Franschhoek s a small town in the Western Cape Province and one of the oldest towns of the Republic of South Africa.It is about 75 kilometres from Cape Town and has a population of slightly over 15,000 people. Since 2000 it has been incorporated into Stellenbosch Municipality.The valley was originally settled in 1688 by 176 French Huguenot refugees, many of whom were given land by the Dutch government in a valley called Olifantshoek ("Elephants' corner"), so named because of the elephants that crossed into the valley to calve.The name of the area soon changed to le Coin Français ("the French Corner"), and later to Franschhoek (Dutch for "French Corner"), with many of the settlers naming their new farms after the areas in France from which they came. La Motte, Champagne, La Cotte, Cabrière, La Provence, Bourgogne, La Terra de Luc and La Dauphine were among some of the first established farms — most of which still retain their original Cape Dutch farm houses today.These farms have grown into renowned wineries.
This heritage is shown today by the Huguenot Monument which stands at the end of the town.The museum nearby chronicles the history of the first settlers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell.The construction of the new English-medium private Bridge House School outside the village has also attracted many urban dwellers to the village.Franschhoek is notable for having some of the top restaurants in the country within its borders. This fact, together with the strong wine culture, and pristine natural and architectural beauty has made Franschhoek into what many describe as the "food and wine capital" of South Africa.Franschhoek's weekend Bastille Festival has been celebrated every July since 1994, the year of the first South African general election with universal adult suffrage marking the end of the apartheid era.