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Exploring Beautiful Franschhoek and Paarl in South Africa

Sep 10, 2008
While there are numerous wine regions in and around Cape Town, two of the best are definitely Paarl and Franschhoek. If you are a fan of French wine regions, you will definitely want to take a tour of Franschhoek. In fact, the area has been aptly nicknamed the French Corner due to the fact that it is just a bit like visiting Provence, with the exception that you are in South Africa. Even the names of the farms and the streets have a bit of a French twist to them. This is because beginning around 1688 French Huguenots began to arrive in South Africa in large numbers and settled in the region. You can even find a museum and monument that celebrates the arrival of the Huguenots in South Africa. While the Huguenots were trying to escape religious persecution they brought with them their knowledge and experience in viticulture and rapidly began to establish wine farms in the local area. Today, these farms and the wine industry is flourishing in the local area.

Of course, wine is not the only reason to visit this lovely region. You will also find some of the best restaurants in all of South Africa in Franschhoek. The local cheeses and produce are absolutely spectacular and well complimented by the locally produced wines. The idyllic scenery along with the wonderful wines and foods makes this region an area that should not be missed while in the Cape Town region.

While you won't find much in the way of traditional shopping, there is a fabulous chocolate shop as well as a local cheese shop where you can purchase items to take back with you. The chocolate shop even allows you to try your own hand at creating delicious confections.

Paarl is yet another area well worth visiting; known for its fabulous wines, eccentric art and plethora of monuments. In addition you will also find a number of antique stores that are well worth browsing as well as fabulous restaurants.

One of the best wine farms to explore is Seidelberg Wine Estate. Not only will you be able to tour the wine farm, but there is also an art studio located here known as Bronze Age and is home to functional pieces of art and metal sculptures. A sumptuous restaurant is located on the same estate along with a cellar that features a working glass blowing studio. If you have never had the opportunity to watch glass being created from sand, it is definitely an experience that should not be missed. You can also purchase glassware at the shop that ranges from perfume bottles to vases to sculpture.

At wine Valley Horse Trails there are stables right on site that provide you with the opportunity to see the best of the region while enjoying a relaxing horse back ride. This is truly a breathtaking way of seeing the beauty of the local area and should not be missed if you happen to be in the region.
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