It’s those little things that always bring a smile.
Yay, another French road trip and this time we headed northeast to Alsace.
The Alsace region of France may not always be on the road trip radar; however, for us, it was a region we couldn’t wait to discover.
We had previously visited Alsace’s capital of Strasbourg at Christmas time, but on this occasion, it was June, and the vineyards were in full flourish.
Tucked away along the border with Germany and where the Rhine is shared by both countries, this lush region of France has some beautiful towns and villages waiting to be discovered.
This region has been fought over by the French and Germans for more than 300 years, and this mixed heritage is clear to see as you explore the region.
A helpful guide
If like us, you love visiting different regions of France then this Michelin guide will definitely assist in your planning.
We used a previous version of this book to plan our eastern France road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.
Colmar – This is an excellent choice for basing yourselves while you discover the region. Full of picturesque half-timbered buildings along cobbled streets, lovely canals and plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from.
Alsace wine route – As you may have gathered this is another region of France famed for its wine, with lush vineyards rolling across the countryside almost reminiscent of a patchwork quilt.
While you are free to journey from the main roads and get lost amongst the vines, there is a great route to follow that weaves its way across the landscape and takes you through some stunning little towns and villages.
It’s signposted all the way and no prizes for guessing the name of the route, yes that’s right “Alsace Wine Route”.
Discovering the villages – although the route is enjoyable by car, make sure you park up and wander into some of the towns, the love and care that has been given to keep them looking stunning is incredible. Our particular favourites were Niedermorschwihr, Riquewihr & Turckheim.
Canal Trip – There I go again, any excuse for a boat trip, well why not it’s always a great way to get a different perspective on a destination and giving your feet a rest at the same time.
Maginot Line - For something a little different and doesn’t include wine, take a trip to see the Maginot Line. Which is a line of concrete fortifications that France built during the 1930’s as a defence against Germany. It was only in 1918 that Alsace and Lorraine were back in French hands.
As the defences were built of concrete, the fortifications have stood the test of time, and some can still be seen.
Storks – Don’t forget to look up towards the sky in this region, as this incredible bird lives high on the roofs of buildings and chimneys.
Nests have been placed to encourage the breeding pairs, as their numbers dwindled during the 1970’s & the 80’s.
They are magnificent to see.
Tarte flambée – this had become a firm favourite of ours while in this region of France when we were back in Strasbourg at Christmas, we indulged in a few.
Alsace wine glasses – okay, okay so we are back on wine again, but if you have visited this region, you’ll probably have seen the distinctive green stemmed wine glasses. They are a lovely memory to have and always gets us reminiscing about Alsace.
History – the mixed history and culture of the region are fantastic, we love the Germanic influence and can relate to familiarities just across the border. It’s certainly noticeable on the food.
What I would do differently;
It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy our last Alsace destination of Wissembourg because I certainly did. However, I think we should have stayed for longer further south along the wine route.
Although this was where we picked up the green stemmed wine glasses, in a supermarket for about €1.50 for 4.
They still make us smile when we use them.
A slight disappointment;
This is a bit tricky, but in hindsight, I would have to say allow an extra couple of days, you’ll want to keep stopping at the quaint towns and villages.
A point to note;
Road trip – as this was a trip from the UK we chose to throw in a couple of extra stops, one on the way to Alsace and one on the return leg. The first was to the elegant city of Nancy and our homeward journey we stayed at Metz. Both full of so much history and wonderful French delicacies.
Inspired to visit the Alsace region?
Take to the road and tour the Alsace Wine Route, base yourselves in Colmar like us and enjoy the local delicacies when your trusty steed is parked up for the day.
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