Kokilaa and Akshay Kapur went to Alsace in 2015. Here is their ‘trip report’ which tells you why you should consider this delightful corner of France for your next holiday.
While I was researching the top 10 villages of France, or rather Europe, I realised that three of the top five villages are in the Alsace region. I called Suhasini asking if she had been there or even heard of it. She hadn’t sent anyone to this region for a holiday yet but her French counterpart said that it was one of his favourite regions in France. Not as touristy as Bordeaux or Burgundy but definitely worth a visit.
And after having spent five glorious days in Alsace, I have to say that I concur. We landed In Zurich and drove to Rouffach (a short drive of 1.5 hours) a small village in the region set in the foothills of beautiful vineyards. We made Château d’Isenbourg hotel our base. The Château is a small property on a hill-top in the middle of vineyards with the most gorgeous view of Rouffach on one side and the vineyards on the other.
From Rouffach we drove to a few villages each day, following the wine trail of Alsace. The day spent at Riquewihr was most memorable. Claimed to be one of the most beautiful Alsatian towns and not without reason. Tastefully preserved, picturesque, full of half-timbered homes. Besides being picture perfect, the hospitality we experienced here is noteworthy. We had scheduled wine tasting at Hugel & Fils, one of the oldest wine makers of the region. During our tasting, in walked Etienne Hugel, the 13th generation Hugel owner, who took us on a personal tour of the entire village, his vineyards, house, factory, personal museum and his cellars. We also saw the oldest barrel of wine still in use. This entire experience was very special for both of us – Etienne left everything to drive us, paid for our parking and showed us around with so-o-o much passion. I hope that we have the privilege to repay the hospitality at some point in our lives. We had a lovely meal at d’ Brendelstub which is an atypical Alsace Winestub. Winestub literally means ‘wine lounge’ and a must-do in this region. A tip: it is best to avoid Riquewhir during holidays as the overwhelming throngs of tourist are likely to detract from the intimacy of the visit.
All the towns and villages have similar architecture but with their own distinct character. Kaysersberg is a charming town, much less touristy than Riquewihr. When you enter this medieval town, you really feel like you have been transported back in time. It has castle ruins up the hill which is an ideal place to take pictures. The local tarte flambée is must try!!!!
Eguisheim was my personal favourite. Beautiful, quaint, cobbled, coloured homes, fountains and flowers that adorn the whole old town!!
Colmar is a bigger town with a beautiful petite Venice area. The abundance of flowers along the canals are breathtaking!!!! Loads of little shops and restaurants. We had lunch on a sunny autumn day at JY’s by the canal. The food, the service, the location all making it to perfection. The menu was full of wow factors typical of a Michelin starred venue.
Mittelbergheim is yet another jewel in the Alsatian crown. This gorgeous village is set on a hill overlooking vineyards all around.
Another thing this region is famous for is their beer gardens and on our last day in Alsace we went for a wine festival at Barr. Not half as pretty as some of the other villages I have mentioned but we had a fabulous day eating street food, watching performances, listening to bands, live orchestra and enjoying their local beer.