28 Feb Strasbourg: an alsace wine 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 (see my itinerary below).
Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region of France, is a city of European institutions: the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, to name two.
For the tourist, it is a city of brightly coloured flowers (albeit not in winter), mediaeval architecture, wine brasseries (winstubs), cobbled streets, chiming church bells, outdoor markets, canals, the river Ill, and, above all, Strasbourg Cathedral. The street names are in French and Alsatian dialect, and historically the region has ping-ponged between France and Germany.
The three most famous designers from Alsace are: Frédéric Bartholdi, of New York Statue of Liberty fame (born 1834 in Colmar); fashion designer Thierry Mugler (b. 1948, Strasbourg); and Jean-Jacques Waltz, aka Hansi (b. 1873, Colmar) of Alsatian folklore fame, and 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
My favourite was Jour de Fête Restaurant & Wine Bar – discover more in my blog post, but unfortunately the restaurant is now closed. I was also recommended Au Point de Corbeau. 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.
Cake & 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, almost opposite La Boîte à Café. I ate my kugelhopf in the little square round the corner. Strasbourg has a continental climate, so you should be safe – it doesn’t rain that much.
My hotel in Strasbourg
I stayed at Hotel Graffalgar. The 38 rooms are decorated individually by 38 artists. I chose Room 205, Tino, a single ‘under water’ room, designed by Tino, a local artist. When I turned off the lights at night, I was watched by the beady eye of a luminous star fish looking 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
Here is my Alsace itinerary with Clos Driver Wine Tours. Click on the links to discover more.
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
A unique, unforgettable experience.
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 in my suitcase.