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Franschhoek (Dutch for 'French Corner') is a city in the Cape Winelands. Franschhoek makes a serious attempt at being the food and wine capital of South Africa and there are many fine restaurants. It's a great place to relax, enjoy top food and wine, in a spectacular atmosphere.


The Franschhoek valley with the town of Franschhoek nestled between the mountains.

Franschhoek was founded by French Huguenot settlers (hence the name), who fled the Inquisition in Europe and were looking for a little hide-out on the other side of the world. They found it in the fertile valley of Franschhoek - which they called "Oliphantshoek", as the valley had a lot of elephants.

Even though most people don't speak French, many of the street names, restaurant names and wine farms in the 'French Quarter' have French names.

Get in[edit]

Only one road (R45) leads to Franschhoek from Stellenbosch or Paarl. For a more scenic drive, you can enter Franschhoek all the way over the "Franschhoek Pass" - a spectacular mountain route leading into Franschhoek from Villiersdorp.

There is a taxi service (small buses with loud music and often loud drivers) from Stellenbosch and from Paarl.

There's no train service.

Get around[edit]

Map of Franschhoek

You can walk along the main street to have a look at the shops and various restaurants and a stroll through the streets off the main street will show you some nice old houses.


Church in Franschhoek.

Franschhoek is a place to relax. Stroll up or down the main street and take your time to have a look around. The mountains surrounding Franschhoek are spectacular and there are many places you can reach within easy driving distances.


  • Rent a bike to go up and down the hills along the wine farms.
  • Go fishing to some of the lakes nearby
  • Go wine tasting in some of the many excellent wineries. Some are reachable on foot from the village; you can use a shuttlebus or arrange a wine tour for those that aren't
  • 1 Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve. Hottentots-Holland (Q950463) on Wikidata Hottentots Holland Mountains on Wikipedia
  • Winelands Experience, Place Vendome Lifestyle Centre, 13 Main Road (On the main road into Franschhoek just before the BP Garage), +27 21 876-4042. 8:30AM-5PM. Wine tours and scenic tours in the winelands. Also offer transfers to Cape Town and the airport, accommodation and car rental.
  • Chocolate tour at Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Huguenot Road, Franschhoek, 7690. The store offers a small lecture and demonstration on how chocolate and resulting confectionary is made. You also get to try some. There is no admission fee. Tour starts twice a day at 11AM and 3PM, lasts approximately 40 min. Registration is not required, just show up at the store. If you wish to pay something there is a tip jar in the showroom or you can simply buy something in the store. free.


Franschhoek has many wonderful small family-run shops. The shopping experience along the main street has grown and there is a wonderful variety of unusual and unique shops.

  • Peacock Blue is a men's clothing store which makes linen shorts and shirts in a huge variety of colours. They also sell numerous styles of shorts, polo golfers swimwear shoes exception knitwear both cashmere and pure wool in their own designs. They also stock international brands like Scotch & Soda.
  • Indian Summer next door is a famous independent ladies' boutique, with a sister shop in London. It certainly is very different with a large local following with dresses from London, cashmere, semi-precious jewellery, swimwear and jeans.
  • Charlotte Isabellina is a ladies' boutique - very smart, very chic - specialising in Louisa Spagnoli, an exciting brand from Italy.
  • Tracys Diamonds in the same name building opposite the church has a world-wide following for their expertise design and keen prices.
  • Anpa Jewellery is another firm favourite with semi-precious stones set into unique and fabulous pieces designed and made in Cape Town.
  • Art in the Yard is a wonderful contemporary art gallery situated behind The Salmon Bar. They ship worldwide
  • Ebony is an eclectic mix of treasures and art mainly sourced from the vibrant African contemporary art and crafts scene.
  • Sacred ground artisan bread and great coffee.
  • Jade sells pearls and unique and tasteful jewellery.
  • Penchant is another great independent jewellery store. The pieces are all designed and made locally.
  • Beluga Bear has a wonderful selection of babies' and young children's clothes and gifts.
  • Masquerade sells items for the home, linens, candles, soaps - très joli et chic !
  • Biccs homemade ice cream, breads and coffee.
  • African Art Gallery gifts
  • Tsonga has great locally-made shoes and handbags, men's and women's.
  • Chocolates made in the village are a speciality not to be missed


There are many excellent restaurants in and around Franschhoek. Along the main road are a number of very good restaurants.

  • 1 The French Connection Bistro, 48 Huguenot Rd, +27 21 876 4056, . Open daily for breakfast and lunch and dinner. A charming bistro-style restaurant with a welcoming and unpretentious atmosphere. Specialities include crispy roast duck, fresh mussels and an excellent steak selection. Lunch from R80, dinner mains R145-190.
  • The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (in the heart of the village).
  • Reuben's.
  • Haute Cabrière (on the road up to the Franschhoek Pass).
  • La Petite Ferme (on the road up to the Franschhoek Pass), +27 21 876-3016, fax: +27 21 876-3624, . Lunch only, bookings essential, excellent view over the valley.


Wine is plentiful and cheap.

Haute Cabrière and La Petite Ferme (see above) sell their own wines. Just outside of the village are two top wine estates, Grande Provence and Boschendal, where tastings are available daily. There are also many other smaller wine estates in the area. Virtually all welcome visitors and tastings can be arranged with most.


Go next[edit]

  • Visit one of the other towns in the Cape Winelands, like Stellenbosch and Paarl, or go to Cape Town and enjoy its attractions.
  • Follow the N2 highway to the east to get to the famous Garden Route
  • Go to the beach at Strand or Gordon's Bay (less crowded) and swim in the False Bay
  • Take your golf clubs - Pearl Valley and Paarl golf clubs are within 15 minutes drive; Stellenbosch and De Zalze within 30 minutes. All are top quality lay-outs and prices are exceptionally cheap by European standards.
This city travel guide to Franschhoek is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.