The town of Franschhoek is located in the center of the Cape Winelands, just 60 km from Cape Town, the city, is one of the oldest towns in South Africa, founded by French Huguenots immigrant in 1688.
In fact, in 1685, after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, when Protestantism was banned from all of France, many families of Huguenots – talking about a total of about 200,000 people – fled from France, some took refuge in the Netherlands and 277 of them came with a ship in Cape Town, then a Dutch colony, thanks to their work were planted the first vines and began the production of South African wine.
The Dutch government gave them land in a valley called Olifantshoek, which was later renamed Franschoek, which means “French corner”. The town still retains its French character and its architecture is typically in the Cape Dutch style.
In memory of Huguenot cultural heritage, in 1948 opened a vast monument to the Huguenot culture, next to the monument is the interesting Huguenot Cultural Museum (Huguenot Memorial Museum, open from Mon-Sat: 09.00 – 17.00, Sun: from 14.00 to 17.00).
Most Huguenots immigrants were expert winemakers and this brought a rapid surge in the cultivation of vines in South Africa. All types of classical cultivation of the vine are adopted in the vineyards of Franschhoek, we pass by the superb white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc to the rich red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
Today, thanks to his past and to the fine wines, Franschoek is a major tourist center, with artists’ studios, farms for wine tasting, antique shops and excellent restaurants.
The town is full of Cape Dutch colonial-style houses and is home to a monument dedicated to the Huguenots. Franschhoek is nestled in a picturesque landscape of mountains and vineyards. Franschhoek is today renowned for being the capital of South African food and wine.
This post is also available in: German