Nestled between towering mountains in the beautiful Cape winelands lies the magnificent Franschhoek Valley. This is the food and wine heartland of the country, where splendid wines are grown and our top chefs create international cuisine. Here breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, world class cuisine and the finest wines all combine to create lasting memories.
Spectacular vineyards cover these mountain slopes settled more than 300 years ago by the Huguenots, who brought with them their age-old French wine and food culture. This is a valley rich in history centered around a picturesque village of friendly, welcoming people.
The wonderful spectrum of visitor accommodation ranges from internationally renowned auberges and guest houses to self-catering cottages on wine farms and much more besides.
In the village you will find wonderful crafts, art and antique shops and galleries. The main street is lined with coffee shops and restaurants. Only 45 minutes from Cape Town Franschhoek is the ideal base while you explore the entire Cape winelands.
After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France in 1685, when Protestantism was outlawed, hundreds of so-called Huguenots fled their homeland, 277 of them arriving by ship at the Cape of Good Hope. Many of them were given land by the Dutch government in a valley called Oliphantshoek (Elephant’s Corner) – so named because of the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. Soon after they settled here, it become known as Franschhoek (French Corner).
This heritage lives on today with the Huguenot monument standing proudly at the top of the village. The museum nearby chronicles the history of those brave pioneers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell.
Driving into Franschhoek you will notice that most of the farms still bear their original French names and are usually complete with a spectacular Cape Dutch homestead, towering oaks and luscious vineyards. There are a variety of cellars, from small boutique wineries that cater for those in search of something unique, and large cellars that offer organized tours and conducted tastings.
Although it varies by year up to eight of South Africa’s “Top 100″ restaurants are in Franschhoek – the gourmet capital of the country. Leading chefs create everything from world-class cuisine to light meals using the freshest produce of the valley, complemented by the wonderful local wines. Linger a while and savour the hospitality, ambience and variety of our many great restaurants.
The picturesque village, ringed by tall mountains, offer the best accommodation – from stylish country auberge’s to small bed & breakfasts. Stay among the scenic vineyards with spectacular views or in the quaint village. Enjoy the hospitality of charming guest houses, comfortable and well-appointed self-catering cottages, intimate bed & breakfasts and internationally acclaimed country lodges in the most beautiful setting imaginable.
A host of shops and galleries line the Main Street, providing a wonderful choice of antiques, a world class collection of artworks and interesting bric-a-brac to browse through. There are also specialty shops such as fromagerie’s, a chocolate factory and a sofa maker.
For the more energetic there are numerous walking trails in the surrounding mountains, cycling and horse-riding. There are also a number of trout fishing spots in various streams and dams on the surrounding farms.
For a wine tour with a difference hop onto a horse and visit a few of the Vignerons de Franschhoek.
If you’re in the vicinity in July, try to visit Franschhoek over the weekend closest to Bastille Day (14th July) when the village celebrates its French heritage with a wine and gourmet fair and lots, lots more.