Everyone needs a good break away from the city. Last weekend, my friend Jared and I went to Wine, Jazz & Laughter – a festival at Idiom Winery, and what a way to start the weekend away! With our bellies full from food, and painful from all the laughter, we drove to the Franschhoek. Franschhoek is a little town nestled between the Helderberg mountain ranges in the Western Cape and literally means “French corner.” It’s a village that somehow manages to be fun and exciting, but also quiet and serene. I don’t really understand how it manages to be so popular with both the young and the old at the same time, but it does, and it’s spectacular.
Franschhoek has a naturally homely feel to it. You walk around the town and meet friendly faces that greet you like you have known them for ages, and you hear accents and languages from all over the world. In a place like that, there couldn’t be a better place to stay than Le Petit Bijou Apartments. Let me explain before you think that I am exaggerating – there is a reason why it is 5. Le Petit Bijou has four apartments, each representing a country that the owners have lived in. The owners are born and raised in South Africa and for a while lived in the apartments, and so naturally they have one that captures the feel of South Africa, including housing their private CD collection. This is where we were luckily enough to stay. Within minutes owner Karin made us feel right at home. Le Petit Bijou did something that many places are not able to, and that is to decorate and theme a place subtly without any cliches and over the top decor. The place also provides guests a luxurious pool and a comfortable seating area where you can look at the stars and dream your (French) future.
Another great thing about living at Le petit Bijou was its proximity to the MCC Franschhoek restaurant which offers delicious coffee and a hearty breakfast. A three minute walk from MCC Franschhoek will take you to places where they do chocolate tasting (they make the chocolate there, and you get to see how it’s made!). A short drive will take you to the famous wine farms, but if you don’t feel like driving, wine trams and wine buses will come pick you up from town and take you to many of the farms. Franschhoek has a wide selection of famous wine farms, including our favorites Haute Cabriere, Solms-Delta and Grande Provence.
Although they have all these wine estates, my favourite thing to do in Franschhoek is going to the Motor Museum. The museum has a collection of old cars. There are four warehouses that showcase the history of motor cars from around the world including an entire warehouse dedicated to just Mercedes. Definitely a place to check out weather or not you are a petrol head.
Sadly, all good weekends must come to an end. The journey back to Cape Town was an easy and quick drive, and we were able to stop once or twice to take pictures of many of the beautiful mountains on the way. Ah, why can’t all weekends be as amazing?!