Lifestyle

The French Corner, Fine Franschhoek

History and location

Franschhoek lies in the Drakenstein valley, of the Western Cape and is celestially surrounded by vineyard covered mountain slopes.

The French Hugenot’s came to the Drakenstein Valley in 1685, fleeing France from religious persecution after Protestantism was outlawed. Then called Olifantshoek, (Elephants Corner) because of the elephant which roamed there, it became known as Franschhoek (French Corner) soon after they settled. For more information visit the Hugenot’s memorial and museum in Franschhoek.

Less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the Franschhoek valley offers both the charm of a village of yester-year and the convenient offerings of a modern city. It is a place filled with nostalgia and anyone walking these quiet streets may find themselves prone to wistful thinking.

The food and wine capital

Home to some of the finest wine farms and restaurants in the country, Franschhoek boasts the title of “gourmet capital of South Africa”. Franschhoek has 42 active wineries, most of which retain their original French names.

Among the vineyards you must visit is La Petite Ferme, with unparalleled views over the valley, they offer an educational walking tour of the vineyard and cellar.  Their restaurant has been listed by Conde Nast Traveller as one of the top 15 ‘Best Value’ establishments in the world. This region is so striking with its distinct aspect of provincial beauty,  that any wine estate you visit will be a feast for the eyes.

Some well-known Vignerons include;

Backsberg Estate Cellars

Bellingham

Boschendal Wines

Graham Beck

Haute Cabriere

La Motte

Leopard’s Leap

Plaisir de Merle

Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons

For a comprehensive list of wineries and restaurants visit the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourist Association.

Things to see and do

There are plenty of food and wine route experiences, guided tours and tastings on offer. You also have the opportunity to attend cooking courses in the gourmet capital, instructed by top local chefs.  Go trout fishing or meander through some of the many walking and biking trails. If you are after a more sedentary activity, there are plenty of picnic spots to while the time away. Not just for the nature lover, Franschhoek has art galleries and speciality stores, for the enthusiastic shopper.

Average temperatures range from 14 to 20 degrees in winter and between 25 and 30 in the summer months. With its  postcard perfect aspect and activities for all ages, it is a place not difficult to find and experience the famous French “joie-de-vivre”!

Franschhoek events:

January-April

Groot Drakenstein  Annual 6-a side Cricket Tournament

Franschhoek Outdoor Festival

Franschhoek Harvest Festivals

Inter Winelands Sports day

Solms-Delta Oesfees Franschhoek

May-August

Franschhoek Literary Festival

Cook Franschhoek

Bastille Festival & Boules Tournament

September-December

Franschhoek Uncorked

Franschhoek Classical Music Festival

Franschhoek Open Gardens Festival

Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival

For more information visit the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourist Association.

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