Visit Alsace, France
Alsace is a lovely region to explore, with important cities such as Strasbourg and Colmar, the Alsace wine route, historical castles, and many pretty villages sitting quietly in the vineyards and forests of the region
Six unmissable highlights of a visit to Alsace
Mont Sainte Odile
Alsace general information
Alsace is found in eastern France, on the border with Germany to the east and the Lorraine region of France to the west. It is the smallest region in France and very pretty in its location between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine. The setting also means that it has a perfect, fertile environment for grape growing and wine production.
The 'trademarks' of the Alsace region include:
- the attractive villages with streets of half-timbered houses overflowing with geraniums. One of the best ways to see many of these villages is to follow the popular 'Alsace Wine Route ('Route des vins')
- the attractive mountain scenery of the Vosges range
- the castles, many in ruins, that dot the region, and bear witness to the long (and often conflict ridden) past that Alsace has 'enjoyed'.
Northern Alsace (the Bas-Rhin department)
Strasbourg is the capital if this heavily forested region, in which the climate is almost 'continental' - hot summers and dry, cold winters.
Destinations in northern Alsace around Strasbourg include several of the better known Alsatian castles, and a good selection of very pretty villages.
Less well known perhaps, Le Struthof, the only WWII concentration camp built in France (part of Germany during the war) is in this part of Alsace
Selected Bas-Rhin highlights
Barr : Chateau Andlau : Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg : Ebersmunster : Epfig : Fleckenstein : Hunspach : Kintzheim : Le Struthof : Marmoutier : Molsheim : Mont-Sainte-Odile : Neuwiller-les-Saverne : Obernai : Rosheim : Saverne : Selestat : Strasbourg : Wissembourg : Mittelbergheim
See Bas-Rhin for more details.
Storks of Alsace
A particular distinctive feature of Alsace is its storks. At one time every tall roof and steeple seemed to have a resident stork. These then suffered a serious set-back and almost disappeared from Alsace.
Happily a successful breeding programme has succeeded in re-introducing the storks and they are again a popular sight, and a number of towns have a 'stork park'. To keep the storks in the area a stork is kept in captivity for 3 years and then loses its migratory instincts (though its young will still migrate).
Southern Alsace (the Haut-Rhin department)
The larger towns in southern Alsace include Mulhouse and Colmar - not major tourist destinations in themselves but each has its own attractions.
Apart from more 'most beautiful villages' (of which there are several here in southern Alsace) the other major attractions include the very substantial ecomuseum at Ungersheim. This is the largest of its type in France and a very interesting glimpse of life gone by, with more than 70 historic buildings reconstructed in one site.
Selected Haut-Rhin highlights
Altkirch : Bergheim : Colmar : Eguisheim : Guebwiller : Hunawihr : Kaysersberg : Mulhouse : Munster : Murbach : Neuf-Brisach : Ottmarsheim : Ribeauville : Riquewihr : Soultz-Haut-Rhin : Turckheim : Ungersheim
See Haut-Rhin for more details
Traditional recipes of Alsace
As well as its fabulous wine Alsace has some hearty food specialities. Baeckeoffe, a hearty stew with pork is a favourite as is Flammekueche which is a kind of cross between a savoury tart and a pizza and appears on every menu in Alsace. Bretzels, a savoury salty bread in the form of a knot, and Kougelhopf, a delicious brioche with sultanas and almonds, are sold in most bakers.
See more ideas at Alsace tourist information, with more towns, national monuments, national parks, towns in bloom etc across the Alsace region.
Map of Alsace
French version: Alsace (Francais)