Bastille Festival

Sydney’s annual Bastille-inspired celebration returns with mulled wine, French eats, a 1.4-kilometre vino-tasting tour and and a six-metre-tall model of the Eiffel Tower.
Maxim Boon
Published on June 21, 2024


Francophiles, rejoice! Circular Quay and The Rocks will once again overflow with the spirit of liberté, egalité et fraternité — as well as lots and lots of cheese — for the annual Bastille Festival, a free-to-enter four-day celebration of all things French from Thursday, July 11 until Sunday, July 14. The event has been a winter mainstay in the Harbour City since 2012, so while it is technically in honour of France's national holiday, commemorating the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution, the fest has become just as much a local tradition as it is an international one.

This year, revellers can enjoy 124 free performances from 344 artists across seven locations around Sydney's historic harbourfront including live performances, DJ sets, pumping dance classes and even al fresco film screenings at Le Mulled Wine Cinema at Cadmans Cottage. From jazz and samba to cabaret and capoeira, the range of creative talents on show is set to be truly dazzling.

Food is always a major drawcard, with numerous stalls selling French street-eat favourites including ooey-gooey raclette, garlic-drenched escargot, freshly-made crêpes, hearty saucisson and of course, more fine fromage than you can shake a warm baguette at. This year, however, gastronomes can delve even deeper into France's rich culinary traditions via a series of cookery masterclasses. Highlights include a class from the coach of the 2019 Australian World Pastry Cup team, master pâtissier Yves Scherrer, showcasing his legendary soufflé and chocolate fondant recipes and sessions from chef Fabio Salvato, who'll be sharing techniques learned during his stints in Michelin-starred kitchens.

Still hungry? Another new addition this year, Le Diner Extraordinaire is a series of luxe meals at Quay Quarter Lanes, championing the culinary talents of this new hospitality hotspot. The collaborative four-course menu will include tapas from Deux Freres, Italian-inspired dishes from Bar Mammoni and a creamy dessert from Zini Contemporary Gelateria. There'll be different live entertainment accompanying each of the sessions, too, ranging from a classical symphony to a DJ and sax live-set combo.

If there's one thing the French love as much as dining, it's wine. The Bastille Festival's wine-tasting tour is an annual staple, spanning 1.4 kilometres and featuring bottles from top wine regions including the Loire Valley, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Alsace, Rhône Valley, Provence and Languedoc. Simply grab your Bastille Festival wine passport and branded tasting glass and tick off each drop on your self-guided tour.

One notable addition to this year's proceedings is the Bastille Olympic Village outside Customs House, where sculptures of iconic Parisian landmarks, including a six-metre-high Eiffel Tower, will transport Sydneysiders to the heart of the French capital. To mark the 2024 summer games — the first Summer Olympic Games to be held in France in a century — visitors will be able to take part in fencing, basketball, badminton, and archery workshops led by seasoned coaches. Finally, on Saturday, July 13, an Olympic Parade, featuring a procession of athletes, local organisations and roaming performers, will march from Circular Quay to the Rocks to celebrate the Olympic values of sportsmanship and community.

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