In 2019, Stephane Raveneau introduced Sweet Paris Créperie & Café to San Antonio when he opened the French restaurant at The Shops at La Cantera. A native of Brittany, France, Raveneau had lived in the New York and Connecticut areas for many years before finding his way to Texas. He says opening the restaurant here was a good decision and is hoping to expand soon.
During his time in the northeast, Raveneau attended numerous French festivals where all things French were celebrated. “There is a huge French community in New York,” says Raveneau. “The festivals attracted them as well as Francophiles who wanted to experience French culture and food.”
When Raveneau lived in Connecticut, he created his own French festival, wanting to offer the same experiences he’d had in New York. Initially his festival attracted about 1,000 people growing over the next five years, reaching more than 16,000 revelers.
It is that atmosphere Raveneau is replicating in San Antonio. In 2022, he hosted the first French Festival at The Shops at La Cantera highlighting the French community with a Bocci Ball Tournament, French classic car display, live French Gypsy Jazz music, restaurant and retail partners including Brasserie Mon Chou Chou, L’Occitane en Provence, Le Madeleine, Tardif’s and Sur la Table.
Raveneau intends for San Antonio’s French Festival to become an annual event held on the Saturday nearest Bastille Day (July 14). He says the 2023 iteration will feature more vendors and activities. For example, the Bocci Tournament will include an additional court so that 22 teams can participate. He also plans to have more musicians and a children’s area, so that families can enjoy the experience together. Admission to the festival is free and all drinks and food are sold for $5, making for a family-friendly event.“
It is not meant to be a money maker,” Raveneau explains. “It is simply to bring together French natives who live here now and anyone who appreciates all that France has to offer. The participating restaurants and stores are in it for the same reason – to share our culture.”