To visit Franschhoek at any time of the year is a pleasure – but during CoVid 19 pandemic, it is a dream vacation. You may only be away for a day (level 3 travel regulation in South Africa) – but your spirits are lifted, your horizons extended, and all the blues are brushed away.
We left early in the morning, and just before Franschhoek, we headed north on the R310 towards Wellington to La Paris Estate, where we had booked for breakfast at La Paris Bistro/Deli. We were greeted by friendly protocol-following service, a busy restaurant and memorable food. We felt so spoilt and savoured just being out at a restaurant. Sunlight streamed in through the windows – we felt alive and our hearts sang.
La Paris dates back to 1699 when Willem Adriaan van der Stel, governor at the Cape, gave the farm to Francois Retief – the original Retief family in the Cape. The morning sun flushed appraisingly the surrounding mountains, ancient oaks, elegant entrance and rivulet waters that tumbled under a pathway bridge through planned gardens, where style values the finest detail.
Heading towards the town of Franschhoek, we turned in at Grande Provence heritage wine estate which is part of (international) Huka Retreats that desire to create the most exceptional experience in hospitality. Due to CoVid 19 restrictions, a colourful bistro and market are on offer during the limited hours of business. This magnificent farm has origins in 1694. We wandered around the estate and savoured the style, beautiful people and exclusive surroundings.
Le Petit Manior was a surprise pleasure. As with the other locations, we had no idea of what to expect – and were again delighted! Le Petit Manior, originally a fine dining restaurant opened in 2018, plus 5-star accommodations above, has reinvented itself into a vibrant and welcoming bistro. We were served excellent food at most affordable prices and great interior style. The restaurant loves the bistro busyness, and will continue serving bistro fare after CoVid 19 is long gone to welcome locals and visitors.
We felt that our day away was as good as an overseas vacation!