the festival comes to you. 

    Franschhoek Wine Valley will bring you a virtual Bastille festival, which allows you to enjoy Franschhoek’s offerings in the comfort of your home. An exciting line up is on the cards and all will be revealed in time.

    This promises to be a Franschhoek Bastille Festival like no other, embracing our new normal and celebrating all things French. Get your red, white and blue outfit ready and follow all our social media channels for an unforgettable experience.

    Watch the press for further details. 

  4. A newbie’s guide to the Franschhoek Bastille Festival

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    For those that have never had the chance to experience the Franschhoek Bastille Festival before, you absolutely HAVE to get yourself over to the historical little village of Franschhoek this weekend! The town comes alive in a BIG way so don’t miss out – it is certainly the only time of the year where you will be forgiven for wearing a beret. You will also hardly recognise our village as every shop owner, wine farm and restaurant dress up their shop fronts in blue, white and red creating a festive atmosphere in the main road.

    Even though there will be much to do in the village, the action all takes place at the Food and Wine Marquee. Located at the top of the Franschhoek Huguenot Monument a large marquee tent awaits you. Inside you will get to experience and taste the wine of more than 25 of our Franschhoek Vignerons.

    Delicious gourmet treats will be on offer by some of our local Franschhoek based restaurants. We also have our local craft breweries here as well as our local coffee roaster. The great thing is that we keep it authentic. You will only find Franschhoek-based stands in the tent, so when you support our stands you know that you are directly contributing to our local economy. You will also get a unique taste of what only Franschhoek can offer, which makes your experience in the tent a really special one. We are so proud of what our valley can offer and we can’t wait to share this with you!

    On Saturday Newton and Co will be playing in the Food and Wine Marquee, while famous rock star Karen Zoid will be entertaining crowds in the marquee on Sunday. 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 Porcupine Ridge barrel rolling competition. This event always ensures loads of fun for spectators so don’t miss out!

    On both days Martinus, the quirky ciracuture artist will be in the tent ready to capture your Bastille Festival portrait. This is an awesome keepsake to take home with you too!

    New this year is the Franschhoek Bastille Festival Best Dressed Competition! Be sure to dress up in your finest red, white and blue and come take your photo at our selfie wall. Simply post your photo on social media by using the hashtag #FHKBastilleFest and stand a chance of winning great prizes each day.

    Finally we’d like to remind everyone to be responsible and to follow the Bastillion’s Way this year again! We have many transport options available so please don’t drink and drive. Visit our website for more information. And if you still want to make an entire weekend of it, please contact our information office for accommodation options at 021 876 2861 or visit our website at We promise you, you will not want to leave once you are here! There will be safe parking up at the Huguenot Monument next to the Food and Wine marquee.

    We are so excited to share our local Franschhoek wines, food and experiences with you this weekend! See you at the Food and Wine Marquee on 13 & 14 July! Tickets are available online at Webtickets at R395 per person and kids under 18 enter for free. Visit our website at for more information. Au revoir friends!

  5. Vive la France! Vive la Franschhoek

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    July is significant to Franschhoek in so many ways. The most notable being the Franschhoek Bastille Festival, which celebrates our region’s French heritage. Did you know that the valley was originally settled in 1688 by French Huguenot refugees who brought with them their age-old French wine and food culture?  Most of the Huguenots who settled in the area  were given land by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek (‘Elephant’s Corner’), so named due to the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. The name soon changed to Franschhoek, with many of the settlers naming their acquired farms after the areas in France from which they came. La Motte, La Cotte, Cabrière, Provence Chamonix, Dieu Donné and La Dauphine were among some of the first established farms – most of which still retain their original farm houses, which, to date, have evolved into successful wineries.

    Leeu House

    The heritage of Franschhoek is preserved by the Huguenot Monument, situated at the top of the village. The museum nearby chronicles the history of the first settlers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell. The Cape Dutch architecture in much of the village is unspoilt, with restrictions having been placed on the extent of renovations and new construction in order to preserve the spirit of the original settlers to the area. These historic Franschhoek characteristics are one of the many reasons we are proud to celebrate our French ancestry.

    Franschhoek Huguenot Monument

    However, for two days in the year we get to take our French heritage to the next level when the village (and most of the valley) are dressed in their finest red, white and blue attire as we join in the fun and festivities of the annual Franschhoek Bastille Festival. This year’s event takes place over the weekend of 13 and 14 July and promises to be a social calendar highlight. Festival goers visiting the Food & Wine Marquee are invited to dress according to the theme – your finest red, white and blue French inspired outfit – to stand the chance of winning the Franschhoek Bastille Festival Best Dressed title. Sample the wide selection of Franschhoek wines on offer or treat your taste buds to the variety of delicious gourmet fare available to purchase from some of the Valley’s well-known restaurants.  For all the need-to-know details visit

    Franschhoek Bastille Festival

    During the weekend of 26 to 28 July our annual Franschhoek Mystery Weekend will take place. Ideally suited to couples your weekend is pre-planned from check in to check out, and hold the promise of surprise, relaxation and pure indulgence. Your experience starts with an exclusive (and unconventional) check in event planned for all guests. Mingle over a glass of wine before receiving your special Mystery Weekend box, which contains all of the exciting details as to where you’ll be staying, where you’ll be dining and what you’ll be experiencing. A fun and informal evening where you are welcomed to the valley in true Franschhoek fashion.

    Although most of your weekend is pre-planned there is ample time to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the village to browse the art galleries, boutiques, artisanal chocolate shops and craft beer ‘watering holes’ you’re bound to discover. Choose between three fabulous packages on offer, which are categorized according to their accommodation offerings. For bookings or queries please contact Carmen Arendse on

    Franschhoek Mystery Weekends

    Should you be unable to visit the valley during these dates we invite to explore what we have during the remainder of July as we are #OpenForWinter and some of our members are running unbelievable Winter promotions. Our website – – has more information on who is offering what during this campaign. Although this tends to be the colder of the Winter months the odd crisp clear day is perfect for exploring the outdoors, or simply enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee at one of the restaurants situated along the Main Road.

    The Owner’s cottage at Grande Provence

    Winter in Franschhoek is without a doubt magical!

  6. Add to your travel bucket list with some of these Franschhoek highlights

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    Compliments of the New Year and may 2019 be one of discovering new and exciting destinations as well as revisiting some of your old favourites. With so much happening in and around the Franschhoek Wine Valley this year we wouldn’t want you to miss out on anything. Whether you’re a seasoned Franschhoek visitor, or completely new to our region, you definitely need to add us to your travel bucket list.

    Franschhoek, South Africa

    To give you a bit of a head start when planning your 2019 travels we would like to remind you to save the date of some our social calendar highlights taking place this year. We kickstart our festival year with Franschhoek Summer Wines, which takes place on Saturday, 2 February at the breathtaking Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards. Join us as we taste the Vigneron’s choices for Summer, as well as discover a few new gems.

    Franschhoek Summer Wines

    Book enthusiasts can look forward to the Franschhoek Literary Festival (17 – 19 May), while in July we celebrate all things French with the Franschhoek Bastille Festival (13 & 14 July).

    Franschhoek Bastille Festival

    Discover Franschhoek’s many wine estates as you travel from farm to farm during Franschhoek Uncorked (14 & 15 September). Stock up on new release wines (and other favourites) from our Vignerons, whilst discovering new wine estates you have not had the chance to visit yet.

    Franschhoek Uncorked

    After much needed rains the valley is looking spectacular again, and 2019 welcomes back Franschhoek Open Gardens (26 & 27 October). Our numerous art galleries in and around the valley will be showcasing the finest art from local and international artists during Art Franschhoek (26 October – 23 November). Finally we invite you to join us as we celebrate the end of the year with one of SA’s premier social calendar events being the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival (30 November & 1 December). For more info and where to book visit our website.

    Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival

    Remember to book accommodation during our festival weekends as soon as possible as the weekends tend to fill up quite quickly. Opt for one of the village’s luxuriously quaint, yet affordable B&B’s, guest houses or boutique hotels, and discover all that Franschhoek has to offer. Your weekend experience should allow you ample time for a leisurely stroll down the main road, uncovering world-class shops, art galleries, boutiques or locally produced items at the Saturday market. Restaurants in and around the valley, which range from award-winning establishments to charming village dining eateries, add the final touches to the ultimate winelands getaway.

    Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant

    If you haven’t experienced Franschhoek in Winter you’re missing out, and as 2019 is the year of new discoveries, why not experience the beauty of the region during this season. During the colder months Franschhoek transforms into a magical ‘Winter Wonderland’, as not only does the valley look spectacular during this time, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to take advantage of value-added offerings, to enjoy a glass of wine in front of the fire place, to retreat to a quiet place, to experience some of Franschhoek’s world-class eateries. For those enjoying the outdoors, exploring the mountains by bike or foot during this time is mesmerizing.

    The Franschhoek Mystery Weekends also take place during Winter and if you have not yet had the opportunity to experience one of these weekends, we invite you to save the date for these as follows:
    27 and 28 July
    24 and 25 August
    27 and 28 September

    For those based in Gauteng, the annual Winter Sculpture Fair, which takes places over the weekend of 11 and 12 May at the Nirox Foundation Sculpture Park is without a doubt a feast for all the senses. Some of Franschhoek’s finest restaurants and wineries set up shop alongside artisanal cheese, charcuterie and chocolate stands, allowing visitors to purchase goods whilst admiring the exquisite sculptures on display throughout the park.

    The Winter Sculpture Fair

    Whatever the season, Franschhoek is a must on any destination wishlist. With an abundance of world-class offerings there is no excuse for Franschhoek not to be on your bucket-list this year. For more information on our festivals, as well as experiences visit our website at

  7. France and South Africa celebrate culture, creativity and innovation

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    France – South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013

    Johannesburg, 10 May 2012 – A multifaceted bilateral collaboration between France and South Africa, concluded last year by the heads of states of France and South Africa, moves into high gear this winter as the first French Season in South Africa kicks off.

    The essence of this collaboration and some detail of the rich programme of events that South Africans can expect were outlined at a media briefing held in Newtown, Johannesburg this morning.
    The French Season in South Africa will open formally in July (although there will be some activities in June) and continue into November. It will be followed by a South African Season in France between May and December 2013.

    “We are proud to be the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to participate in such a wide-ranging collaboration with France. The reciprocal national Seasons, which will be jointly organised by our countries, concentrate on culture and the arts but they also include sport, trade and novel approaches in the fields of education, the sciences and business,” said South African Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile.

    “The highest authorities in our two countries requested that this edition of the Seasons be organised to reinforce the strong, deep bonds that unite us in the field of culture, to discover new facets of this relationship, and to forge long-term ties. These Seasons also represent an opportunity to develop our relations in many areas beyond the arts, and to shape a future in which solidarity and a better understanding of one another guide the relationship between our two peoples,” said Xavier Darcos President of the Institut français.

    Laurent Clavel, French Commissioner-General for the Seasons, said: “The French Season will offer South Africans a glimpse of the cultural scene in modern day France, which is contemporary and dynamic, and embraces the diversity of our society. In the areas of science, education and trade we will focus on areas of mutual interest and once again bring some of our most innovative work to the fore.”

    Mr Clavel said that similar Seasons with other countries, including India, Brazil, China, Russia, Japan and many others, had increased understanding between France and these nations.

    Bongani Tembe, South African Commissioner-General for the Seasons, said that more than 70 projects, exhibitions, concerts, performances, colloquiums and interactive sessions were being planned across South Africa during the six-month French Season.
    “There is something for almost everyone. In the field of arts and culture alone, the Season will cater for lovers of dance, theatre, film, the visual arts, literature and a wide variety of music genres. It will appeal to young and old and to traditionalists as well as the cultural vanguard.

    “France and South Africa sit in different hemispheres, yet they have much in common: cultural diversity, innovative economies, excellent universities, strong sporting traditions, scientific and technological expertise. The French Season in South Africa 2012 will explore these common interests in a variety of different ways, and in doing so, and will strengthen ties between our two countries.

    “In many cases French and South African artists will get together to write, compose or perform something completely new, something special born of their interaction. What you, the audience, will see is a creation that is both French and South African.”

    In other instances, the French Season will enable South Africans to experience French exhibitions and performances that might never have made their way to South Africa otherwise. The first meeting of the France-South Africa Bilateral Committee on Innovation will also form part of the French Season.

    (See accompanying document, 4_Selected Highlights, for details on selected elements of the programme or visit

    Issued on behalf of:

    France – South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013
    Institut français and the National Arts Council of South Africa
    For more information contact:
    Alex van Essche at Meropa Communications
    Tel: 011 506 7300 Cell: 082 321 1167