"About the village"
I grew up in Franschhoek and attended the primary school and first year of high school there. I left the village when I was 21 but my parents stayed there for many more years. It was a lovely place to grow up in, the whole village and the adjacent farms was all we children needed to believe that we are living in a fairy wonderland and many weekends we would go into the mountain to go in seach of the fairies. Unfortunately they never showed themselves to us.
Today Franschhoek is the food and wine heartland of the country, where splendid wines are grown and our top chefs create international cuisine.
"History and other info"
Tightly hemmed in by mountains, the Franschoek valley is named after the French Huguenots who fled religious persecution to the Cape in 1688. They brought with them a sound knowledge of viniculture and settled down to make wine in the ‘French Glen’ where the estates and many families still have French names.
There is just one main street, lined with wine estates and a few antique shops, cafés and restaurants. At the far end the impressive Huguenot Memorial dominates the avenue, with the museum set in rose gardens by a peaceful lily pond.
Franschhoek is the ideal area for a day of estate touring and wine tasting, and most farms warmly welcome visitors to sample some of South Africa’s top wines. There is a wide selection of wines, from superb whites (Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc) to rich reds (Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot).
In the Franschhoek valley and surrounds there is no shortage of luxury accommodation. There are a number of thatched villas, French-style country guest houses, restored manor houses and lodges to choose from to make your stay in the winelands a comfortable one.
"Things to do"
For the more energetic there are numerous walking trails in the surrounding mountains, while the La Motte Forestry Station offers hiking, cycling, horse-riding and fly-fishing. There are also a number of trout fishing spots in various streams and dams on the surrounding farms. Locally trained guides are on hand to help you explore the region. For a wine tour with a difference hop onto a horse and visit a few of the Vignerons de Franschhoek. However, those in favour of a more sedate excursion might enjoy a carriage ride through the village and to some of the wine farms.
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.