Franschhoek – The French Quarter

We already told you a bit about Franschhoek in our first article The beginning, but now we are going to give you more details!

Franschhoek means the French Quarter because during the XVIIth century the Huguenots (French Protestants) arrived in the cape with different grape varieties from France and created this city (today about 16000 inhabitants). Here is the reason why there are a lot of vineyards in this area.

First stay in Franschhoek: First Camping.

If you followed our story, you know that we started the road trip a bit on a whim. Indeed, after buying everything we needed, we left Cape Town on a Wednesday evening at 9pm to go camping, for the first time … Quite an original idea. We chose “De Hollandsche Molen” as a campsite, which costed us 350 rand (the night for two people: 23 €), we found it a bit expensive just to install a small tent. In fact the campsite mainly hosts families with caravans and offers various services (pool, wifi, coffee). But we still had a good time (freat dinner: sandwich with a bit of bread garniture).

Our first day in Franschhoek has been very typical, we went “Wine Tasting”. The first vineyard was “La Motte”. A beautiful and soothing place where there was a small restaurant next to a friendly wine tasting lounge. We chose the 65 rand (4€) formula which included 7 glasses of wine (white and red). The waitress taught us about the different flavors of the wine and how it was made. After the 5th glass, we couldn’t think straight anymore.

We then went to the vineyard “Dieu Donné”. Yes, in Franschhoek, each place has a French name, obviously. We then chose a 35 rand (2€) formula including 4 glasses (including sparkling wine). The big highlight here was the view on the vineyards and mountains.

It’s nice to taste wine, but when the afternoon is over, you do not know where to sleep and the headache is approaching, it’s better to have a break. We managed to find another campsite but on the opposite way of our road trip (we like challenges), and we went camping in Kommetjie.

Then we made a quick stop in Cape Town for a family break. Hosting at cousin Ed, who has supported us tremendously through all our galleys, we also spent sometimes with cousin Ash who helped us a lot with the visa, as well as her husband Guy and their children. A moment that restores your strength.

We then went back to Franschhoek

Second visit to Franschhoek: First Couch Surfing

We also quickly told you about Couch Surfing in our first article (if you have not read it yet, it’s available here).

The first to greet us was the kind Craig, on our arrival he has invited us to enjoy a good beer at the “Station”, a bar restaurant with a wide beer selection. There is also the “Elephant and Barrels”, a bar a little smaller but more festive, a bar-nightclub where we did not have the opportunity to go. Franschhoek is a small town, but wherever you are in South Africa you will always come across a good beer bar.

On Sunday Craig took us on a hidden hike in the mountains, which only a local could know about. After 15 minutes of walking in the gorges, we arrived at a stream and a pond in which we jumped (4 meters). A unique but icy moment (12 degrees).

What do you do after a moment rich in sensation? Drink a beer! Craig then took us Beer Tasting at “The Franschhoek Beer Co”, 60 rand (4 €) to taste 6 different beers, a very pleasant moment.

Then our host invited us to a vineyard “Moresson” for lunch and wine tasting. At the table with different wines of the most sumptuous, we shared as a starter a platter of charcuterie. As a main course Angie had: Springbok (symbol of Africa) and Noe: A rump steak from Boschendal, a neighboring farm. An incredible moment in a charming place.

The bottles we tasted

Noe, Angie, wines and headaches

To end the day, Craig made us discover at sunset, a majestic viewpoint at Paarl’s Rock (15 minutes’ drive from the city). A magical and relaxing moment, before Angie slips and gets her first injury of the trip. An ugly bobo on the knee, but a first beautiful memory.

Franschhoek, a small town full of charm, landscapes and wine (and headaches …).

Craig & Noe

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