Tips for traveling rue de vin in Alsace, France?

Hello, would appreciate any tips on traveling rue de vin, but more specifically, looking for a place to stay for two nights. Colmar may not be "intimate" but would like somewhere big enough to stay interesting and have places that stay open a little later into the evening if we feel like going out. Would Riquewihr fit? TIA

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  • 8 years ago
    Best Answer

    There are two ways to approach the "route du vin" in Alsace. One is to stay in a larger town like Sélestat or Colmar and go out to the smaller villages by bus if you do not have your own transport or, if you have hired a car, to pick one of the smaller places which quieten at night after 9 pm and explore the region from there.

    We chose to do the latter and stayed for two nights in Riquewhir in the autumn just as they started the grape harvest. It is a ravishing village though it can be explored in half a day, but it is a good base from which to explore the region as villages are relatively close to one another and in any case things stay open till quite late unless you go out of season. There was even a magical Christmas shop which stayed open very late in the evening.The village is extremely busy from 11am till 8pm when the hordes of coach and day tourists have disappeared, but that depends on the time of the year you go at.

    We picked Jean-Luc Brendel's who owns two establishments, one being a Stub above which are rather splendid rooms full of character, the other a Michelin starred restaurant . You can stay in the former and eat in either restaurants. The food at the stub is more traditional whilst the cooking at Table du Gourmet is absolutely divine and innovative. Despite the high price it is an experience not to miss.They have an enclosed parking just outside the village gateway, which is an asset as parking within the walls is difficult and forbidden in most streets except for put down/ pick up. However the place is teeming with hostelries of all kinds and at various prices. We were charmingly received at the Dopft wine shop where the manager speaks excellent English.

    We moved on down the route to Chambard at Kayserberg, a traditional hotel that was modernised recently by the two brothers who inherited it from their parents and where bedrooms and the Michelin starred restaurant are ultra modern. The starred restaurant has no windows is turned on itself but the food is very fine. The traditional stub opens on the main street at the front hiding the modern extensions and they have their own parking at the back for customers through an archway. The village is more linear than Riquewhir, stretches further, has a pretty stream by the church, and has a variety of shops selling 'objets' of all kinds and even a spectacular glass blower workshop.

    In the past we have stayed several times at the Cerf in Marlenheim, where the hotel frames a courtyard dripping with flowers and the rooms are in the quaint Alsatian style with lots of wood and check pattern fabrics. The restaurant is so well liked that Germans cross the border regularly to eat there, but it is on a fairly busy road and the village, whilst attractive, is nowhere as picturesque unless you go into the back streets where we bought excellent wine from the local vintner. The shops on the high street are more utilitarian and close at 6 pm.

    If you look up "Alsace Route du vin " on the web you will find lots of other charming villages with hotels but that are much quieter than Riquewhir or Kayserberg, and itineraries to follow, but it is hard to beat those two locations. However Eguisheim in particular is also mind bogglingly pretty during the day in high season as each house in the narrow backstreets is covered with fantastic displays of flower tubs and arrangements, but they would not be out at this time of the year because of the frost. Excellent wines are sold there too. We walked around the town ( the parking is on the outside fringe and charges by the hour) but there is a "Petit Train" that takes you round the most attractive parts of the town if you want to spare your shoe leather. The two churches are really worth going into and one of them has this amazingly primitive carved and coloured Madonna. We have friends who stayed at the Hostellerie du Château and who were very pleased but we did not stay there ourselves. At the time the municipality was having the main road mended and the side streets repaved so there were traffic jams on the approach to the town. This is also a place Germans descend in vast numbers by the coachload for the day and there were at least a dozen coaches in the car park at any one time. We enjoyed Colmar but only went on a day visit as it is very busy and parking is not easy. Shops and places of interest close at 6.00 pm. The Haut Koenigsbourg castle is a must even though one of the wings is the process of restoration and it is a long walk up the hill as cars are parked a long way down.

    We bought our wines mostly from négociants and vintners whose wines we had enjoyed drinking during our visit in Alsace. Some are actually tucked away in less eye catching small villages.

    I hope this is helpful to you .

    Enjoy your trip!

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    5 years ago

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