This past weekend we were in Franschhoek as you’ll see from the snaps below – it was so difficult to trim them down to these favourites!
If you’re heading that way, we definitely recommend stopping in at the Wijnland Auto Museum and Butterfly World, and explore the lovely lemony Franschhoek Country House (FCH) and Monneaux…
Wednesday, 16 May 2018: Sunset dins at Doodles on the beachfront
We had a sneaky mid-week dinner out at Doodles and were in awe at the sunset, as seen from various angles.
Friday, 18 May 2018: Meltwater #BizBreakfast at Park Inn Radisson
I rarely get to attend events with colleagues, so it was a treat to spend part of last Friday morning with one of my favourite coworkers. Once we’d gone up 10 floors by lift at the Park Inn Radisson we stepped onto the balcony to admire the view, and what a view it was!
More of the balcony views, also the delicious breakfast snacks and the excellent presentation itself on social storytelling – click here for my full overview if you missed it on Bizcommunity.
We had time for a quick post-event catch-up session with industry friends before heading back to the office.
Saturday, 19 May 2018: Stop at Wijnland Auto Museum, stay at Franschhoek Country House, dine at Monneaux
A sweet moment with Bertie boy before we started all our weekend activities. Love that dog!
First stop – collect parents to drop off at the airport. Once they’d checked in for their flight to Joburg, we had time for a quick breakfast at the Wimpy with views of the runway. See various coffees and the flapjacks with cream and fruit salad.
Next, tim for our weekend away, and what’s a road trip without snacks? It was a cold, grey day so hot drinks were in order. This is a mochaccino and British ‘chocky bickies’ from when we dropped off the doglets at their GrannyGrampa for the night.
We stopped in at the Wijnland Auto Museum (not the main Franschhoek Motor museum you’re thinking of). It’s filled with rusted relics and shiny new vehicles alike. Bonus: You don’t need to make an appointment ahead of time!
The grounded airplane was the main attraction for Husband – he’d seen it from the main road outside and we had to do a capital U-turn to go back and find the entrance. See how he climbed all the way through into the cockpit – you’re allowed to do so.
Autumnal scenes on the road into Franschhoek town.
You’re bound to see the wine tram when you’re in and around Franschhoek. We saw various versions of it in various locations on our way into town and even waved at the happy travelers from the pool later that evening. It’s still on our Franschhoek bucket list!
It was the weekend of the Franschhoek Literary Festival (FLF) so there were book-lovers around every drizzly corner and queues at all the eateries and markets, we felt quite lucky to be staying slightly out of the main hustle and bustle of town. Will tackle the FLF another time!
Franschhoek Country House holds all the lemons and French country charm you could ever want. It’s like a painting.
It’s hard to miss Franschhoek Country House from the Huguenot Main Road, just look for lemon with touches of turquoise and you’re there! There are lemons everywhere you look, from the trees to bowls in every room – even the restaurant powder room – it’s really a delicious sight.
The space we stayed in was just gorgeous. Look at those old-school high ceilings, the plentiful fruit bowl, and even the candlesticks next to the not-to-be-used bath tub.
The doorbell chimed and we were presented with the most wonderful welcome plate of food fresh from Monneaux, along with flutes of bubbly to ease into ‘weekend away’ mode. It certainly did the trick!
Fountains fountains everywhere. Note Husband examining them far off in the distance.
Despite the chill in the air we braved the cold pool, as that makes the slightly heated pool seem a little warmer than it is. Also see the poolside table with the most delicious lemonade, garnished with mint leaves and cucumber slices. So yum!
We’d been told it was ‘happy hour’ on selected beverages until 5pm – add in pretzels and salty peanuts, also the Royal Wedding on TV and we were there like bears.
Sunset over the mountain from various angles, made even more delicious with a cup of coffee and rusk from our room.
M is for Monneaux! The on-site restaurant is definitely worth a visit, whether you’re staying at Franschhoek Country House or further up the road. See here the baked camembert salad, the spicy mussels and the lamb on gnocchi. All the words coming to my full review on Bizcommunity!
Cheers to dinner at Monneaux! Our table was strewn with white rose petals – we’d seen them being plucked while enjoying our swim earlier that evening. Also see the smoked octopus in dashi stock from the Petit Assiette menu, and the linefish mains topped with a prawn.
Don’t mind if I do take a sip or two… just some of the lovely wines we sampled while dining at Monneaux, all from the Franschhoek valley.
Dessert! See the sorbets with meringue discs; chef’s creme caramel with flecks of vanilla; a delicious cappuccino; the apple tart tatin with blue cheese compote; and the end-of-meal dense chocolate truffles.
The little nighttime luxuries at Franschhoek Country House are so sweet. These range from the ‘I need some me time’ message on the door hanger to a tiny chocolate left on the pillow with the next day’s weather forecast; and slippers left at the turned-down bed. Of course, we also lit the fire and spent a while in front of its warmth – though there’s also underfloor heating, so you may well find yourself sitting on the floor (out of choice)!
This is the selection of ‘gownie shots’ I have to work with. Not easy to come by as gowns are only available by special request from reception, and by the time we took the snaps Husband was done with posing nicely and smiling on demand. Lol!
Sunday, 20 May 2018: FCH breakfast buffet; visit the animals at Butterfly World
Taking in that ‘just been rained on’ view with a quick coffee brewed in the room before heading down for breakfast.
What a breakfast spread! See various cold meats and cheeses, freshly cut fruits, yoghurts, and cereals – I couldn’t resist a scoop of the bright pink Strawberry Pops!
From the hot breakfast menu, we opted for filter coffee and the waffle with bananas, bacon and berries (me); and glasses of juice with the eggs benedict, topped with both spinach and folded ham (husband). Also, look at the tiny bite-size croissant!
Taking a slow stroll back to our room. Note Husband is in long pants and covered shoes during the day here, a rare sighting that tells you it was pretty darn chilly.
Once we’d checked out, we couldn’t resist this road that whispered, “Follow me…”
We made what we thought would be a quick detour to see the Butterfly World tropical garden, but there’s so much more than that on the grounds that we stayed a good two hours. See Husband enjoying a plate of curry and rice while it drizzled.
There’s lots of lush greenery and birdies flitting around along with the butterflies. Also, many interesting take-away trinkets to look at.
We braved the rain (there are clear umbrellas to collect before stepping outside) and you can just see the butterflies drying out.
While the butterflies were lovely, they flitted around so fast we couldn’t take any pics. There are so many sweet rescued animals all around though that before you realise it, you’ve spent hours wandering around in awe at nature.
Look at the little critters! Some were friendly, some were shy, all were precious. We have a video of the birdie scratching it’s way over Husband’s arm and then leaping scarily at my shiny phone.
That’s all, folks! Hope you have a relaxing weekend. Cheers!
*Disclaimer: Our meals and accommodation at Franschhoek Country House and Monneaux were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.
Yay, weekend! If you’re based in Cape Town, have a full talk of petrol and an empty few days ahead of you, why not follow in our footsteps and explore the wonderful town Franschhoek tucked in the wine-growing valleys of the Western Cape, as we did last weekend. Just 80km or so from the city, you’ll be there in just over an hour if you leave now… tell them I sent you! Start your engines, get set, go!
Of course these pics taken on our cameras didn’t even do the landscape and history-steeped buildings justice.
Click here to click through the galleries I added in my official review, which includes eye-wateringly beautiful pics of Le Quartier Français, its Tasting Room and the surrounds, all owned by the Leeu Collection.
Stop to sightsee on the way in
Before you know it that city bustle falls away and you’re surrounded by tall greenery and satisfyingly flat roads. You can capture stunning shots like this even with your phone camera, through the car windscreen, while moving. Yes.
Take note of moving vehicles, as they’re likely not what you’d expect. This is the wine tram at Rickety Bridge Winery – we stopped and watched in awe as the passengers stood up and changed the direction of the seat backs before the tram set off in the other direction. Very clever as it’s a single track.
So awed were we that we stopped in for a wine-tasting. Here’s proof that I was there. Sadly there’s no longer a ‘rickety bridge’ at the winery.
Husband with some of the lovely bottles he got to sample. R20 gets you six assorted samples.
A little later we simply had to stop the car again when we saw the relaxed setting at Good Food& Co as our tummies were rumbling. Isn’t this just the prettiest plate of pancakes you’ve ever seen? They were even more ‘lekker’ (manageress’ description, not mine) than they look, filled with sliced banana and caramel cream.
Even more delightful? Our drinks were served with a dinky little ‘amuse bouche’ cupcake. Husband is suitably impressed.
Of course you’ll play hide-and-seek while wandering through the shopping district a little further up the road. Yes, that is Husband just peeking out from behind the tree, teehee.
After a little stroll down the street you’ll want to stop and stretch those legs. Leeu Collection’s Tuk Tuk microbrewery is perfectly placed (and priced) to attract those weary strollers, on your way toward the Huguenot Monument side of the street.
Of course you’ll try out the R55 beer sampler of various CBC craft beers at the Tuk Tuk microbrewery. Husband’s favourite was the lager.
Who were we to refuse the friendly waiter who insisted on snapping a shot of the two of us inside the microbrewery? He took great care angling the camera, the lighting and us to get this shot. We had to move three times, I think, for this perfection. 😉
Beers sampled, we soldiered on down the road to take in the beauty of the Huguenot Monument. Undaunted by the locked gate, I simply hopped up onto the boundary wall for this shot, just before sunset.
Sleep over at Le Quartier Français and don’t miss the Tasting Room’s eight course, African-inspired menu
And then it was time to explore our location for the night – LQF or ‘Le Quaf’. Just look at that solar-heated pool. Those mountains in the background. All that dappled sunshine. T’was pure weekend bliss.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know I’m partial to purple, so top marks for the plants fitting in with the colour scheme!
The playful garden decorations at the LQF pool.
Our blue door. Bright umbrellas too, just in case. We didn’t need to use them but it was a comforting thought knowing they were there.
The sweet patio set outside our windows.
The bed was deceptively large and the lighting cosy, especially when warmed by the crackling log fire in the room.
In case you thought those pancakes earlier didn’t quite fill me up, Husband was kind enough to brew a cuppa Lavazza coffee (the purple pod, if you must know) in the yellow Le Creuset cups we found waiting for us in our room.
Orange sightseeing cap replaced with red lippy, we were handed complimentary flutes of rose MCC on being seated at the Tasting Room. The bowl of white fluff is actually a black pepper-dish that melts onto the tongue. It was the first of many surprises.
Keen to get started on his eight-course pairing (yes, EIGHT courses, plus many tasty extras), Husband posed with the wire glass poised on our table. Much, much later – three hours later – we toddled back to our rooms for a peaceful, fire-crackly sleep.
Factor in a long, leisurely breakfast in the Living Room
Having already savoured a coffee in our room, I was ready to try the Living Room’s hot chocolate the next morning. It was a wonderful thing, which stayed pipingly hot throughout my meal – and I ate plate after plate of delicious food!
The ‘egg benedict’ on the breakfast menu is just that, a single egg poached, Hollandaised and served on porky heaven. That’s because you’re expected to also fill up on the breakfast buffet. Here’s why…
See the delightful continental breakfast buffet? Each item is carefully curated to add to your overall breakfast feast.
Take the long road home
We recommend taking a slow trip back home after your stay in Franschhoek. The ‘scenic route’ only takes a little longer and will have you stopping to sigh at the lovely photo-worthy bench at the very edge of the Haute Cabriere Wine Estate.
We took a picture from both sides of this frame as couldn’t decide which was the better shot. This ended up as the winner.
The long, windy mountain road almost guarantees you’ll take a handful of shots like this – cheesy grin above postcard-perfect shots of the Franschhoek valley.
There’s a helpful sign at the base of Franschhoek Pass that shows you’re only 740m above sea level. Pilot-minded Husband commented that’s only half the height of Lanseria.
That’s all, folks. I can’t recommend it enough. Thanks for stopping by, check in again next week for my next update. If you missed my overview of what to do in Stellenbosch last month,
click here. 🙂
*Disclaimer: Obviously our accommodation at Le Quartier Français and meals at the Tasting Room and the Dining Room were part of our review package. All else came from our own pockets. All enjoyed equally.