28 Feb Strasbourg: start of a wine tour adventure
Strasbourg was my beginning and my end… of a three-day, two-night trip through the vineyards of Alsace, guided by Clos Driver Wine Tours.
Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region of France, is a city of European institutions; to name a few, the Council of Europe & the European Parliament.
For the tourist, it is a city flowers (albeit not in winter), mediaeval architecture, winstubs (local wine brasseries), cobbled streets, chiming bells, markets, canals, the river Ill, and, above all, the Cathedral.
The street names are in French and Alsatian dialect; the region has historically ping-ponged between France and Germany.
The three most famous designers from Alsace are: Frédéric Bartholi, of New York Statue of Liberty fame (born in Colmar); fashion designer Thierry Mugler (Strasbourg); and Jean-Jacques Waltz, aka Hansi (Colmar), a 20th-century artist of Alsatian folklore whose work inspires the silhouetted characters so popular in Alsace, especially on table cloths in the Alsatian colours of red and white.
Food & wine in Strasbourg
On my list of restaurants were Jour de Fête (blog to follow) and Au Point de Corbeau (closed for the holidays). Both are in the Krutenau district, on the other side of the river Ill from the city centre. I liked this district… not many tourists, and a leisurely 25-minute walk along pedestrianised streets from my hotel near the train station.
Coffee in Strasbourg
For coffee lovers, Café Bretelles is also in Krutenau. Their beans come from Mokxa in Lyon, where Mokxa runs one of my favourite cafes, La Boîte à Café. For a taste of the round, sponge-like Alsatian cake, Kugelhopf, I would suggest Au Pain de Mon Grand-Père, on the corner opposite, and then to take some time out in the little square round the corner… Strasbourg has a continental climate, so it shouldn’t rain. If only they offered Kugelhopf at Bretelles.
My hotel in Strasbourg
I stayed near the train station, at Hotel Graffalgar. Graffalgar is a fun hotel, with 38 rooms decorated individually by 38 artists. I chose Room 205, Tino, a single room ‘under water’ by local artist Tino. When I turned off the lights at night, I was watched by the beady eye of a luminous star fish look down from the ceiling. We are all children at heart.
If I’d been 3 or 4 people, I would have gone for Room 209, Williann…
The trip with Clos Driver
Back to Clos Driver. I had travelled with Sebastien Crozatier, founder of Clos Driver Wine Tours several times before, to take photographs… in Champagne, Burgundy and Beaujolais. This was the first time I had experienced one of his wine tours… in Alsace.
I arranged, and paid for Strasbourg, and my train ticket, and then Sebastien took over for the three days and two nights of the wine trail. Here was our itinerary …
Domaine Kumpf et Meyer (Rosheim)
Visit the town of Obernai
Lunch at the Le Bistro des Saveurs – 1 Michelin star
After-lunch stroll in Bergheim
Domaine Marcel Deiss (Bergheim)
Supper at Flamme et Co & evening stroll in Kaysersberg.
Stroll in Riquewihr
Domaine Hugel (Riquewihr)
Lunch at 64° Le Restaurant at the Hotel Chambard – 2 Michelin stars
Domaine Weinbach (Kaysersberg)
Spa visit at Hotel Chambard
Evening stroll in Colmar
Visit Belbenheim to buy Münster cheese at Maison Fischer
Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss (Andlau)
Lunch at Am Lindeplatzel (Mittelbergheim)
Afternoon stroll through the vineyards towards the ruined Château d’Andlau
Domaine Catherine Riss
Return to Strasbourg
And so the trip began …. blogs to follow
Travelling to Strasbourg
I took the train from London to Strasbourg: Eurostar to Paris, a ten-minute walk from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de l’Est and then a 1h 50-minute journey to Strasbourg. You can also go via Lille.
Other travellers take the plane. From London, Easyjet to the Swiss town of Basle, which is 135km and a train ride away from Strasbourg, and at the southern tip of the Alsatian wine route, which winds down from north to south.
Train has a big advantage. I returned with five bottles of wine, as well as my camera equipment. I went from my hotel in Strasbourg to Finchley Road tube station in North London without having to carry my suitcases up any stairs… until I got to Finchley Road, when I had to pray for divine providence, aka muscle power, which luckily was granted to me.
For other posts on my Alsace wine trip:
- Style & Sensitivity: Weinbach, Alsace Wine Tour
- Natural Wine: Kumpf et Meyer & Catherine Riss
- Villages, Storks & Michelin Stars: Le Bistro des Saveurs
- Hitting 64º in winter: Hotel Chambard in Alsace
- The Steady Roll of the Deiss Family in Alsace
- Fun & Frolicking at Jour de Fete: Strasbourg
- The Art of Alsace Wine: Marc Kreydenweiss
- Famille Hugel: 13 Generations of Wine in Riquewihr