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Friends drinking wine in Circular Quay at the Bastille Festival
Photograph: Supplied/Bastille Festival

Vive la révolution (and la raclette) as the Bastille Festival returns

This year’s French celebration marks nine years of breathing joie de vivre into Sydney’s winter

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After a two years of postponements due to you-know-what, the Bastille Festival’s formidable celebration of all things French and Gallic-adjacent will once more take the Harbour City by storm. We’re so ready to rally to the cause and muster our rebellious spirit over four fabulous days, from July 14-17, for a feast of fine wine, cheese, crêpes and more as we get into the swing of Christmas in July for all Francophiles.

Regulars returning this July include the Parisian Foodie Village in front of Customs House, where you can find all the traditional French foodie treats. There are also 50 pop-up restaurants and terraces – stalls where you can savour the best French food. But that’s not all. Just say oui to these four highlights…

Tefal Chef Village
Photograph: Supplied

Tefal Chef Village

The Tefal Chef Village set up at Customs House is the heart of the Bastille Festival. It’s where you’ll find the main stage, presenting live music that embraces the spirit of France, and a fantastique selection of craft beers from the coolest French breweries. Even better, major sponsor Tefal’s ambassador, Justine Schofield, has created a Snail Bourguignon that you will be able to make yourself inside the Tefal activation. Frenchies Bistro will serve their twist on Michelin-starred chef Christian Consta’s cassoulet de Montalbanet. Mode Kitchen & Bar are bringing the cheese and truffle toasties, and street food stars Meraki Eats will dish up duck confit, lobster thermidor and côte de bœuf tacos. With 30-plus dishes to try, make sure you leave room for Passion Tree Velvet’s éclairs.

For the launch of their brand new C4, Citroën presents Raclette Melted Cheese Igloos. Most folks think of raclette as a proudly Swiss tradition, which it most certainly is. But the melty cheesy goodness dolloped liberally on potatoes, ham, salami and pickles originally hails from the feudal County of Savoy, the Western Alps region that straddled what we now know as France and Switzerland. Whoever claims ultimate responsibility (it’s a bit like the Oz/NZ lamington wars), what we know for sure is that French citizens can’t get enough of this perfect winter warmer for the soul. The Bastille Festival makes this marvellously DIY gooey morsel even more magical by dishing it up with mulled wine in private igloos – set up outside the MCA and replete with fire pits – for up to eight of your besties. Book yours here tout de suite.

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French folks from all corners of the globe take their love of fine wine incredibly seriously. (Honestly, just try and call Australian sparkling ‘Champagne’ and see what happens.) But if you want to blend in like a pro, you can ensure you’re in the know by popping on your best walking shoes for the 1.4km Bastille Wine Walk. Forget your Aussie passport, you’ll be presented with a French replacement to guide you along this self-guided tour taking in eight bars, each representing one of France’s most renowned wine regions. An expert at each stop will present you with a fine drop you can sink in your very own Bastille glass. Book your wine walk here.

Why choose between wine and cheese when you can and absolutely should indulge in both at the same time? And if you’re going to go all out like a bon vivant, why not do it in seriously chic Parisian style? This long table-style feast is hosted in a private heritage building in The Rocks, with the VIP guest list limited to 26 people per real fine feed. Guided by a sommelier at the top of their game, you’ll learn how to pair two of France’s most enduring loves like a pro over the course of two glorious hours. Eight amazing cheeses doled out with plenty of baguettes will each be married with a magnificent wine as you learn all about the country’s brightest wine regions and how best to serve their greatest exports. Find out more here.

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