Franschhoek is less than an hours drive from Cape Town. Franschhoek, Valley of the Huguenots, one of the premier destinations in the World of Wine.
All noble cultivars and classic styles are on show here. From superb whites to rich and fruity reds to exceptional sparkling wines and you'll be happy to know the most farms readily welcome visitors for tasting. Guests will be just as tempted to stay as the first settlers were 300 years ago.
There is a wide variety of accommodation ranging from luxurious small hotels and beautiful B & B's to charming self-catering vineyard cottages. It has been said that Franschhoek's finer tastes don't end with wine, the main attraction to this area are restaurants and the valley offers some of South Africa's most acclaimed restaurants, With a menu to suit every tastes and pocket, from delicious Cape country fare to sublime French cuisine it is no surprise that the area is known as the 'Food and Wine Capital of the Cape'. Many of the wine farms also offer restaurant or picnic facilities.
Franschhoek has a vibrant, active artistic community and the village offers a wide variety of arts & craft shops, galleries and antique stores, all within easy walking distance. During the year a variety of art exhibitions are held regularly at various venues in the valley. Franschhoek also forms part of the scenic Four Passes Fruit Route and visitors can purchase fresh local produce from some of the farms stall including local fruit and Franschhoek famous Smoked Salmon Trout. Franschhoek is also gaining a name for its fresh cut flowers, especially roses, and appointments can be made to view the rose tunnels.
Franschhoek is one of the premier destinations in the World of Wine not only for its spectacular beauty but also for its high quality, award-winning wines. With its French wine heritage and excellent climate this valley became one of the earliest wine producing regions in the Cape. Today, this noble tradition is continued by the members of the Vignerons de Franschhoek, an association of twenty-one wine farmers (including some of South Africa's most respected winemakers) who produce many of the country's finest red, white and sparking wine.
At the far end of the main road is the town's 'piece de resistance', the impressive Huguenot memorial and Museum, was declared a conservation area in 1990. The monument was erected to mark the 250th year (in 1938) since the first Huguenots arrived in the valley and features a woman standing with a Bible in her right hand and a broken chain symbolising freedom from religious oppression, in here left hand.
The Museum is a fascinating source of information about the history of the Huguenots and the Franschhoek valley. Two other museums of note are the Manor House at Boschendal, which reflects the day-to-day life style of an 18th Century Franschhoek farmer and the Manor House at Bien Donne, which also has a beautiful herb garden.
With the mountains as a natural backdrop there are a number of activities to suit all interests. There are walks, which take you through the historic centre of the village and through neighbouring vineyards. For the more energetic there is a trail up the historic Cats Pad to the top of the Franschhoek Pass or you can go into the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
Both of these walks offer breathtaking opportunities to view the valley and perhaps catch sight of the rate and delicate Blushing Bride Protea, the pride of Franschhoek once thought extinct. Alternatively hire a mountain bike, take a carriage ride or go horseback riding up into the mountains or from vineyard to vineyard.
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