Franschhoek was founded by French 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 they valley was known for its large numbers of elephants.
Even though no one speaks French, most of the street names, restaurant names and wine farms in the "French Corner" are French.
Franschhoek makes a serious attempt at being the "food and wine capital of South Africa". Be as it may, it's a great place to relax, enjoy top food and wine, in an almost European 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.
You can walk along the main street to see all the nice old houses and have a look at the shops and various restaurants.
Franschhoek is a place to relax. Stroll up or down the main street and take your time to have a look around.
Along the main road are a number of very good restaurants. Bouillabaisse is one of the latest additions, run by award-winning chef Camil Haas. This vibrant, trendy 'front-cooking' eatery will combine freshly prepared favourites like bouillabaisse and gourmet seafood tasters with the decadence of the world's most sought after treats, including French bubbly. Watch Camil and his team prepare a daily selection of seafood delights in his stylish open kitchen to be sampled as tasting portions, made of meal of or taken away to be savoured later. The kitchen is open all day (except Tuesdays) from 10am to 10pm except Sundays to 5pm. Additionally, Bouillabaisse offers fresh fish sales, a deli shop and personalised catering with a seafood twist.
Located in a quiet position close to the heart of the historic village, Residence Klein Oliphantshoekis the perfect place to relax after a day of wine tasting, mountain hiking or browsing in antique shops and galleries in the village.