Friday, October 14, 2011

Franschhoek Visit [Part 2]

A lovely farmhouse, with resident horses enjoying the bright sunshine, on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Franschhoek.

Rather frustratingly, we have been experiencing intermittent internet outages, apparently due to an upgrade by our local telecommunications provider. I have, therefore, not been able to reliably access my email account or Blogger for the past few days. My husband has just called out to let me know we are "Back online!" [for now] and so I thought I'd use the chance to quickly upload the second installment of our trip to Franschhoek.  Without further ado, therefore, please join me on a pleasant amble through the older village, with its ever so quaint, cottage-style homes and very pretty gardens! This is a sampling of the many pictures both my husband and I took. I will allow them to speak for themselves in most instances and will only offer captions here and there.


Oops! I'm at it already...just can't seem to keep my mouth shut, can I? I thought the base of this huge tree looked very much like an elephant's foot!

And, this home was one of my favourites!

This gardener favoured cycads, aloes and succulents. The house was recently sold and still unoccupied, so I made the most of the opportunity to lean right over the front wall to snap a couple of pictures.

Deep shade surrounds this home, in time for the approaching months of summer.

This homeowner is twice blessed...not only does he/she possess a beautiful garden, magnificent vistas of the surrounding mountains are also added to the lucky packet!

A peek across a little steam that gently meanders through the village reveals a beautiful stone bench tucked beneath a leafy canopy on the other side. This private garden will be opened to the public for viewing at the end of the month.

Isn't the setting perfect? Reminds me of the Secret Garden!

I loved this little tin guinea fowl family perched so realistically on a branch of this gracious old tree.

The garden of this home is huge and one we have earmarked to visit at the end of October, when ten Franschhoek gardens will be opened to the public for viewing. I can't wait!

There are many gracious Guesthouses in Franschhoek. This is one of them.

If you're beginning to feel a little weary, you might enjoy a rest on this bench.

A stream meanders through the village, which itself is fed with 'leiwater' (water that is channelled to each of the houses to provide additional water for use in the gardens).

As you will have noticed, most of the older homes front directly on to the street, with only a narrow verge garden. The properties all seem to have large backyards.

Look what came out to greet us at the end of this cul de sac (or have they perhaps been trained to act as security guards?) They were not unfriendly, in fact they permitted me to take many pictures...but I did not try to get any closer to the impressive entrance to their home.

I did have fun snapping them...thankfully, none of them tried snapping at me with those rather impressive beaks.

This large property has been sold for development. We had fun photographing the old, existing buildings which will undergo restoration eventually. I'll show you the pictures we took of the old house and sheds another time.

For now, I want to concentrate on the pretty homes and gardens that give Franschhoek its beauty.

This old gateway had to be accessed by ducking low under the large, low overhanging trees on either side of the stepping stones leading up to it from the street. A little bird was serenading sweetly in the branches up above and, for just a moment, I imagined I'd stepped into an entirely different world.

Beyond the gate, pictured above, this secluded pathway leading to the unseen house beckoned me further, but I had to decline as then I would have been trespassing.

Franschhoek is a veritable feast of floriferous beauty at this time of the year. My eye is always instantly drawn to blue flowers, such as this gorgeous bearded iris.

This is actually a teeny-weeny peek at the absolutely wonderful restaurant where we had lunch. I am saving this treat for another day, since the whole setting begged to be photographed. Believe me, we took plenty!

For now, shall we continue our stroll down the streets of the village?

Oh, good! So glad you've opted to stay on a while longer...

There really is so much to take in, it's difficult to know what to leave out!

By now, you will have noticed that the many of the older homes are painted bright white. This is a characteristic of the period in which these homes were constructed.

Any introduced colour is generally added to the trims...

And the occasional wall will be painted in pastel shades of pink, blue or green.

The garden on this verge was a blaze of pink, white and mauve, reflecting the pink of the verandah walls most effectively.

This house had touches of grey-blue. The garden was so pretty, but as the owners were home, I wasn't able to brazenly lean over the wall to take pictures, as I sometimes do when I can see no one is home.

Oops! And there you've caught me at it! Leaning over someone's wall to take pictures.

This is just one of the pictures I took while 'leaning over the garden wall!'

This is the old watermill, La Cotte. It is a restored historic monument and may not be altered, externally, in any way.

Isn't it pretty?

I could SO live here!!!

This is a newer home, but I thought it deserved a picture.

This concludes today's post. Next up, I'll show you around the shops and take you to lunch at the restaurant we peeked at earlier. You'll get to meet Hendrik, a beautiful rooster. Bring your wallets to the shops, if you'd like to buy a few South African arts and crafts.


  1. What can I say, Desiree? It's hard for me to believe that you are able to find so many enchanting spots in your travels. Franschhoek is yet another beautiful, charming and inviting part of your world. It looks spotlessly clean and free of litter. I love the white homes with colored trim, the breathtaking gardens with cactus and succulents and other types of plants and flowers, winding pathways, places to sit and rest, the cobalt blue sky, the welcome wagon committee of geese - it's just like paradise! Thank you for another memorable tour, dear friend, and I hope your internet problems are behind you. Have a splendid weekend, Desiree!

  2. You had me at the first picture. Have you ever thought of having puzzles made out of your photos? That watermill one would be really cool.
    Have a fantastic weekend!

  3. What stunning photos of the second part of this tour for us. I was certainly glad to take a seat on that bench half way through, because I was getting pretty hot! I couldn't believe it when I saw bluebells in one of the photos. I didn't realize you had those in S.A! Those houses were absolutely stunning. I loved the old watermill. That tree in the photo of you sneakily taking a photo over the garden wall is amazing. Look at all that lovely blue sky :) I love how the mountains are always there in the background. Thanks for such a lovely tour, and I now look forward to the SHOPS! Yay! Hugs.

  4. I must say Des the wait for part two was more than worth it. I could "SO" live there too. Everything looked so clean, bright and charming. I have never seen an area so well kept and adorable. Thank you so very much for allowing us to tag along. I will certainly be watching for the next installment. Have a wonderful weekend. My best to your sweet family.

  5. Oh Desiree- you are SUCH a tease! That restaurant looks so quaint! I could totally live there too! I like the newer home but, if I lived there, I would take an older one over the new! Even the sky was a gorgeous shade of blue! The gardens were lovely! And I love that secluded pathway! That's where I was thinking the secret garden! The yellow shutters on that one home reminded me of Deanie- she LOVES yellow! Guest house?! It's bigger than my house!!! What a wonderfully delightful place!

  6. my goodness, this is a gorgeous place! from the incredibly lush gardens, the gorgeous trees, the perfectly maintained, bright white buildings. just wonderful!

  7. This is a gorgeous village, absolutely beautiful.

    Where are all the people? Is nobody out during the day in SA?

  8. Good evening Desiree, Such beautiful photo's you're sharing today. I loved the one with the birds on the branch :) thank you for showing us around, it's so beautiful there.

    Have a lovely weekend!

  9. FRIKO:

    Yes, there were people out and about and cars moving around, but we waited for them to be out of sight of what we were photographing. It wasn't what you'd call busy, though. Being a weekday, I guess most folks were either at work or out shopping. Also, many of the homes are holiday homes. Their owners live in the city and they spend weekends and holidays in Franschhoek. The town centre is generally quite busy, as it is very much on the tourist map. We were viewing the suburban areas for these pictures.

  10. What a beautiful post, Desiree!!! Franschhoek would be anyone's dream village...a serene and bright paradise of lovely gardens and homes. Anxious to see the photos you take when they open their gardens to the public! Leaning over fences is hard work!

  11. I hate that every comment was exactly what I would have said.

    I just had no idea how beautiful it was there.

    So let me ask a question - do you all need air conditioning - what about schooling - and would love to know about life there.


  12. What a great village...beautiful houses !!...enjoy a happy from

  13. SANDIE:

    Many of us do have air-conditioning, but it's not essential except on the very hottest days. Our lifestyle is geared very much to outdoor living/entertaining during our summers. We eat al fresco quite often. As far as schools are concerned, we have a good range, both in the public and private arenas, with some public schools not functioning well at all, while others turn out top students every year.

  14. I loved your comment on my blog today - yes, isn't it wonderful to be able to share each other's lives through blogs. I feel as though I've really visited this very pretty town with you today. What gorgeous houses - I'd like to live in any one of those!

  15. Oh it was like being transported to a different time in history. The houses so pristine and looking just like a postcard. The trees are beautiful, the gardens exquisite. I loved the water wheel and the elephants foot. I could spend all day there. Well I could live there I would never be bored. To bad development is moving in. Great tour Thank you. Oh I loved thinking of the over the fence stalker :) B

  16. I loved seeing all these beautiful houses and gardens! The architecture and colors are so different from what we have here in the U.S. Reading your blog posts is like taking a mini-vacation with you in South Africa.

    Thanks so much for taking the time while your internet was back up to post more about this trip to Franschhoek. I am so looking forward to reading about your delicious lunch.

  17. Desiree, your photos are so beautiful. I feel like I get a vacation everytime I visit your blog. I love the lattice work of one of the first pictures. You are so sneaky and bold, taking pictures of everyone's gardens! Thank you for the lovely views!

  18. It is not very often that I am speechless. That is the most charming town with quaint buildings and beautiful gardens...I devoured every single shot! Lovely! Just lovely! :):)

  19. The villages you choose to visit, Desiree, are so picturesque. The photos you take of houses and gardens make me want to fly off today and visit them!

    I saw that Stephanie suggested that you make jigsaw puzzles of your photographs. You know what I'm still suggesting--travel guides complete with photographs! Think about it.

    I was wondering why all the houses that were pictured were painted white. Then I came to your sentence of explanation and scrolled on and found those lovely pastel colors. So beautiful.

    Thank you, Desiree, for your understanding about my convent days and theology as reflected in your comment on my Thursday posting. I did represent some of what we were taught. But again I say--I was so immature spiritually.

  20. I'm speechless at how beautiful these pictures are. The homes, the architecture, the gardens, the backdrop is all just breathtaking. I am so grateful to you for putting these up because I would never have imagine that corner of the world looking this beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Hugs.

  21. Such lovely architecture and such beautiful gardens! Thank you for all the wonderful pictures!

  22. I am awestruck by the beauty and diverse plant life. Those trees look like they're hundreds of years old; especially the elephant foot one!

    Traveling with you has made me definitely want to add South Africa to my "must visit" list of places.

    How old are the homes? They seem sort of ageless, like they could be 50 years or 100 years old. I have no frame of reference for your part of the world.

    Thank you for taking the time to catch up on my blogs, and write such warm comments. Jess is loving her job, and Kailyn is finally settling in. (But I still haven't completely finished putting up my pantry shelves! Almost done!)

    I can't wait for further photos and commentary!

  23. Every time you post I call The Great Dane to come and look at your photos. He is getting used to me telling him that this will be our first trip when he's allowed to travel. I'm sure your government should pay you for being such a wonderful tourism promoter!

  24. Simply beautifully captured shots...lovely ride through this place!

  25. Dearest Desiree,

    What a lovely phrase "a pleasant amble through the older village" (haha, for me it is♬)
    Thank you very much for the PICTURESQUE GORGEOUS TOUR in Franschhoek again♡♡♡ Now, I'm wondering if any place you take pictures can be a marvelous place.
    Oh, I DO welcome your your caption, sure looks like an elephant's foot♪♪♪ How amazing "stone bench" and "guinea fowl"; I needed to check the word p;)
    What a greet you get; I loved the comment of Mr. Shady "the welcome wagon committee of geese"♬♬♬ Sure Franschhoek is a heavenly place with the cobalt blue sky!!!

    PS> I thought "read more" function is what you need in your blog, my friend!!! At a moment, I thought I might try; haha, it worn't be needing in my blog. I had a guest who is my hubby's friend today and they both enjoyed the tour as well♡♡♡

    Love and Lots of Hugs to you, Orchid*

  26. What a magical place! I love the red blossoming trees against the white buildings. Your use of the word floriferous made me smile. I don't think we use such grandiose words around here, but seeing the bountiful beauty of your surroundings I can see why you elected to use that descriptive word. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel blessed just seeing this.

  27. What greenery and blooms in this special place! Your photos are testament to the great visit you had.

  28. Hi Desiree, The day you took these photographs looks to have been perfect and not a cloud in the sky. I enjoyed seeing all the houses- so different from anything you would see here. Most houses there seem to be white. Is there a reason for this? I am also wondering about the preference for a single story or a story and a half. Here most houses are two stories. All the gardens are so neat and beautifully maintained.


    The houses featured are mostly original Franschhoek homes, dating from about the 1800's (some a little earlier, others a little later). They are built within the style of that period and are not representative of later building styles, although modern homes in Franschhoek are built (sympathetically?) to complement the older homes. Many of the modern homes are quite grand and built on two (or even three levels), but many are huge, single storied mansions, as well. The older homes have been preserved externally in keeping with the visual appeal of the village as a whole. White was the traditional colour of the era in which they were built and so most have retained that clean, bright look, which works well with the bright colours of the gardens and all the greenery from the many large trees and surrounding mountains. Those glorious blue skies are a common sight! It really is a very pretty town and is well visited by tourists and locals.

  30. What a wonderful tour. I love the stark white of the homes..and especially all the lace trim. Immediately I began thinking how sweet lace trim would be on our home..then I remember Patient Husbands words " YOU..always have a project going!" and he is right. I will be happy with what I have.
    I am impress with how clean and neat everything is and the pride of ownership. It's wonderful..ok..back to see if I missed anything
    ! :)
    HUGS!! Enjoy your day. A friend in Sweden says they often have their computers down for one reason or another.

  31. desiree...WoW!! i can't get over how CLEAN and bright...and manicured...everything looks!! these older homes are taken care would never think they were 'originals'!!
    the scenery...the flowers...landscape...the deep blue sky...such a magnificent place!!

    LOVE that flock of security guards! you were lucky they didn't give you a pinch...on the butt!! such well behaved geese!

    thank you...for the beautiful tour!!

  32. You brought back some very happy memories Desiree. We travelled to Franschhoek a couple of years ago. It was one of the prettiest places I have visited and this lovely post shows it off to its best.
    Aaah - pause while I sigh in pleasure!

  33. I too was struck by the bright whiteness of the buildings and all the natural bright colors of the surrounding gardens. Until now I have never had the slightest desire to visit any part of Africa, but you have changed my mind. You live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world. I'm so glad you're so willing to share so much of it with us.

  34. Hello:

    Lovely pictures.

    Thanks and kind regards,

  35. I absolutely love coming to your site! You not only take me places that I've never been to, but places I have never even heard of before. These were just gorgeous. You are so fortunate to live over in such a beautiful place!

  36. Beautiful houses in a gorgeous setting! I'd love to stay here for a while and soak it all up! I love the stream running through the village and the gardens are so colourful. I expect you are eagerly anticipating your return visit when they open!


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