Where can you so easily find such a rich variety of landscapes, amazing culinary variations, flavours both native and exotic, a rich blend of settings, and a very unique artistic tradition? – In Alsace, France!
Once you decided whether to use your car or the fast and comfortable local trains, your itinerary should include the following 4 key locations, which require a full day at least: Strasbourg, the capital city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Roman legions never imagined that the place they discovered over 2000 years ago would develop one day into such a charming and culturally rich area. Strasbourg grew rapidly to become a major military and religious stronghold. Trade developed rapidly along the Rhine and all the way to the Baltic Sea and to the rest of the world.
Key political Institutions chose to settle down here: The Council of Europe and the European Parliament both meet in Strasbourg.
Diplomats from over 40 nations attend the Council’s conferences regularly to discuss and improve the Human Rights and Educational issues on our Continent. Strasbourg seems to have ignored the usual signs of aging. With a population of 400,000, the city centre is predominantly reserved to pedestrians and cyclists. Sidewalk cafes and colourful half-timbered houses are a pure invitation to walk around in this magnificent old town, through the borough of “La Petite France” for instance. It will be tough to choose in which “Winstub” to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and order a “Baeckeoffe” or a “Tarte Flambée”.
The whole nation is also envious of the “TRAM”, a modern street car serving several Park&Ride facilities around the heart of the city. Guided tours will generally be offered to you either by foot, by boat, or by bike and even by canoe. The River Ill circles the heart of the city and a fleet of “Bateau Mouche” offer very enjoyable 90 minute tours.
Colmar, a jewel of Renaissance architecture Colmar has often been depicted by several artists as one of the most beautiful cities in France. There is an incomparable Renaissance architecture all preserved in a fairy tale like town centre.
This place embodies perfectly the Alsatian “Art de Vivre” (Way of Life”), with a distinct taste for authenticity. High quality music festivals, ranging from jazz to classical all the way to the colourful folklore dance performances are offered throughout the year.
The Wine Road, one of the most typical of its kind in the world, with 170 kilometres (miles) of little towns like Riquewihr, and prestigious vineyards The ideal way to enjoy our wines is to spend time on the Wine Road. World know vineyards, interrupted by adorable little villages, with half timbered houses coming right out of a children’s story book, and hundreds of wine growers, all with a very interesting back yard for a wine tasting session….
Mulhouse was a Swiss town until 200 years ago. Today, it’s so close to Switzerland and to Germany that you could have breakfast in France, a nice walk through Basel followed by a good beer in the Black Forest, all on the same day! There are 7 fascinating museums in Mulhouse, all of which are truly worth a stop. In particular, for men always keen to see beautiful cars, the Schlumpf collection features over 500 antique car models, with the world’s largest private collection. The famous carmaker Ettore Bugatti, who created all his models in Alsace, left an incredible legacy among which the stunning Bugatti Royale. Do you want to show your children how country life was like 150 years ago? Then take them to Frances largest Open Air Museum, the Ecomusée d’Alsace, a magnificent park with 90 original houses, comedians, animals, a turn of the century Merry Go Round…(The Ecomusée is located in the town of Ungersheim, minutes from the centre of Mulhouse)
Winter In Alsace The minute snow falls on the slopes of the Vosges Mountains, it becomes a must to put on a pair of skis or choose to use the sledge with the kids and have a great time on a crisp winter day.
Cross-Country skiing is a well-appreciated sport here, probably more than the downhill version. After the effort, Alsatian families usually take a calorie refill at a local mountain inn. They are called “Fermes Auberges”. They serve homemade dishes from their own farm.