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Published August 24th 2014
Need a Holiday? Drink French Wine, eat and see history
The last time I went overseas to see family in England I thought I should see some more of France. I had heard about the Alsace Wine region. This area is one of the smallest French regions, located in the northeast of France on the Border with Germany and Switzerland. The whole area is full of history and I love wine tasting, to me it was a dream location. I was determined to visit. So after arriving in London and seeing family, we flew with Swissair to Zurich and picked up a rental car to drive the short hour and a half to Colmar.
Colmar is a large Medieval town, but quite easy to get around on by foot. Our stay of three nights gave us plenty of time to see the town square, fountains, canals, eat in several cafes and enjoy some great shopping. On our way to the village of Riquwheir we come across a small tucked away village called Eguisheim. This village was fortified in 1257. It is so picturesque with winding cobblestone alley ways, unusually small houses, and colourful displays of flowers.
It is very clean and you can see much love and care has been put into preserving its historical charm.
You need to park just outside of the village and walk your way. There are several open air vendors selling fresh produce of cured meats, cheese and Tarte Flambee (traditional Alsatian dish composed of thin dough covered in creme fraiche and thinly sliced onion and lardon which is thin strips of pork. I'ts a specialty of the region and yes expect to gain some kilos in France!
We drove off in search of our next destination and on the way we visited a derelict castle which was ancient, but it had no signage so I wasn't able to find out more, however the view up there was stunning over the valley. I took so many beautiful pictures of the vineyards and surrounds as I was so in awe of the region.
Our favourite village by far is Riquewhir. We arrived early afternoon in Riquewihr I had booked our own accommodation online back home. The town is very popular and we could only get 2 nights in early September we splurge a little at $225 per night but it was brand new. When we saw our room we were so pleased it really outdid our expectations. Our room was called The White Stork, it was a stunning fully contained apartment located inside the village walls on top of an old Renaissance house built in 1291. The owner had fully renovated the whole building into several small apartments.
It had everything you would need even a washing machine and dryer, fully contained. We would have loved to have stayed there a week and used it as our base to visit all the other Alsace villages. There were views from each window over the ramparts and town. My favourite bedroom window looked out the back over vineyards and mountains.
I would highly recommend a weeks stay in Riquewihr. The village has at least thirty restaurants and all that we sampled offered exquisite food and wine. So affordable too! A four course meal with wines matched to each course was around $150 Euro for two! My favourite restaurant was Philippe Aubron's 'Au Trotthus'.
The Chef/Owner, Philippe Aubron is very friendly and will come out to speak with you, he may even offer you a little complimentary taster. He is no ordinary chef. Aubron is quite famous and has earned a lot of Michelin stars and awards over the years. His restaurant is built against the rampart walls that are over a thousand years old. It's truly unique and very popular. You must call and book as it only seats around 30 people. But if you don't get in there are so many other wonderful restaurants to choose from.
Apart from all these stunning villages there are also countless small family owned Vineyards for you to visit as well as the better known Wine houses. It's truly a memorable holiday for those that enjoy history, amazing scenery, gourmet food and wine! You will wish you had more time, I did and I plan to go back again soon!