Franschhoek, meaning French Corner, was founded in 1688 by the Huguenots; French Calvinist protestants who fled prosecution in France for their religious convictions. 200 of the highly skilled and experienced French settlers found a new home in the Cape towards the end of the 17th century. The Huguenots went into agriculture and introduced wine production in South Africa. The Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek is a reminder of these immigrants. Many places and families in this area keep their original French names, such as du Toit, Marais, Malherbe, De Villiers or Le Roux, which also spread over the whole of South Africa.
Due to the tourism-induced emphasis on specialities, Franschhoek has nowadays more French flair than ever, especially along the Main Road which is lined with chic street cafés, French restaurants, bistros, boutiques and galleries.
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