The fertile valley that Franschhoek calls home is of course the setting for a staggering number of gilded wine estates, each producing wines of a world class stature and all swirling that aspect of their existence together with luxury trappings in terms of food, accommodation and art in order to lure in that seemingly non stop (apart from pandemic times of course) stream of both foreign and local tourist travellers alike.
The opulent Grande Provence, a heritage wine estate, is one of those locales that I most enjoy visiting when in Franschhoek, not just for its wine, the view, and lovely eatery options, but because of the incredible array of constantly in flux sculptural artwork that it has on display. In terms of history, Grande Provence has roots stretching back for more that 325 years when the original farm was first established by the French Protestant refugee Pierre Joubert (the progenitor of the Joubert family name in this country), one of the original French Huguenots that escaped religious persecution by the Catholic church by fleeing to South Africa and setting up shop here with the aid of the Dutch East India Company. (Legend has it that he smuggled his bible out of France by hiding it in a loaf of bread. That particular bible is currently on display at the very informative Huguenot Memorial Museum).
The estate is home to a shop, a gallery, offers cellar tours and blending experiences, dining at the restaurant, the deli, or picnic lawns, accommodation options in terms of suites and a villa, and as these beautiful big Cape Dutch styled places generally do, wedding facilities. And as I have now mentioned, its also a particularly good place to view sculpture pieces by established talents like Angus Taylor, Deborah Bell, Lionel Smit and Leon Vermeulen, and based off this particular visit of ours, Anton Smit. In other words, lots of pretty photos to follow!
Leave the kids behind for this one if you can. Fine food, superb wine, gorgeous Franschhoek views, and hours of art inspired talking points – definitely not hard to see just why this is such a favourite spot of sophistication for me.