On a small corner of a Franschhoek farm...
As one of the oldest towns in the Western Cape, Franschhoek is known for its traditional homes as much as for its magnificent scenery, gourmet food and world-class wines. Michelle Funke finds out more about a lifestyle property up for grabs
THE Franschhoek Valley in the Cape Winelands, touted as the gourmet capital of SA and a foodie and wine-lover’s paradise, is nestled between towering, vineyardcovered mountains.
Around 320 years ago during the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in France in 1685 when Protestantism was outlawed, hundreds of so-called Huguenots fled their homeland, with approximately 277 arriving by ship at the Cape of Good Hope. Many Huguenots were given land in a valley called Oliphantshoek, so named because of the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. Eventually the area became known as Franschhoek (French Corner) — a heritage which is celebrated by the Huguenot monument in the village.
The museum nearby chronicles the history of the town’s pioneers, with each of the original Huguenot farms having its own fascinating story to tell. During July, over the weekend closest to Bastille Day (14 July), the village celebrates its French heritage with a wine and gourmet fair.
The village houses a variety of amenities from crafts, art and antique shops and galleries to coffee shops and restaurants as well as speciality shops, primary and secondary schools among others.
With a rich history dating back to the 1600s, Franschhoek has become synonymous with countryside charm, historic houses and great food and wine. In fact, many of the farms in Franschhoek still use their French names and often boast Cape Dutch homesteads.
But there are some new homes among the historic ones, including an exceptional new residence named Le Jardinet — or “little garden” — which is on sale through Sotheby’s International Realty.
Located on a portion of Champagne Farm, which dates back to 1694, this barn-styled home, with its white walls and dark hipped roof, blends in perfectly with the traditional winelands architecture. Beyond the imposing entrance, with its columns, ponds and massive front door, is an ultracontemporary, light-suffused home strongly reminiscent of the luxury high-rise lofts favoured by celebrities in New York.
The dominant feature of the ground-floor architecture is the 3.2m-high windows and glass doors that surround the spacious living area and perfectly showcase spectacular mountain and vineyard views.
On this floor there is also a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen with scullery, storeroom and walkin pantry; the north- facing veranda with external lounge, dining area and fireplace; a gymnasium and the master bedroom suite with walk-in cupboards, private patio and indoor and outdoor showers.
The first floor houses a mezzanine lounge with low-level library, a large open-plan studio or home office, two spacious bedrooms and a family bathroom.
Outdoors, there is a 15m solar- heated lap pool and a 25m dam, as well as two guest cottages, each with their own kitchen and bathroom, staff accommodation and two garages.
The whole property is energy friendly and large solar panels supply hot water to the house, piped under-floor heating and the swimming pool. Boreholes supply the water for the house, dam and garden, and a natural spring runs for nine months of the year.
Lightstone, a property statistics and data provider, indicates that close to 60% of property in the village of Franschhoek is freehold, with just over 36% estates and the balance sectional title units. The statistics show that around 42% of all property sales in Franschhoek between July last year and June this year were priced between R1.5m and R3m, with 31% of properties sold during the same period priced over R3m.
While 44.62% of recent buyers in the area have been aged between 36 and 49, more than 46% of recent sellers have been aged 65 or older. Price: R25m Contact: Sotheby’s International Realty James Penlington 076 356 4993