Monday, September 29, 2014


Today we drove into town for breakfast and to do some exploring. We ate al fresco at the “Franschhoek Famous Pancake House” enjoying the sunshine. Franschhoek was founded in 1688 on land granted to about 270 French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France. The French influence is still strong here even though those first immigrants were forced to learn Afrikaans and not allowed to speak French. Perhaps that explain why this very French-style restaurant calls itself a pancake house instead of a Creperie. Bastille Day merits a celebration and the town calls itself the “Gastronomic Capital of South Africa”. We will have many opportunities to test the truth of that moniker. We certainly have a large number of choices for a ‘village’ of only 13,000.

After eating we wandered up and down the street visiting a few shops without purchasing anything. The main street ends with a Huguenot Memorial and Museum. We will visit the museum later in our stay. The most impressive building in town is the old Dutch Reformed Church built in 1847. Right in the middle of town, this impressive building seats over 300 parishioners on cedar pews. We did not hear the organ, but it does look impressive. 

The church and the town hall next door provide fine examples of the gabled architecture that is common in this region.
The Town Hall 
One of the several art galleries. Note the sculptures on their patio
 Narrow passageways between several of the buildings lead to small squares with stores, restaurants, and patios. As one would expect in a village like this, we passed several art galleries and even a store selling animal skins. Perhaps the most interesting restaurant is the “Bacon Pop-Up Bar”. Apparently the bacon craze has reached South Africa, too.

Before doing a bit of grocery shopping at the Pik and Pay, we stopped again at The Stall restaurant for a G&T on the patio. We returned there later for dinner and internet access. Each of us made a new choice from the menu and were again impressed by the quality of the food. The name is derived from the fact that the building used to be a farm stall. Stalls are roadside shops where farmers sell their produce. Many include a restaurant or a picnic area where you can enjoy the afternoon while shopping. Some include a play area for the children. This one is just a restaurant. The farm it used to be attached to is now vineyards. Open only a couple of years, Lisa, the owner, told us they are getting busier as people become more aware of how good their food is. It also helps that they share the parking lot with Franschhoek Cellars, one of the wineries we visited last time we were in the area. 

We did not see endangered species here.

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