Franschhoek Western Cape South Africa. When the Edict of Nantes was revoked in France in 1685, hundreds of Huguenots fled their homeland as Protestantism was outlawed. Of these, 227 arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, seeking refuge. Simon van der Stel, the Dutch governor at the time, led them over what is today the Helshoogte Mountain into the valley beyond and granted many of them farm land there. The valley was first called Olifantshoek (Elephant Corner), reminiscent of the vast numbers of elephants that roamed here freely, but with the settlement of the French Huguenots the name was soon changed to Franschhoek (French Corner).
Franschhoek Western Cape South Africa. Their heritage is preserved in the Huguenot Monument, which was erected in 1938 and proudly stands at the top of the village. The engravings speak of their religious persecution, their flight to South Africa, the strength of their belief and the influence they had on the development of the area. Each original Huguenot farm has a unique story to tell and their histories are chronicled in the nearby museum. Today Franschhoek is one of the top five tourist destinations in South Africa, and an excellent base from which to explore the rest of the astounding world of the Winelands. The Franschhoek Valley is especially known for its tranquil beauty and relaxed atmosphere, the perfect setting to thoroughly enjoy the top class wines produced in this area.
The World of Wines
More than 300 years ago, the French Huguenots saw the potential of this fertile ground and began a wine industry that lives on to this day. Today, members of the Vignerons de Franschhoek (Winegrower’s association) continue in this noble tradition and produce some of South Africa’s top wines.
From crisp, fruity whites to rich, warm reds, Franschhoek offers all the noble cultivars and classic styles. The valley is especially renowned for its exquisite Cap Classique sparkling wines and ports.
The Franschhoek Valley boasts approximately 20 wine estates, many of which have retained their original French names and lovely Cape Dutch farmsteads. Small boutique wineries appeal to those in search of something unique, while larger estates offer cellar tours and conduct tasting.
The Gourmet Capital
Franschhoek finer tastes don’t end with wine. Leading chefs create internationally acclaimed culinary delights, and eight of South Africa’s “Top 100 Restaurants” are in Franschhoek – little wonder that Franschhoek is referred to as the Gourmet Capital of the country. From light meals using the delicious fresh produce of the valley, to the reassuring familiarity of traditional Cape country fare, to the exciting indulgence of world-class French cuisine – Franschhoek offers a meal for every taste and a menu for every pocket. 28 excellent restaurants offer wonderful hospitality and great ambience – and, naturally, each meal is complemented by one of the fantastic local wines.
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