A Guide to Holidaying in Alsace and Lorraine

Introduction

Alsace-Lorraine, the historic region and the former region of France. It has been incorporated into the Grand Est region since January 2016. As an administrative entity, it encompassed the Haut-Rhin and Bas-Rhin departments. It was bounded by the Lorraine regions to the west and the Franche-Comté regions to the southwest. Switzerland lies to the south of Alsace, and Germany borders it to the east. Alsace is one of the most prosperous areas of Central Europe. The hills are typically exquisitely wooded, mostly of pine, beech and maple. Annual rainfall is remarkably low, ranging from 20 to 28 inches (500 to 700 mm). You may find yourself questioning which nation you’re in when you notice this. The fastest way to travel from Paris to Alsace-Lorraine is by bus and rail, which costs $35-$70 and takes 8h 27 m. The fastest way to get from Paris to Alsace-Lorraine is to drive costing $60-$90 and takes 4h 12 m.

What is Alsace and Lorraine best known for?

Alsace is renowned for its beer (for starters, Kronenbourg or Meteor). Also, its sauerkraut (choucroute in French) and many other local specialties. They are famous for eating Alsace Flammekueche. This is a popular dish like a tomato-free pizza, except filled with mushrooms, cheese, butter, and local ham. Alsace wine is popular over the world, and wine processing is one of the key activities of the region. The Alsace vineyards are situated along the eastern slopes at the edge of the Vosges. The region is renowned for its villages, with their half-timbered homes. Many of these towns, such as Eguisheim and Riquewihr, are known as “the most stunning towns in France”. Because of this, the region draws huge numbers of visitors on weekends and throughout the tourist season. The Alsatian gingerbread, branded as Pain d’Epices, is another central speciality.

Must see places in Alsace and Lorraine

There are too many sights to be found in Alsace and the challenge of naming our top 10 favorite places to do in Alsace is a difficult one. From the city of Strasbourg, home to one of the most magnificent Gothic cathedrals in France, to the quaint villages on the Wine Road.
Alsace has unquestionable historical and cultural riches. They are little known to English-speaking tourists visiting France.

Strasbourg: the old town and the Cathedral

Gustavia is the red-roofed capital of Saint Barthelemy and is a small harbour town and the main shopping destination in Saint Barthelemy. The avenues are filled with chic boutiques, duty-free stores and art galleries, luring tourists from the numerous cruise ships that call here, and gourmet restaurants offering mouth-watering French-inspired cuisine.

Visit the remains of Fort Gustave which is the key for spectacular views during the Swedish period. You can also head to the top of the 29-meter hill for Shell Beach views in the middle of Fort Karl’s few remaining stone walls.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg

The two-street fishing village of Corossol is often called the “straw village” along the western shores of the island, owing to the women of existing island families who make straw hats and crafts from palm fronds.

One of the major attractions at Corossol is the “Inter Oceans Museum” composed of over 9,000 shells. Corossol Beach’s tranquil waters mark a port of call for local fishermen.

Musée Lalique, Wingen-sur-Moder

René Lalique was a glass artist whose career spanned art nouveau and art déco trends. Throughout the 1890s, he crafted shoes for Cartier, and in the 1920s, he became renowned for his glass works of art. The museum is situated on the site of the glassworks he created in 1921 and displays a broad variety of Lalique’s objects. There is emphasis to the glass and crystal architecture.

Colmar, capital of the Alsace Wines

The city is known for its preserved archaic town, its historic icons and its museums. It include the Unterlinden Museum, where the Isenheim Altarpiece is kept. You can locate Colmar on the Alsatian Wine Road and is known to be the “home of Alsatian wine.”

The Grand Ballon in the Vosges

At its maximum point of 1,424 meters, the Grand Ballon is the highest elevation of the Vosges Mountains. A scanner in the form of a large white ball sits at the peak, as well as a monument. A footpath providing multiple points of view carries walkers close to the top. At the peak, there is a stunning view of the entire city.

Haut-Kœnigsbourg Castle

Once you reach the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg from its main entrance, you begin on a trip back to the Middle Ages. The kitchen, the keep and the canons are frequent reminders of the original purpose of this mountain fortress. Others are the drawbridges, weapons space, and spiral staircase.

Wissembourg Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Wissembourg will be held during weekends from the end of November. You must take part in the torchlight procession. This is through Christkindl and Hans Trapp (two classic Alsatian Christmas story characters). You will get to experience this wonderful festive occurrence taking place in Wissembourg.

Ecomusée d’Alsace

The Écomusée d’Alsace is the first open-air living museum in France which exhibits an Alsatian community from the early 20th century. It shows how rural life was in Alsace and encourages tourists to learn the common customs and art of the area.
You can have knowledge regarding different buildings and objects. Also, craftsmen at work, temporary exhibits, attractions and activities, both small and big. The Écomusée d’Alsace consists of more than 75 buildings from over Alsace, including homes, fields, a church, a temple, a train station and a sawmill. The museum displays the major styles of Alsatian architecture, symbolic of their roots, social community and age.

Villages of Kaysersberg

The timeless beauty of this tiny Alsatian village of cobbled lanes, half-timbered houses. It runs of a medieval castle situated on the hillside should not be overlooked while driving along the Route du Vin. This is the most popular wine road in France The town of Kaysersberg and its wine-growing are overshadowed by the remains of the castle. It now consists of a magnificent round tower. The view from its top provides a panoramic view of the region, the Weiss valley, the vineyards and the plains of Alsace, and the Black Forest in Germany.

Humanist library of Sélestat

The building built by Rudy Ricciotti is a venue for the excellent archive of the humanist Beatus Rhenanus library. It consists of medieval manuscripts and records of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The new museum is a trip to the core of books and humanistic thinking that entered Sélestat in the 15th and 16th centuries. It is set in a peaceful atmosphere. Visitors have access to lots of resources. It offers total freedom in accordance with their specific interests and knowledge.

Citadel of Belfort

The Belfort Distance has been used as a chink in the shield of eastern France for 1,000 years. It has been extensively reinforced since the 13th century.
The Belfort Citadel is a series of fortifications. Its defensive features overlooking the city from the rugged promontory to the south and shields the Belfort Gap. This place is a strategic communication axis which provides entry to the Rhine River. This is by borrowing a natural gap through the mountains of the Vosges in the north.

Best Restaurants in Alsace and Lorraine

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Alsace-Lorraine – browse our top choices for Restaurants during your stay.

L'Auberge de L'Ill

Marlene Dietrich and the Spanish opera star Montserrat Caballé are two of the popular guests who visited this culinary temple. The chef mixes Alsatian cuisine with Asian touches.
The impressive results include Aveyron lamb saddle, salmon souffle. Also, lobsters like Prince Vladimir lobsters (lobster with shallots braised in Champagne and crème fraîche).

Le Buerehiesel

Chef Eric Westermann focuses on the spiciest of local terroir specialties. It is complemented by the finest seafood from Brittany. Dishes such as roast sea bass with grated truffles. Pan fried frog legs eaten with schneider spaetzle (onion-and potato-filled ravioli).

Au Crocodile

Delights include Bresse chicken filled with truffles. Monkfish with lobster sauce eaten with chervil root mousse, and praline soufflé.

Au Croissant Doré

In the same street as the Bartholdi Museum, this cozy, pink-fronted tearoom sells tasty pastries, desserts and quiches. Zinc-top table, irregular lamp shades, and a set of ancient coffee pots give it a cool, traditional look.

Au Koïfhus

This famous restaurant serves large portions of regional varieties. Dishes like spaetzle with coq au vin and choucroute with six specific meats.

Au Petit Tonnelier

This chic restaurant on a tourist street provides innovative dishes. Also, with area blossoms reaching locals and tourists alike. Menu options are seared skin-on filet of Heimbach-sourced trout eaten with steak and beetroot purée and Munster sauce. Pear tiramisu, Hazelnut and white-chocolate mousse are two of the finest desserts.

Brasserie l'Excelsior

The food here is trendy, with tasty options varying from duck foie gras dished. Also, Mirabelle plum chutney to Choron sauce served with grilled steak. Don’t skip out on popular sweets such as kouglof (a distinctively made Alsatian cake).

Chez Hansi

This hyper-traditional beamed tavern offers outstanding down-home classics such as Choucroute. Others are Quiche Lorraine and Pot-au-feu. The deals are organized and delivered with a professional touch.

L'Atelier du Peintre

Art walls offer a suitable background for the artful dishes prepared by chef Loïc Lefebvre. It bundles creations such as lobster cooked with hibiscus flowers. These dishes can be eaten with Jerusalem artichoke or roasted lamb filet accompanied by curry sauce and onion tart.

Maison Kammerzell

Battle your way through the masses on the terrace and the second floor to one of the luxurious rooms. Also, with their stained-glass windows, wooden chairs and unrivaled views of the cathedral.

Fun Things to do in Alsace and Lorraine

Enjoy and admire the view from Mont Sainte-Odile

Mont Sainte-Odile is a former abbey erected above Obernai in the Vosges. It's a stunning and quiet location, providing a spectacular view of the Alsace Plain, the Black Forest and the Vosges mountains

In winter, ski or go for a snowshoe hike in the Vosges

To be honest with you, winter isn't the easiest season to visit Alsace. it's damp, dark outdoors, gloomy and it's foggy. The Vosges are different! There's nothing like moving to the mountains, conveniently accessible from the plain, to raise the spirit! Sun is bright so you will appreciate the fun of snow: cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Take off the barefoot trail of Lac Blanc

If you've ever had the idea of running barefoot in the trees, this is the spot for you. On a 1,2 kilometer (0,7 mile) long path, you will travel over a range of landscapes: bricks, trees, rocks, slabs, sand, pine cones, creeks on foot!

Visit Fort de Mutzig

This massive fort was designed by Emperor Wilhelm II at the end of the 19th century. Back then, Alsace was under the rule of the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War. This was designed to protect Strasbourg and occupies the whole Breuchstals Mountain top.

Play knight at the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle

As soon as you walk across the threshold of the great door of the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg, you will find yourself in a brand new country. Ascend the steep stairs leading to the Lord's spacious rooms. Immerse yourself in a world of art and decor steeped in tradition. Nonetheless, take the opportunity to cross the drawbridge and you will be able to visit the castle's equipped. Sometimes, decorate living quarters and discover the stocks of medieval arms. After this, ascend to the roof of the broad bastion.

Dine at Philippe Sohler Estates Vineyard

An incredible thrill in the heart of Philipe Sohler vineyards. This is the perfect place for an al fresco dinner where you can feel the effect of fine wines combined with tasty dishes.

Enjoy the View of Lake Gerardmer

Lake Gérardmer is the highest natural lake in the Vosges. This glacial lake is situated 660 meters above sea level in the municipality of Gérardmer, near to the town centre. When it freezes during the winter, the lake can be viewed from the ski resort slopes.

Holiday Lettings in Alsace and Lorraine

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Maison d'Hôtes Les Jardins de Madeleine

Au clair de lune

la ferme de Jean

Hôtel de l'Abbaye des Prémontrés

Novotel Metz Amnéville

Hôtel-Club Cosmos

Campanile Metz Nord – Talange

Auberge de Marville

The Originals Access, Hôtel Mulhouse Est (P'tit Dej-Hotel)

Golden Tulip Basel Mulhouse Freiburg - hotel restaurant

Hôtel Val-Vignes Colmar Haut-Koenigsbourg, The Originals Relais

ibis budget Strasbourg Sud Illkirch

Interesting facts about Alsace and Lorraine

Alsace-Lorraine was a province established by the German Empire in 1871, after its success in the Franco-Prussian War. France wrestled it back in 1918 due to the consequence of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Alsace is the smallest part of metropolitan France. It is four times longer than it is wide, referring to the plain between the Rhine in the east and the Vosges in the west.
Alsace has numerous external links and 35 percent of its clients are multinational businesses . Notably German, Swiss, American, Japanese and Scandinavian). This city is well known for its heritage and is a perfect destination for visitors and holidaymakers. Its cosmopolitan past makes it a fascinating area to explore.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Home-Style Alsatian Dishes

Tarte Flambee (Alsatian Bacon and Onion Tart) 

Sauerkraut with Pork and Sausages (Choucroute Garnie)

Bacheofe (Alsatian Meat and Vegetable Stew) 

Sauerkraut with Fish in Cream Sauce

Crayfish Soup

Farmhouse Chicken in Vinegar Sauce

Grape Tart

Pike Perch Braised in Pinot Noir

According to the French Ministry of Education, there are 650,000 Alsatian dialect speakers and 230,000 individuals who use it rarely. It is claimed that half of the population speaks German dialect. They understand French, though others understand High German.
Alsace is an area in the north-east of France bordering Switzerland and Germany. In reality, it is so close to Germany that you can take a travel from the regional capital of Strasbourg to Kehl, in just 15 minutes. While Alsace belongs to France, its boundaries have not always been clear.
Based in the east of France, the Alsace Wine Route is 170 km wide, beginning near Strasbourg in the north and ends just south of Colmar. It is a beautiful combination of French and German traditions. Colorful, half-timbered houses line the cobblestone avenues.
Strategic, financial and cultural considerations were the primary influences. It is claimed that the currency played a smaller part, even though the fall of Alsace Lorraine was a severe hit to the French economy. It allowed Germany to protect itself against France, which had long been perceived as the greatest challenge to Germany.
Yes, the gap between Strasbourg and Alsace-Lorraine is 85 km. It takes about 55 minutes to travel from Strasbourg to Alsace-Lorraine. The various tourist attractions in Alsace and Lorraine attract visitors from all over Europe. It has boost the Alsace tourist industry when tourism in other regions is largely dormant.