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.
Franschhoek was founded by French Huguenots settlers (hence the name), who fled the inquisition in Europe and were looking for a little hide-out on the other side of the world. They found it in the fertile valley of Franschhoek - initially known as Oliphantshoek, as the valley was known for the large number of elephants.
Even though most people don't speak French, many of the street names, restaurant names and wine farms in the 'French Quarter' have French names.
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 all the way 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 of the best ways to discover the Franschhoek Valley. Passengers aboard the tour journey through rolling vineyards in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus stopping in 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, Franschhoek Square, 32 Main Road, Franschhoek (Ticket office located in Franschhoek Square, Main Road Franschhoek just after Bordeaux Street), ☎ +27 (0)21 300 0338 ([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)
- 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.
- Rent a bike to go up and down the hills along the wine farms.
- Go fishing to some of the lakes nearby
- 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 Franschhoek
- Winelands Experience, inside Protea Hotel, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-4042, . 8:30AM-5PM. Wine tours, scenic tours, chauffeur drives, airport transfers, village transfers, car hire and more.
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
- Beluga Bear - children's shop with beautiful unusual designs.
- 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.
- David Walters Pottery made in the studio right in the village,unusual and chic and can be custom made.
- Art in the Yard is a new gallery stuated in an outstanding location behind the Salmon Bar.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 20 restaurants and only 3 days to sample them the agony of choice can considerable. In general you won't have a bad meal, and the level of competition means that prices are not high (R300 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.
- The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, (in the heart of the village). Recently voted the best restaurant in Africa and the Middle East by Restaurant magazine.
- Reuben's, ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3772 ([email protected]). 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Upmarket bistro.
- Haute Cabriere, (on the road up to the Franschhoek Pass), ☎ +27 (0)21 876 3688.
- 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.
Wine is plentiful and cheap.
Haute Cabriere and La Petite Ferme (see above) sell their own wines. Just outside of the village are two top wine estates, Grande Provence and La Motte. There are also many other smaller wine estates in the area. 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 R495-R875.
- Le Quartier Francais, 16 Huguenot Road, ☎ +27 (0)21 876-2151, .
- Le Ballon Rouge, (close to the center of town), .
- 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 three charming cottages on a boutique wine farm close to the centre of the village. From R350 per person per night. (-33.9016952549,19.1060829163)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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