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Regions — Eastern France — Alsace

Region at a glance


Major City: Strasbourg

German influence in language, architecture and cuisine. Picturesque half-timbered houses with flower boxes along canals. Fortress-like castles. Wine route with many medieval villages to visit along the way.

Alsace is like a fairy tale; half-timbered houses adorned with flowers, gabled roofs, and chimneys topped with stork nests. The majestic forests and peaceful lakes of the Upper Vosges are perfect for hiking or biking. The famous Wine Road winds its way through 75 miles of storybook villages. Other theme itineraries, such as the Romanesque Road or Rhine Road make exploration easy.

Strasbourg is not only Alsace's capital, but is the heart of United Europe. Yet away from its modern buildings, down canals and pedestrian alleyways is the enchanting medieval section known as "Petite France." Colmar, a lovely Renaissance town is home to the extraordinary Unterlinden Museum. A restored 13th Century nunnery, the Unterlinden's square courtyard is flanked by its former chapel where the Isenheim Altarpiece now hangs. In Mulhouse, visitors find a museum dedicated to the automobile. Five hundred classic cars, including many rare Bugattis, are preserved inside.

Former fortresses like Riquewihr and Kaysersberg have been bypassed by history, survivors of the wrecking ball that has brought progress to larger cities and towns. Their streets and turreted walls once meant to repel invaders now invite children to discover that history is more than just museums.

Places of interest

Colmar      Bartholdi, Unterlinden Museum

Le Grand Ballon      Highest peak of the Vosges with beautiful views

Guebwiller      Quaint village located along the wine road

Haut-Koenigsbourg      Restored castle

Kayserberg      Village on the wine route with old houses, bridge and renaissance architecture

Lembach      Chateau de Fleckenstein, Four à Faux

Le Mont-Saint Odile      Religious pilgrimage site, beautiful view of the Alsatian plains

Mulhouse      Automobile Museum, Railway Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Fabrics Museum, Wallpaper Museum

Obernai      Marketplace, City Hall, Chapel Tower

Riquewihr      and Ribeauvillé Two medieval cities known for their wines and architectural treasures

Saverne      Château des Rohans, Archeological Museum, Museum of Art and Histor

Sélestat      Old town and world famous Humanist Library

Strasbourg      European Parliament,Court of Human Rights, Cathedral with astronomic clock, Museum of L'Oeuvre Notre Dame, Kammerzell House, Alsatian Museum, the "Petite France" historical district

Trois Epis      WWI memorial

Wissembourg      Church of St. Pierre & Paul, Bruch Quarter, Museum Westercamp

Technical tourism and sports

The wine route of Alsace winds for 75 miles along the eastern side of the Vosges, across hillsides and deep valleys sprinkled with châteaux and half-timbered houses.

Tobacco and beer factories.

Skiing, cross country skiing, biking, hiking, barging

Cuisine

One of the most celebrated regional dishes is choucroute, made with fluffy sauerkraut, ham and sausage, but keep in mind some of France's most treasured pâté de foie gras come from Alsace's farms. The fresh trout or partridge redefine the meaning of "the fare of the country," and a tarte flambée, a pizza-like dish baked with fresh cream, is considered vital to one's health and general well-being. The pleasures of the table are usually capped off by colorless but potent fruit brandies known collectively as l'eau de vie, the water of life.

Alsatian white wines, dry and rich in bouquet, are sold under the name of the grape from which they are made. Among the most famous, all entitled to "appellation d'origine controlée" (meaning they must come from a specific area), are Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Muscat d'Alsace, Tokay Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.

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