Le Quartier Français – Franschhoek, South Africa
In the 17th Century, the Huguenots sought refuge in this mainly Dutch settled region, and to this day, it retains its distinct Provençal character. Franschhoek literally means French corner. Le Quartier Français is a laid back and understated boutique retreat with the Western Cape mountains behind and some of the country’s finest vineyards surrounding it. Just a few minutes from Franschhoek itself, it is secluded and tranquil. It sits in colourful landscaped gardens, with sculptures dotted around, looking out over the mountains. Superlative service, excellent cuisine, and of course, a very extensive wine list, make it the perfect base for your Western Cape travels.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For it is a spectacular home from home in the heart of Franschhoek, the cape winelands.
Style:Chic Provençal auberge.
Location:On the edge of Franschhoek in the heart of the winelands, just 45 minutes from Cape Town.
Rooms:25 individually designed rooms & suites.
Swimming:The Pool Suites come with their own pool, & there's a swimming pool in the spa.
Children:There are no specific facilities for children, but families are very welcome.
Open From:All year round.
The décor is simple and elegant, with walls papered in pretty block print and chairs and cushions upholstered in bold patterned fabrics. The rooms and suites are light filled with views over the courtyard garden or the magnificent Western Cape mountains. The Auberge Rooms are spacious with a comfortable living area and large bathrooms. They can sleep two adults, with some having a sofa bed for a child. The larger Grande Rooms have equally wonderful views and a bright colour palette.
The very comfortable Petite Garden Suites look out onto their own secret garden and feature luxurious bathrooms. The Pool Suites are very generous in size, with their own walled gardens and pool. They also come with a sofa bed, making them ideal for families travelling with children. Set around its own courtyard, the Four Quarters Suite is very spacious and beautifully decorated. It has a superking bed and large sofa bed for children.
Not only is the Western Cape South Africa’s most celebrated wine region, it is also its gastronomic capital. So it can be no surprise that the food at Le Quartier Français is particularly good. Informal and stylish, Protégé is renowned for its small plates menu – beautifully presented and delicious dishes with French, Italian and Asian influences. Here, you can eat on the terrace, or watch the chefs in the show kitchen in the main restaurant.
As you can imagine, the wine list has a strong local influence – with many as part of the set-tasting on the menu. Épice also has flavours from far flung places in its refined menu. Dishes from Spain, Japan, Mexico and Denmark all have imprinted their mark on the culinary team.
Naturally, a visit to the Western Cape will involve at least one wine tour. The trophy cabinet at Leeu Estates in Franschhoek is bursting with awards, with their wines consistently highly rated both nationally and internationally. Tutored tasting sessions allow you to experience new vintage releases and special cuvées, whilst you learn the finer nuances of these handcrafted wines. The choice of wine tours in this region is almost limitless – the difficulty lies in choosing which ones to visit.
Of course, you’re not just restricted to wine related activities here. The region boasts many excellent golf courses – Pearl Valley, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Erinvale with its stunning location surrounded by the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains are just two. The area is also famous for its gardens, with those at Babylonstoren being particularly impressive, or the exceptionally beautiful Dylan Lewis sculpture garden. For a larger wilderness experience, the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, part of the UNESCO Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve, can easily take a day of your time, hiking its trails and admiring the panoramic views over the Franschhoek Mountains. Or combine a drive and a wine tour at the Chamonix Wine and Game Drive. You are surrounded by great walking country, or explore on horseback or by e-bike. The region also has very strong artistic roots, and wherever you go, you’ll find numerous contemporary and African art galleries – with one directly adjacent to Le Quartier Français. And after an action packed day, the Leeu Spa will revive you with a range of holistic treatments, with the pinotage grape as the main ingredient. Rest and repeat!
Franschhoek, South Africa
On the edge of Franschhoek in the heart of the winelands, just 45 minutes from Cape Town.