Franschhoek valley: French Quarter & Culinary Capital

Franschhoek, which simply means ‘French Quarter’ in Afrikaans, has become known as the food and wine capital of South Africa, with world-class restaurants and renowned vineyards sharing space amidst a beautiful natural landscape.

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Settled in one of the most glorious valleys in the Cape winelands, Franschhoek was originally founded by French Huguenots back in 1688, while their influence lingers in the names of the wine farms scattered across the region such as Anthonij Rupert Wyne, Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard and Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons.

Since then, Franschhoek has evolved from a sleepy country retreat into one of the most sought after residential addresses in South Africa – augmented by a burgeoning tourist trade that draws wine and food enthusiasts around the world.

The diverse soils and relatively high rainfall provide an appreciable environment for wine growers, with the Franschhoek valley hosting a popular wine route featuring some of South Africa’s most highly acclaimed wineries that produce both distinctive red and white styles.

The Franschhoek valley is surrounded by mountains where elephants once migrated for shelter. Enter the town from the spectacular Franschhoek Pass and get ready to have your breath taken away by the views of a heavenly landscape.

At Wine Paths, our local experts can organise exclusive wine tours, luxury stays and fine dining experiences around Franschhoek that can be tailor-made to your exact needs to ensure every detail is taken care of. Among our fully customizable proposals is a wine safari experience or a combined package of the winelands of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

Of course, where there is wine, there is food and with eight of South Africa’s top restaurants residing in this small town there’s opportunities to sample gourmet cuisine that compares to anywhere else in the world. Rueben Riffel of Reuben’s Restaurant and Margot van Vuuren of Le Quartier Français are among the award-winning chefs with eateries lining the town’s main road.

franshhoek wine region - Wine Paths

Among other reasons to visit Franschhoek are:

  • Luxury accommodation – luxury hotel Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyards, Sir Richard Branson's South African hotel and Vineyard.
  • Stunning scenery – the Franschhoek valley is surrounded by mountains where elephants once migrated to the shelter. Enter the town from the spectacular Franschhoek Pass and prepare to have your breath taken away by the views of a heavenly landscape.
  • Shopping – visitors can explore the quaint streets, browse through antique wares at local stores or admire art at various galleries.
  • Outdoor activities – there are amazing walking trails in the mountains of the surrounding Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, while other pursuits include cycling, horse riding, fly-fishing and golf.
  • Festivals – there are numerous celebrations throughout the year including Bastille Day (July 14) when the town is decorated in Tricolour to pay homage to its French roots, and the most popular Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival (2-3 December).
  • Cultural heritage – visitors to the Huguenot Museum can learn about the historic connection with France while admiring an impressive collection of artefacts.
  • Amazing architecture – traditional Cape Dutch architecture remains largely untouched thanks to restrictions while there are also examples of modern design, including the wine cellar at Boekenhoutskloof. 

 

Take a look at our Franschhoek destination page for more information before planning a visit to the region that is guaranteed to satisfy all of the senses.

 

Photo credit: Eddie Wilson and Wines of South Africa.com

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