South east France is one of my favorite destinations in Europe currently, because of the charming villages along the wine route, and it’s close proximity to us. It is also full of delicious food.
To properly visit this region of Alsace, you have to have a car in order to see the vineyards and little villages sprinkled in between. The most famous villages in this region are: Colmar, Eguisheim, Riquewir and Obernai.
The most famous big city in this region is Strasbourg (also known as the European capital because of the European Parliament and other European Union institutions located there).
I first visited Alsace in 2019 to see the Christmas market in Strasbourg as a day trip, and I quickly fell in love with the city and culture. The Alsace region was once or maybe twice owned by Germany, constantly shifting between France and Germany depending on who won the war, so the French culture in this region is a mix of French & German.
You can notice the German influence in their half timber houses, but the food and people are very French. French is the main language of communication but if you speak German, you can get by easy.
Recommendations: Yonaguni Spa in Obernai, connected to the Le’ Parc hotel. We stayed here for 3 nights and we can’t recommend it enough. The staff was wonderful, the spa absolutely magical, and the food delicious! It was almost too good to be true. If you can’t stay at the hotel, I recommend visiting the spa as a day visitor and I promise you won’t regret it. The spa hotel is in Obernai, a small town, with so many wonderful restaurants and bakeries. We enjoyed getting pastries from the bakery and sitting in the town square to people watch as we ate our pastries.
We also visited Riquewir and Colmar. In these two cities, we walked around the Main Street & old town admiring the houses. In Riquewir, we stopped at a wine tasting shop and tasted wine for free then bought 2 bottles. The wine in Alsace is very similar to wine in southwest Germany, but the quality and complexity was far better.
In Colmar, the city is much bigger but not as big as Strasbourg. So in this city we opted to do a train tour (it was raining and we honestly just wanted to kill time before our dinner reservation). The train ride around the city giving you some historical context was ok, but nothing to write home about. We however later did a canal boat tour in little venise – a section in the old town, and it was worth every penny. Very calm, relaxing and romantic. We later ate at L’epicurien (a Michelin plate restaurant) and grabbed drinks & flambee at a small restaurant next to the canal. Colmar was very lovely and definitely a must see if you go to Alsace region of France.
We skipped Eguisheim because we were running out of time, but we plan on going back sometime soon. I have heard great things about this little village, so don’t skip it if you can help it.