I can’t really believe we are already in May – this year is already flying by. A few weeks ago, my friends Andrea & Lubica suggested we head to Alsace in France for a long weekend getaway to welcome May.
Even before arriving there, I knew the girls were going to love it (and I was right!). We had “perfectly” timed our trip to fall exactly at peak bloom of the amazing wisteria that the entire region is known for. However, as luck would have it, a huge cold front came over these days, dropping rain and temperatures. Well, you can never trust April.
The freeze killed our plans to have a picnic by the vineyards and be spoiled by the spring sun. Nevertheless, we anyway decided to spend some time in the region, enjoying all of the other wonderful things Alsace has to offer!
We headed to Colmar in the morning. Colmar is a remarkably well-preserved medieval city in the French frontier region of Alsace. The copy of the Statue of Liberty greets visitors to the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi. We spent a few hours in Colmar. The cozy city has definitely retained the charm of a bygone era with its historic neighborhoods, winding pedestrian streets, and atmospheric canals. We just couldn’t resist taking too many picture of the Krutenau Quarter, also known as “Little Venice“.
After a good amount of walking, we worked up an appetite for a snack! We decided to drive, to the next village for a late lunch, to Riquewihr. After a half hour drive we reached Riquewihr and our stomachs were totally rumbling. It was the right time for lunch, so off we went to enjoy the local cuisine.
The Alsatian cuisine shows the influence of near-by Germany, as well as its French roots. The food is out of this world and distinct from other French regions. Using a great deal of pork in various forms, it’s hearty and filling. A foaming beer is just as popular as a glass of Riesling, and the specialities include not just foie Gras d’Alsace served with lentils and escargots, but juicy ham hock with steaming choucroute, pike-perch poached in riesling and spicy gingerbread. And to drink? Alsace is one of France’s great wine regions, producing mostly white wines such as Riesling. There’s lot to explore in the cuisine of Alsace, so Bon Appétit!
Over lunch, we chatted away about our plans for the afternoon and the next day’s activites. The direction was to follow the Wine Route, to another picturesque village like Eguisheim.
Eguisheim looks like it is straight out of a storybook, filled with cobblestone streets lined with brightly painted half-timbered houses that date from the 16th and 17th century. This enchanting medieval village was founded in 720 by the Count Eberhard and is nestled in a sunny valley surrounded by the green rolling foothills of the Vosges Mountains. As the French would say it’s a “Les Plus Beaux Villages.”
A few locals told us more about the historic houses in Eguisheim. Most of them feature balconies that are lovingly decorated with potted flowers. And because of its exquisite floral displays, the village has been rewarded with the “Grand Prix National du Fleurissement,” France’s most prestigious national floral award. It was so adorable, I just wanted to stay there forever.
One thing to note about, I don’t think I have ever travelled through any other part of France where visitors are given such a genuinely warm welcome, than here in Alsace.
I wore Marc Polo dark blue jeans (here) with a pale pink Pietro Filipi sweater (here) and my Max Mara creamy trench (old, but similar one here and found another here) which definitely came in handy during our trip. I wasn’t expecting it to be quite as cold as it was. Regardless, we still had the best time.
Alsace might be the most picturesque spot in France. It was pretty surreal being there after pouring over so many photos and picturing it in my mind for so long.