Recently, we made a long weekend trip to Luxembourg and then into France along the German/French border in the Alsace Wine region. The Alsace Wine region is particularly beautiful and it’s probably one of my favourite places we’ve visited in Europe so far.
While Bordeaux and Champagne seem to be the more well known French wine regions among international travellers, Alsace doesn’t seem to have the ‘name’ that these regions do and isn’t as well known internationally (or at least we hadn’t heard much about it before our visit!). We certainly didn’t hear any other English speakers during our travels. Actually, because our French is pretty basic, we found we had to communicate in German with some of the winery and shop owners, as English wasn’t an option. It was quite a strange feeling visiting old French villages, tasting French wines, speaking German with the Frenchmen serving you the wine, in villages full of traditional German timber framed houses! Even though the Alsace region is part of France now, it has exchanged hands between France and Germany a number of times, so its no wonder we sometimes felt like we were still in Germany!
The wine road is almost 200km and makes its way through about 100 little villages, all linked by fields of grape vines and wineries. Each little village is tightly grouped around the village church, and the church bell tower can be seen from a distance as you drive towards each of the villages. In the surrounding hills and mountains, every so often you can see an old castle that looks out across the villages and the valley. It is so picturesque and a place I would definitely like to go back to, if given the chance.
We stayed in Colmar, one of the better known (and busier) villages on the wine road, and from there we drove to nearby villages along the wine route.
We stayed on the third floor of an old timber framed 1830 cottage in Colmar (the building on the far right hand side in the photo below). The ceilings were a bit wonky but the place was full of character!
On the way to the Alsace region, we drove via Trier, the oldest city in Germany with a lot of well-preserved Roman and medieval buildings.
It’s also one of the richest countries in the world…which is evident when you see retirement homes that look more like royal castles…
Both Trier and Luxembourg were great, but all in all we were glad we visited them before the Alsace region, as Alsace is pretty tough to top!