from the Swiss border in the south and up
to the German border in the north, Alsace,
the smallest of France's 22 administrative
regions, is cradled between the Rhine river
and the Vosges mountain range. The mountains
tower over both the wine road and the plain,
providing the natural shelter that causes
the temperate climate of the region.
enjoys a semi-continental climate, with
hot summers and long, warm autumns. These
are ideal for all - the agricultural producers
of the region and the multitude of tourists
beautiful, neat and tidy, the region is
the stuff of which fairy-tales are made:
gingerbread houses and buildings in medieval
towns and villages bedecked in the summer
with cascading flower arrangements, southern
slopes contoured with grape vines and the
irresistible smells of the region's delicacies
permeating every village square.
region's three main civic centers, linked
by the famous Alsace Wine Route, are the
cities of Strasbourg - the cultural, intellectual
and financial center, Mulhouse, the industrial
and business center and Colmar, the center
for agriculture and the wine industry.
hands periodically over the centuries, the
region's inhabitants combine Germanic thoroughness
and reliability with typical French love
FOOD & WINE SPECIALTIES:
Choucrote Garnie, a dish consisting of sausages,
ham and bacon served on a mountain of sauerkraut,
is probably "the" regional dish
that typifies Alsatian cooking. Backeoffe,
a pork, lamb and beef casserole in wine
sauce, is another. The list of regional
delicacies is long, and is further assisted
by over 25 Michelin rated restaurants in
the area, all adding their imaginative alternatives
to the mix.
regional dishes include tarte flambe, Kougelhopf
cake and irresistible fruit tarts with custard
elegant Alsatian white wines (from seven
grape varieties: Riesling, Gewurztraminer,
Sylvaner, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris
and Tokay) are quite distinctive from the
sweeter German wines with whom they share
the same bottle shape. Discovering them
in the picturesque villages of the Wine
Road is both an aesthetic and a gastronomic
types of sporting activities are available
in the region - cycling, mountain biking,
hiking, golf and in winter excellent cross-country
and downhill skiing in the Vosges.
can also take part in walking tours of vineyards,
river and canal cruises, and hot-air ballooning.
parade in Hoerdt
International Film Festival
and Light show, Strasbourg Cathedral
Fete de Pentecost, Wissembourg, with
folklore parade, dancing, horse racing
of the night watchman at 10 p.m., Turckheim
Music Festival of Colmar Streisselhochzeit;
traditional Alsatian wedding in Seebach
Festival in Colmar; Procession of floral
floats in Selestat and Turckheim
Festival in Molsheim
miss these Alsation road trip planner highlights:
is a small town situated on the River Lauter
close to the border of France and Germany,
in the northeastern Alsace.
picturesque town is set in a landscape of
rolling wheatfields, vineyards and orchards.
Situated between vineyards, orchards and
other crops, Wissembourg's economy is agricultural
to visit all year round, the town is alive
with Alsatian folk music and traditions
during the Pentecost festival.
at what are basically the crossroads of
antiquity, this UN-designated WORLD HERITAGE
CITY draws its roots from the mists
of time. The Celts and Romans were well
aware of its strategic importance, and today
the little town (pop. 700) is still partly
surrounded by the ancient walls.
choir of the church dedicated to Sainte-Croix
has remarkable frescoes depicting different
scenes of the 'Story of our Salvation'.
The frescoes date back to the 15th century,
and are amongst the oldest in eastern France.
at the point where the river Zorn and the
Rhine-Marne Canal enter the Alsatian plain,
Saverne - the Roman Tres Tabernae - was
the central town of the Vosges region in
the Middle Ages.
town served as the residence of the bishops
of Strasbourg from 1414 to 1789. The Chateau
Rohan, the bishops' residence, was built
in 1779 on the site of an earlier castle.
It now houses a youth hostel, the town museums
of archeology, art and history and the Louise
Weiss exhibition rooms.
is probably the typical Alsatian town. Situated
at the foot of Mont Ste-Odile, this old
imperial city that has preserved its picturesque
charm. The market square with its plethora
of 15th century buildings, the narrow lanes,
old burghers' houses and the magnificent
town hall all add to the attractive old
Located on the famous wine route, between
the vineyards and mountains, halfway between
Strasbourg and Mulhouse, Ribeauville is
an attractive town some 5000 inhabitants.
The majestic ruins of the Three Castles
of the Lords of Ribeaupierre, Ulrichsburg,
Girsberg and Hohrappoltstein dominate the
town and neighboring hills. In the town
itself, the Grand-Rue and its picturesque
neighboring streets are lined with 15th-
to 18th-century buildings and Renaissance
squares. The ancient walls, the streets,
the old houses with their wooded beams seem
part of a party-type atmosphere, just waiting
for the first note of music.
part surrounded by its ancient walls, many
of the town's buildings are worth a visit.
The two beautiful Gothic churches of St.
Gregory and St. Augustine are specially
First mentioned in the 8th century as Rathaldovilaire,
the town passed from the Bishops of Basel
to the Lords of Rappolstein, who were among
the most famous noble of the region. The
lord of Rappoltstein was the king or protector
of the wandering minstrels of the land,
who purchased his protection by paying him
The family became extinct in the 17th century,
at which time the office of the King of
the Pipers passed to the Counts of Zweibrucken-Birkenfeld.
beautiful village on the wine trail, just
4 kms from Ribeauville, the town of Riquewihr
currently has 1228 inhabitants and is a
member of the Association of the Most Beautiful
Villages in France.
the property of the Dukes of Wurtemburg,
the town was converted to Protestantism
in the 16th century. The town is still surrounded
by its medieval fortifications and is dominated
by the ancient castle, now a museum.
winegrowers offer tours of their cellars
and tastings. Two Grands Crus are produced
at Riquewihr: Sporen and Schoenenbourg,
the vineyards of which can be seen from
the Grands Crus Wine Trail.
of the few towns not badly damaged during
WWII, the admirably preserved town is a
renowned tourist attraction. It is adorned
with flowers all year round, and specially
decorated at Christmastime.
is considered on of the most beautiful cities
on the wine route. The high fortress that
dominates the city serves as a reminder
of both its strategic importance and its
Kaysersberg with its medieval atmosphere
is more appropriate as the perfect setting
for an Alsatian festival.
is considered to be one of the finest wine
growing areas in Alsace. The first vines
were brought here in the 16th century from
Hungary, and wine production is still an
important aspect of the town's economy today.
Wine produced from the Tokay variety is
a local specialty.
in the 9th century and granted the status
of a free imperial city by the Holy Roman
Empire in 1226, Colmar was ceded to Germany
after the Franco-Prussina war together with
the rest of Alsace in 1871, and only returned
to France after WWI. Today, Colmar is the
Alsatian center of the wine industry and
well preserved old city center houses several
buildings in the German Gothic and early
Renaissance styles. It also houses several
churches, of which the Collegiale Saint-Martin
is the most noteworthy from an architectural
was also the home town of sculptir Frederic-Auguste
Barthodi - best known as the creator of
the Statue of Liberty - and has a museum
dedicated to a number of his works. The
city has a sunny microclimate: it is the
driest city in France, with an annual rainfall
of only 550 mm, making it ideal for cultivating
the grape varieties used to produce the
is the capital and principal city of the
Alsace region of northeastern France. Located
close to the border with Germany, it is
the capital of the Bas-Rhin d?partement
is an important centre of manufacturing
and engineering, as well as of road, rail
and river communications.
is the seat of the Council of Europe and
the European Court of Human Rights. Together
with Brussels, it co-hosts a seat of the
damaged during WWII, the city is chiefly
known for its sandstone gothic cathedral
and for its medieval cityscape of Rhineland
black and white timber-framed buildings,
particularly in the Petite-France district
alongside the river Ill.
historic center, the Grande Ile, was classified
a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988,
the first time this classification referred
to a whole city center.
the cathedral, Strasbourg houses several
other medieval churches that have survived
the many wars that have plagued the city:
the part Romanesque, part Gothic Eglise
Saint-Thomas with its Silbermann organ on
which W. A. Mozart and Albert Schweitzer
played, the gothic Eglise Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune
protestant with its crypt dating back to
the 5th century, the gothic Eglise Saint-Guillaume
with its fine early-Renaissance stained
glass, and the neo-gothic church Saint-Pierre
le Vieux catholique which serves as a shrine
for several 15th century altars that have
been saved from destruction.
German Renaissance endowed the city with
some fine buildings - especially the current
Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie, as did
the French Baroque and Classicism with several
palaces, among which the Palais Rohan (now
housing three museums) is the most spectacular.
Other buildings of note are the Hotel du
Prefet, the Hotel des Deux-Ponts and the
city-hall Hotel de Ville. The opera house
Place Broglie best represents French Neo-Classic