In 1687, Simon Van Der Stel and 23 pioneers, set the start of Franschhoek History, when they arrived in what is now the Franschhoek Valley and established farms along the Berg River. In 1688, 176 French Protestants were forced to leave France, or face persecution. These refugees settled in the valley with only their bare necessities, and began farming. Many estates still have French names to remind us of the contribution of the ‘French Huguenots’ to the wine industry.
In 1938, the Huguenot memorial was constructed to commemorate the 250th anniversary of their arrival. Three arches symbolize the Holy Trinity, and the woman in front holds a bible. The torn chain represents liberation from religious oppression. The Huguenot Museum building originally stood in Cape Town, and was rebuilt in Franschhoek. The Franschhoek flag is a French Flag with a grey elephant in the centre. The elephant reminds us of the herds which originally roamed the Franschhoek mountains. The last elephant was seen departing the valley in 1850.
With a rich Franschhoek History behind it, the town is now home to around 6600 people. It is famous for its world-class wineries and restaurants. The community is diverse and home to both farm workers and foreigners who have chosen to settle in this beautiful valley.