Franschhoek Valley

Franschhoek Like a Local

Franschhoek Valley in Western Cape (South Africa) is one of the most spectacular landscapes on the planet, if you ask me. Flanked by the Huguenot Mountains and awash with clear streams running past rolling vineyards, Franschhoek is about as picturesque as a small town can get. I moved to the village a few months ago, and I’ve never felt so blessed.

The people are inviting, it’s quiet, it’s safe, I can walk everywhere, and there are even a few hip eateries springing up thanks to the enthusiastic investments of Mr. Singh (owner of Leeu House and and and). What more could a reformed urbanite ask for?

Of course, I’m not alone in my love of Franschhoek. Tourists flock to the village by the thousands in season, and South Africans spend weekends enjoying picnics on the sunny lawns of its many wine farms. There are literally thousands of options for sleep, play, meals, and of course wine tasting.

This article is about narrowing down those thousands of options. I asked and walked around prodigiously for the purposes of this article, with the intention of discovering the Authentic Franschhoek. The result of this really enjoyable research? A curated make-your-own visit which can be enjoyed time after time, by using my handy chart.

Here’s how.

Inventive dining at Chef’s Warehouse

Choose only one of the following venues in each category, and take the time to savor every – single – moment there. The next time you come, choose only one again. And again….

Sleep: La Cotte | Babylonstoren | Akademie Street
Drink: Chamonix Wine Farm | Tuk Tuk Brewery | Le Quartier Francais
Coffee: Terbadour | The Hoek
Breakfast: Café Bonbon | Boschendal Deli
Lunch: Cosecha at Noble Hill | La Paris Bistro | L’Orangerie
Supper: Reubens | Foliage | Chefs Warehouse
Walk: River Walk at Leeu Estate | Mont Rochelle | Berg River Dam
Relax: Bird Sanctuary | Babylonstoren Gardens | Le Franschoek Camelot Spa
Play: Experience Franschhoek Cycles | Paradise Horse Stables | Wine Tram
Art: Huguenot Memorial | Ebony | Grande Provence Estate

La Cotte Forest Cottages

Sample Day

Wake up and take in the sweeping views from my veranda at La Cotte. Rent a bike @ Franschoek Cycles and go along the back streets to The Hoek for coffee. Go up Van Riebeeck Street to sit quietly on the banks of the Patrysfontein Bird Sanctuary. Freewheel down to Café des Arts to eat breakfast listening to the lullaby of a gurgling brook. Follow the brook to the River Walk. Cycle back up an easy hill and rest at La Cotte. Wine tasting at Chamonix Wine farm. Dinner at Foliage.
P.S. This particular day requires no driving. Happiness.