The food and wine capital of South Africa
Franschhoek sits at the eastern end of a fertile valley surrounded on three sides by the Great Drakenstein Mountains. Rich in beauty and steeped in history, Franschhoek was first settled in 1688 by French Huguenot refugees who soon made use of the rich soil and the flowing waters of the Berg River to practice their skills as wine makers.
Today, Franschhoek has grown to be the centre of one of the major wine growing areas of South Africa. The French influence has remained to this day and can be seen in some of the names of the wineries, such as Dieu Donne, Chamonix, Bourgogne, La Bri, La Motte, Grande Provence and Haute Cabriere. In all, the valley incorporates around 42 wine farms, many of which export their wines and where a number of them are renown the world over for producing some of the best wines South Africa has to offer. See Things to See & Do for recommended Wineries to visit.
This has naturally brought wealth and good living to Franschhoek. As a natural addition to the spectacular wine that the valley produces, Franschhoek also hosts numerous restaurants, cafes, bistros. specialist food shops and bars, to the extent that it is known as the 'food and wine capital' of South Africa. The French influence can be seen again in many of the top establishments, such as Le Quatier Français, The French Connection, Bon Vivant, Cafe des Arts and Monneaux. It is said that Franschhoek has no fewer than eight of the country's top 100 restaurants within a short walk of each other, with one of them featuring in the top 50 restaurants in the world, according to The S.Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
As well as exciting the culinary senses, Franschhoek also excites the visual and esthetic with its many art galleries, jewellers, antique shops, french homeware boutiques, local clothes shops and craft shops. Franschhoek delights the avid shopper as well as the casual stroller and makes a day in town fun, exciting and rewarding for all.
For the more adventurous, there are many exciting sports and pastimes to persue. There is mountain hiking, trout fishing, cycling, horse-riding, tennis, golf and polo. There are also museums and music events and festivals throughtout the year. Just a little further a field, there are beaches for swimming, surfing, sailing and power boat racing and of course many opportunities to see animal sancturies, wild life game parks and whale watching.
Franschhoek is well positioned for holiday makers who wish to see South Africa at its best. It is centrally placed for many of the places visitors will want to see and of course the Winelands area which offers an abundance of differenct styles of wines as well and food and restaurants.
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