A suggested itinerary in Alsace
Visit the Strasboug Astronomical Data Center (CDS)
Direct flights from Paris (1 hour) and many European cities to
Strasbourg and Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airports. By train from Paris
to Strasbourg is 4 to 5 hours. By car, autoroute A4 Paris-Strasbourg is about 4 hours.
Summer, hot on the plains with thunderstorms, cooler in the hills.
Spring, crisp and luminous. Fall, crisp, clear Indian summers, some
fog. Winter, cold, with abundant snow on the Vosges Mountains.
FOOD & WINE:
Alsace specializes in hearty dishes like traditional choucroute
garnie, with a fortress of thin Strasbourg sausages, ham and bacon
perched on a mountain of sauerkraut, or steaming Backeoffe, a pork, lamb
and beef casserole with sliced potatoes, steeped in wine. But with 28
Michelin-starred restaurants, there are imaginative alternatives:
choucroute with salmon, smoked trout and perch; or with preserved duck;
or even with snails and wild mushrooms. Other local dishes: foie gras
(invented in Strasbourg); delicatessen meats; tarte flambée, a double-cream,
onion, cheese and bacon Alsatian version of pizza; onion
tart; irresistible fruit tarts with custard and cream; Kougelhopf cake
and cheese pie.
The elegant Alsatian white wines (from seven grape varieties:
Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sylvaner, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and
Tokay) are quite distinctive from the sweeter German wines with whom
they share the same bottle shape. Discovering them is an aesthetic as
well as a gastronomic pleasure in the picturesque villages of the Wine
Road, where they can be tasted in the producers's cellars or by the
glass in local bistros known as Winstubs.
SPORTS & LEISURE:
Alsace has cycling, mountain biking, hiking and in winter excellent
cross-country and downhill skiing in the Vosges. There are also
walking tours of vineyards, river and canal cruises, and hot-air
Best buys are regional pottery, the blue-on-gray stoneware of
Betschdorf and the glazed kitchenware of Soufflenheim; fruit jams and
eaux-de-vie (fruit brandies); foies gras; Grand Cru vintage wines;
quality Alsatian fabrics and linens at La Maison du Costume Authentique in
Strasbourg (11 bis, quai de Turckheim). You can find old designs made
up as handkerchiefs, scarves and shawls at the Musée de l'Impression
sur Etoffes in Mulhouse (3, rue des Bonnes-Gens). Arts et Collections
d'Alsace in Colmar (1, place de l'Ancienne Douane) has copies of
traditional Alsatian folk arts from museums. Strasbourg has a flea market
and old-book market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
February: Carnival parade in Hoerdt
March: Strasbourg International Film Festival
April to October: Sound and Light show, Strasbourg Cathedral
May: Fête de Pentecôte, Wissembourg, with folklore parade, dancing,
May to October: Round of the night watchman at 10 p.m., Turckheim
July: International Music Festival of Colmar Streisselhochzeit;
traditional Alsatian wedding in Seebach
August: Wine Festival in Colmar; Procession of floral floats in
Sélestat and Turckheim
September: Bugatti Festival in Molsheim
Most museums and shops outside of the major cities close for lunch
between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. Some smaller museums are open only in
summer, or only on weekends in winter. Bring comfortable shoes with
cobblestone streets in mind, and a raincoat.