Strasbourg cathedral rose window

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 bellsmarkets, 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.

Strasbourg Rue des Couples sign

Famous designers

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.

Strasbourg table cloth Hansi

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.

Strasbourg Cafe Bretelles exterior

My hotel in Strasbourg

I stayed near the train station, at Hotel GraffalgarGraffalgar 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…

Graffalgar Hotel, StrasbourgThe 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 …

DAY 1

Depart Strasbourg

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.

DAY 2

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

DAY 3

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

Strasbourg old quarter on river, cup of coffee at Cafe Bretelles, bicycles for hire

 

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:

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