Already for the fourth time in Alsace: On a long weekend we visited the Alsatian Wine Route with the towns Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé and Bergheim as well as the city of Strasbourg. I won’t tell you anything about wine in this article, because I haven’t had any alcohol for more than a year. Instead, I would like to show you what the region has to offer for the eye and for the camera. Unfortunately, not everything is perfect in Alsace: Around the most beautiful places you meet too many tourists, sometimes too many cars and I have to say that I find the popular places of Alsace somewhat over-commercialized, which of course has to do with mass tourism. Souvenir shops accumulate unpleasantly in some places, some things are ridiculously overpriced. On the other hand, the views of colourful half-timbered houses, green vineyards and forests – crowned by castles – are so beautiful that this visit to Alsace was certainly not my last: My camera and I simply love the region.
The “capital” of the Alsatian Wine Route offers an attractive infrastructure with beautiful restaurants and cafés, some of which are located on canal terraces, despite its manageable number of inhabitants (approx. 70,000). Because of the canals, Colmar’s most photographed district is also called “La Petite Venise” (Little Venice). The photographic highlight of this district is the Quai de la Poissonnerie with its incredibly colourful rows of houses. But Colmar also enchants in many other places and has remained cosy despite the architectural highlights. The town invites you to stroll around since one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe is located here. In Colmar you simply feel comfortable, especially early in the morning and late in the evening, when less people walk around there.
The town inspires not only by its many colorful half-timbered houses, but also by its location in the midst of vineyards, on which a castle is enthroned. From the old centre of Ribeauvilllé you can hike directly into the vineyards. I found the small farmer market held in the town center on Saturday very charming with a variety of vegetables, flowers and many nice things, like handmade soaps being sold. Small markets can be found in many places in Alsace. The small town is very charming, but there is a lot of traffic, unfortunately not kept out of the centre, which essentially consists of a single road. But nevertheless there are lots of beautiful photo motifs. If you want to have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet, you can do so on the terrace of the “Salon de Thé” across the street from the town hall, because cars do not get there and on Saturday mornings you can watch the market when enjoying a good French coffee.
This little town is so pretty, that it’s hard to believe. The colous of the half-timbered houses are particularly intense here. The alleys are narrow and steep and you simply feel like finding yourself in a fairy tale. In Riquewihr you find something to photograph at every corner. Here too, the vineyards are in the immediate vicinity. The upper city gate with its half-timbered façade is very worth seeing. Outside the city wall (at the bottom of the entrance) you can escape the viasitor crowds and sit in a picturesque place under a beautiful tree. This is also a nice photo spot.
The charm of Bergheim is that the village lies within a fortress. Inside the fortress it is not quite as photogenic as in Riquewihr or Ribeauvillé, but all the more cosy as there are no tourist masses to be found here. If you want to spend a quiet time in one of the wine route villages, this is the place to be. Beautiful half-timbered houses can of course also be found here. The village with its red roofs looks beautiful from above. You can get this sight when driving up the nearby mountain to the reconstructed medieval Hochkönigsburg. From there you also have a fantastic view of Alsace – if the weather is fine – as far as the Black Forest and the Alps.
You can’t avoid Strasbourg in Alsace and you shouldn´t. In comparison to the towns mentioned before Strasbourg is a large, diverse city. It´s always worth a visit. This time we decided to visit the photogenic “La Petite France” quarter, where craftsmen such as tanners, millers and fishermen used to live. The most beautiful part is located on the island of “Grande Île”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nearby there is also a very nice restaurant where you can sit by the river. Otherwise, you can enjoy a picnic in the nearby green areas. What I particularly like about “La Petetie France” is the mixture of half-timbered houses, geraniums and water. Flowers and water flatter every architectural photo…
Transparency: The linking of commercial providers is based on my voluntary decision. The costs for our trip were borne completely by us.
If you liked my article, you might also be interested in my blog post on the beautiful half-timbered city of Stein am Rhein in Switzerland.
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