Despite being smaller than Stellenbosch, the Franschhoek Wine route is nevertheless impressing. The 30 wine estates are amongst the best in the world. To name a few, there are La Motte, Chamonix and l’ Ormarins, and Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons.
Meaning French Corner, Franschhoek was founded in 1688 by the Huguenots, French protestants who fled their country for their religious beliefs.
The majority of these political refugees ended up in The Netherlands. In the late 17th century, when the Dutch government decided to colonise the Cape instead of using it as a replenishment stop, the Dutch government offered a couple of hundreds of Huguenots a new life in South Africa.
These immigrants were given land in a valley called Oliphantshoek (Elephant Corner), named after the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. Soon after the French arrived, the area received the name Coin Francais, which the Dutch translated in Franschhoek.
The Huguenot Monument and the museum in Franschhoek are reminders of these these 200 French immigrants who left Europe for a new free life in Africa.
The monument was constructed from granite and was inaugurated on the 250th anniversary of the Huguenots' arrival. In the Huguenot Memorial Museum next to the monument, the history of the Huguenots is documented.