Franschhoek  (Dutch for 'French Corner') is a city in the Cape Winelands of South Africa.
The Franschhoek valley with the town of Franschhoek nestled between the mountains.
Contrary to popular belief, Franschhoek was not founded by French Huguenot settlers, who fled religious persecution in France following the revoking of the Edict of Nantes. The Dutch East India Company had settled Dutch farmers in the Cape in 1652 and before long they made their way inland and Simon van der Stel had settled on his farm, Stel se Bos (modern day Stellenbosch). He explored further and found the valley where Franschhoek is currently situated. It was full of wild animals including many elephants. He named it Oliphantshoek and settled a number of Dutch farmers in the area to grow fruit.
The Protestant French Huguenots escaping persecution fled to many countries including Canada and North America but the majority went to the Netherlands. The Netherlands being a rather small country, found it difficult to cope with the influx of the thousands of refugees and when Simon van der Stel was requesting more farmers to join him in the Cape, they offered the opportunity to the French to find a new life in the new world. They made their way to the Southern tip of Africa over a period of 3 years and Simon v d Stel settled them initially in the Oliphantshoek Valley. The name Franschhoek only become used more than a 100 years later.
Even though none of the local residents speak French, many of the street names, restaurant names and wine farms in the village have French names. The farms were named by the Huguenots after the region they were from in France and these names still exist today to a large extent.
Franschhoek makes a serious attempt at being the food and wine capital of South Africa and there are many fine restaurants. It's a great place to relax, enjoy top food and wine, in a spectacular atmosphere.
Only one road (R45) leads to Franschhoek from Stellenbosch or Paarl. For a more scenic drive, you can enter Franschhoek over the "Franschhoek Pass" - a spectacular mountain route leading into Franschhoek from Villiersdorp.
There is a taxi service (small buses with loud music and often loud drivers) from Stellenbosch and from Paarl.
There's no train service.
Franschhoek Wine Tram-bus.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour is one way to discover the Franschhoek Valley. Passengers aboard the tram journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus stopping at some of South Africa’s oldest wine estates. The tour includes a narration focusing on the history of Franschhoek and wine cultivation in the valley, complimentary wine tastings and unparalleled views of the valley and vineyards. Franschhoek Wine Tram, Main Rd, Franschhoek (Ticket office located in Main Road Franschhoek as you enter the village or at the River Cafe), ☎ +27 (0)21 300 0338 ([email protected]), . edit
There are many other ways to experience the vinyards including by mountain bike, a popular form of exercise in the area, as well as by horse-back and by Tuk Tuk or through a guided driven tour.
For more information on various guided tours, hiking, history and cultural activities, contact Franschhoek Adventures on 072 999 8581 or [email protected]
Franschhoek is a place to relax. Stroll up or down the main street and take your time to have a look around. The mountains surrounding Franschhoek are spectacular and there are many places you can reach within easy driving distances.
- Huguenot Memorial and Museum, Corner of Hugenot&Lambrecht St, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-2532, . M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 2PM-5PM. R10. (-33.914695,19.123721) edit
- The Franschhoek Motor Museum, L'Ormarins Wine Farm, ☎ +27 (0)21 874-9000 ([email protected], fax: +27 (0)21 874-9100), . Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa, Su 10AM-3PM. edit
- Rent a bike and ride through the village and the nearby vineyards.
- Go fishing at the Berg River Dam or the water reservoir in Reservoir Street.
- Go wine tasting in some of the many excellent wineries. Some are reachable on foot from the village; you can use a shuttlebus or arrange a wine tour for those that aren't
- Eat at some of the fantastic restaurants in the village or on the wine estates.
- Do a history walking tour or a Township Cultural walking tour.
- Winelands Experience, at Place Vendome, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-4042, . 8:30AM-5PM. Wine tours, scenic tours, chauffeur drives, airport transfers, village transfers, car hire and more. edit
- Weinprobe Südafrika, Stellenbosch, ☎ +27 781811305, . Exklusive Deutschsprachige Tagestouren und Weintouren in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek und Paarl. edit
- Franschhoek Adventures, Shop 5, 62 Huguenot Rd, ☎ +27 (0)72 999 8581, . 9:00AM-5PM. Mountain Bike Wine tours and Village tours, Adventure Bus Sight-seeing tours, Historical walking tours, Township and Cultural tours and more. edit
There are several outstanding shops in Franschhoek. It is fast becoming the place to shop with several excellent and unusual family run businesses.
- Indian summer - Ladies Boutique which sells dresses cashmere wraps semi precious jewellry.
- Peacock Blue - men's Boutique lots of designer clothes ,own brand linen shirts and shorts .shoes etc etc
- Tracey Diamond store third generation diamond specialists.
- Ebony - unique furniture paintings and gifts.
- Penchant - wonderful jewelry made in the village from semi precious stones
- Masquerade - exciting and delicious interior ideas with a french twist.
- Anpa is an exquisite semi precious jewelry shop ,all the designs are their own and hand made in cape town.
- Art in the Yard is a new gallery situated in an outstanding location in The Yard. New and exciting exhibitions are held monthly.The views from the Gallery down the mountain are quite lovely.
There are several more lovely shops selling handmade chocolates local honey, antiques. handbags and much much more.
There are many excellent restaurants in and around Franschhoek. Along the main road are a number of very good restaurants. Many of the vineyards have restaurants, although most are only open for lunch. For the visitor faced with 50 restaurants and only 3 days to sample them the agony of choice can be considerable. In general you won't have a bad meal, and the level of competition means that prices are not high (R500 for a three course meal without wine would be the average) - its a good idea to look at the menus on the restaurant websites and make your selection based on that, rather than spending hours reading Tripadvisor reviews!
- The French Connection, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-4056, . Open daily for lunch and Dinner. This restaurant has a "Paris Bistro" feel with both an intimate inside section and a "Al Fresco" on the spacious patio area. edit
- Reuben's, ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3772 ([email protected]). 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Upmarket bistro. edit
- Haute Cabriere, (on the road up to the Franschhoek Pass), ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3688. edit
- La Petite Ferme, (on the road up to the Franschhoek Pass), ☎ +27 (21) 876 3016/8 ([email protected], fax: +27 (21) 876 3624), . lunch only, bookings essential, excellent view over the valley. edit
- Roca on Dieu Donne, Uitkyk street (top of Uitkyk street), ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3384, . Iconic view of the Franschhoek valley edit
Wine is plentiful and cheap.
All wine estates sell their own wines. Just outside of the village on the R45 are two top wine estates, Grande Provence and La Motte. There are also many other smaller boutique wine estates in the area such as La Bri, La Bourgogne, La Couronne, Stony Brook and Eikehof. Virtually all welcome visitors and tastings can be arranged with most.
- Plumwood Inn, 11 Cabriere Street (close to the center of town), ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3883 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14h00; checkout: 11h00. Quiet R625-R1095 p.p.. edit
- Petit Jourdan Self-catering cottage, 3 Pierre Jourdan Street (close to the center of town), ☎ +27 (0)72 199 0536 ([email protected]). checkin: 14h00; checkout: 11h00. Quiet R1695-R2295 for up to 4 people. edit
- Le Quartier Francais, 16 Huguenot Road, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-2151, . edit
- Le Ballon Rouge, (close to the center of town), . edit
- La Galiniere Guest Cottages, Main Road, Franschhoek, ☎ +27 (0)21 876 2579, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Comfortable and affordable self-catering accommodation in two charming cottages on a boutique wine farm close to the centre of the village. From R550 per person per night. (-33.9016952549,19.1060829163) edit
- Maison Chablis (Quite Oasis In the Middle of Town), Berg Street (Befind Le Quartier Francais), ☎ +27(0)218762366, . checkin: 14h00; checkout: 11h00. Maison Chablis is a 7 Suite 4 Star Guest House. It is located in the heart of Franschhoek Village. Guests can feel safe and secure while sunbathing or having a barbecue. R900 - R1400 per Suite. edit
- La Chataine Wines, (Off the R45 7km before Franschhoek see Google Maps), ☎ +21 (0)21 876 2579, . La Chataigne Wines offers three wondefull 3* self catering cottages set on the Franschhoek river, a splendid pool in amongst the pear orchards as well as a wine tasting room with DSTV access and private tasting. R700 for 2 or R1100 for 4 / night. edit
- Otter's Bend, Dassenberg Road (near Mont Rochelle winery), ☎ +27 21 876 3200, . Affordable lodge / backpackers with a selection of twin / double rooms from around R400 per night. Walking distance from town. edit
- Visit one of the other towns in the Cape Winelands, like Stellenbosch and Paarl, or go to Cape Town and enjoy its attractions.
- Follow the N2 highway to the east to get to the famous Garden Route
- Go to the beach at Strand or Gordon's Bay (less crowded) and swim in the False Bay
- Take your golf clubs - Pearl Valley and Paarl golf clubs are within 15 minutes drive; Stellenbosch and De Zalze within 30 minutes. All are top quality lay-outs and prices are exceptionally cheap by European standards.
|This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!