Last Updated on June 12, 2022

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Exploring the wine routes of the Western Cape is an absolute must when traveling to South Africa. So, where better to stay than in the heart of the Winelands, in the historic little town of Franschhoek, only an hour’s drive from Cape Town? Noted for its top restaurants, wine culture, natural beauty, and architectural charm, connoisseurs named it the “food and wine capital” of South Africa.

Look no further than Petit & Grande Plaisir, a luxury self-catering 4-star accommodation I recently booked with a group of three ladies. When the charming owner, Marlicia Meyer, warmly welcomed us at the entrance gate, I knew the stay would be most pleasurable.

About this Magnificent Holiday Rental in Franschhoek

Grande Plaisir living room. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Grande Plaisir living room. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

We first settled the ladies into Grande Plaisir Villa, a magnificent house with three luxurious, air-conditioned double bedrooms en suite on 9 Nerina Street. As we got out of the car, a riot of flowers in a beautifully laid-out garden with cemented steps leading to a central birdbath greeted us. Adjacent to the house was secure parking for two cars and easy access to the front door.

We all gasped with pleasure as we stepped into the entrance leading to a spacious living room, beautifully decorated with quality inlaid yellow and stinkwood furniture, soft rugs, and large paintings of South African wildflowers and other local scenes. Wrought-iron chandeliers from the ceilings lit up the house. A fireplace and ready-cut wooden logs stood invitingly against one wall while comfortable chairs, strategically placed, ensured guests’ maximum comfort.   

Every window seemed to look out at a piece of the lush outdoor garden, and every corner of the home either sported a chair, mirror, or plant. Even the long dining room table with seating for eight faced a window. With its fully appointed open-plan kitchen, complete with a dining nook, free Wifi, and Dstv, the house truly felt like a home away from home.

Three Spacious Bedrooms Perfect for Groups

Grande Plaisir Bedroom. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Grande Plaisir Bedroom. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

My friends drew straws as to who would get which bedroom. Each room was tastefully appointed with comfortable double beds and beautifully handcrafted throws. The rooms with adjoining baths were skillfully tucked away for more privacy.

The ladies were delighted with the laundry facilities and impressed that the staff would hang out the wash each morning! In South Africa, folks believe in drying their laundry in the sun.

The magical ‘English Garden’ in front led to a beautiful outdoor pool and barbecue area to the side of the house. Reclining on the comfortable deck chairs, one could enjoy a view of the surrounding Middagkrans Mountains and see the white stones spelling the name Franschhoek against the nearby hill. An additional fourth double room is available at the Protea Apartment just next door.

The Petit Plaisir Cottage

Petit Plaisir Cottage. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Petit Plaisir Cottage. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

After getting the ladies settled, Marlicia directed me to the adjoining Petit Plaisir Cottage with its separate entrance on 4 Heide Street next to their house. What an absolutely stunning and spacious property. The lovely trees, tranquil garden, and secure parking under a shady pergola next to the cottage enthralled me.

Two wicker chairs and a round table with a lantern sat on the tiled front porch. The scent of jasmine filled the air. Ground level is also wheelchair-friendly with an easy access to the cottage.

My comfortable, one-bedroom unit offered all the amenities of Grande Plaisir and nice touches of Franschhoek hospitality, such as fresh milk in the fridge and jars with crunchy cookies and South African rusks (a type of biscotti). I enjoyed the books on the coffee table next to the fireplace framed with small mosaic tiles.

Two well-worn hats cheekily adorned a massive display frame at the front door. Huge, earth-colored tiles covered the walls of the bathroom, and the shower was deliciously hot and refreshing. 

Built to Enjoy in Any Season

Grande Plaisir Swimming pool area. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Grande Plaisir Swimming pool area. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

The accommodation is ideal for all seasons of the year. During the warmer months, guests can enjoy the outdoor facilities and have a typical South African braai (barbecue) at the pool. Or snuggle up at the indoor fireplaces in winter, a glass of South African wine in hand, of course. And, to further spoil you, Petit & Grande Plaisir offers year-round daily room service.

I enjoyed the privacy of the cottage, while my friends loved that their bedroom windows allowed them to look out at the gardens while no one else could look in. This nod to privacy is a small indication of the excellent planning and thoughtfulness of the hostess. Marlicia went beyond the call of duty, even providing a home remedy when one of our group of ladies became ill.

A Focus on Conservation

Grande Plaisir Front garden. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Grande Plaisir Front garden. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

Marlicia added further personal touches by including a summary in the directory of how she and her husband met, moved to Franschhoek, and established the guesthouses. The family is very committed to conservation, recycling, and the need to preserve precious resources.

The directory also explained typical South African dilemmas, such as load-shedding. This refers to the power being cut for a few hours on certain days, necessitating the use of solar lights as well as candles. She also added information about their hearing-impaired dog Nandi, and provided recipes for the afore-mentioned crunchies and rusks.

We agreed with Marlicia that Petit and Grand Plaisir were the ‘perfect place for friends and family to get together.’

Ideal Location for Exploring the Town of Franschhoek

Petit Plaisir Bedroom. Photo by Elsa Dixon.
Petit Plaisir Bedroom. Photo by Elsa Dixon.

The accommodation is close to the Huguenot Memorial Museum and the adjacent Huguenot Monument. Both pay tribute to the influences of the French Protestants who fled to South Africa during the 17th and 18th centuries. Franschhoek is the Afrikaans word for French corner, named for the settlers who established themselves in this area. Franschhoek celebrates an annual Bastille Festival during the first two weeks in July when townspeople dress in red, white, and blue and showcase what the picturesque valley has to offer.

Grande and Petit Plaisir are within walking distance of the town center. You’ll be surprised at the number of excellent restaurants, upscale shopping, and the entertaining open market.

A few words about the restaurants we frequented and highly recommend. On arrival, we had dinner at the French Connection Bistro, where their mussels were a highlight. We had a great lunch at Rickety Bridge Winery the following day while on the tram tour. Afterward, we drove to La Motte, where, besides enjoying the beautiful gardens and buildings, we admired the art gallery displaying the works of the legendary South African artist, Pierneef.

Later that evening, we set off to find a good steak! The Hussar Grill, established in 1964, did not disappoint. Not only did we find the meat tender and succulent, but the manager and staff were highly informative and entertaining. 

Franschhoek Wineries

In addition, of course, top-class Boland wineries and wine estates surround the town.

Hop on the Franschhoek Wine Tram for an excellent overview of the valley. The tram and a bus stop at various wine farms, allowing visitors to explore the estates and, of course, partake in the wine-tasting activities. Plan your route and buy tickets at their offices as you enter Franschhoek. 

There are a variety of other fun ways to experience all this magnificent wine country has to offer:

We Loved Our Stay Here

Marlicia made our visit here thoroughly enjoyable, seeing to every tiny detail, and to crown it all, even followed up after we left, wanting to make sure we were all doing well.

If you’re planning a visit to South Africa, be sure to include the Petit or Grande Plaisir!

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