According to PSYKNOWHOW.COM, Alsace is the most southeastern region of France and borders Germany to the north and east. The region borders Switzerland to the south and the Lorraine region to the west. Alsace has been part of the German Empire for centuries until it was annexed by France at the end of the eighteenth century. As a result, the region often feels a bit German and the names of most villages and towns sound more German than French. The region is known for its delicious Alsace wine and for the Munster cheese. You can of course buy the Alsace wine in the supermarket here, but it is much more fun to taste some varieties at a local winery before you finally make your choice. There are several microclimates in Alsace.
Alsace Top 10 Things to Do
The Vosges Mountains extend for a large part in the Alsace region. The mountain range starts at the Swiss city of Basel and continues to the German city of Mainz. The highest peak of the mountain range is the Grand Ballon at 1424 meters. Other famous mountain peaks in the Vosges are the Strockenkopf, Hochneck, the Petit Ballon and the Ballon d’Alsace. The famous Route des Crêtes runs across some of these peaks, connecting all the high peaks of the Vosges. The Vosges is also a very popular cycling area. The Tour de France has already passed through the area several times and amateur cyclists can ride the famous “Trois Ballon” here.
Strasbourg is the largest city and the capital of Alsace. Nearly 300,000 people live in the city itself, but more than one million people live in the metropolitan area of the city. The city has been an important university town for many centuries. The city is home to the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights, and Strasbourg is the seat of the European Parliament every other month. One of the main reasons for having the European Parliament in the city has to do with Strasbourg’s bilingualism. The island of Grande le enclosed by the River Ill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Colmar is one of the largest cities in Alsace and is known for its beautiful historic center. The appearance of the city is determined by the many exceptionally well-maintained half-timbered houses that can be found in the center. It is an old city that already had a significant role in the time of the Romans. However, the current city only dates from the ninth century. In the city there are many places of interest. The district “little Venice”, Maison Pfister and the Dominican church with the painting Madonna in the Rose Garden are just a few examples of this.
#4. Munster AOC
The Munster cheese is named after the town of Munster in Alsace. The cheese is also known as Géromé. This cheese was first made here in the seventh century by Benedictine monks who settled near the then still to be founded Munster. The cheese is prepared with cow’s milk, which is lightly skimmed and then curdled with veal sludge. After the cheese is ready, it is aged for a minimum of twenty-one days, turning every two days. This creates a nice yellow crust around the cheese that is just edible. In the Netherlands, Munster cheese is often referred to as stinky cheese because of its pungent smell.
#5. Alsace (wine region)
Alsace is the most northerly wine region of France and is located in the area between the Vosges in the west and the Rhine in the east. The Alsace wine is also known as the ‘vin de Alsace’. The wine region mainly produces white wines and a small amount of red wines. The red wine often has a somewhat fresh taste and it often lacks a bit of depth. The white wines of Alsace are famous and acclaimed all over the world. They are available in different quality and price categories. There are three different AOPs in the region, the Alsace, the Alsace Grand Cru and the Crémant d’ Alsace. The latter only applies to sparkling wines.
The Rhine is the most important river in Alsace. The Rhine for the most part forms the border with Germany before flowing further through Germany towards the Netherlands. The Rhine enters France near the Swiss city of Basel. The Rhine plays an important part in the economy of Alsace and also provides some of the most beautiful places in the region. Along the Rhine are some of the most beautiful villages in France. The best example of this is the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach. The Rhine is of great economic importance to the city of Strasbourg.
The Flammkuchen or as we know it in the Netherlands the Tarte Flambée is one of the typical dishes of the region. The bottom of the pie consists of bread dough covered with crème frache onions and strips of bacon. Although the recipe here can differ greatly per city, village and restaurant. Almost every restaurant in Alsace has a variation on the Flammkuche on the menu. It looks like a pizza but tastes more like a quiche.
The Alsace region is known for its storks. It is said “The Alsace without storks, it is unthinkable”. These beautiful birds are therefore present in many places, towns and villages in Alsace. Often they have built their nests on the roof of a church, on a tower or other high place. The birds here are a popular attraction for tourists. The local tradesmen make grateful use of the presence of these birds because in almost every village you will come across a shop where all kinds of stork knick knacks and stuffed animals are sold.
The town of Mulhouse is located in the southern part of Alsace in the Haut-Rhin department. It is the largest city in this department and the second largest city in Alsace after Strasbourg. It is an ancient city that is mentioned in history books as early as the ninth century AD. The city has long been a so-called city of refuge but, like the rest of Alsace, was annexed by France at the end of the eighteenth century. The old town hall of the city dates from the end of the sixteenth century and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. Other attractions in Mulhouse include the zoo, the car museum, the railway museum and the neo-Gothic church Temple Saint-Étienne.
Not far from the city of Colmar, a stone’s throw from the Rhine, is the town of Neuf-Brisach. The town was designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, the house architect of Louis XIV. This architect also designed the Lille citadel and the Bouillon castle, among other things. Neuf-Brisach was built in the military baroque style with a large square in the middle. Streets have been laid out around the square in a grid pattern. The whole is enclosed by a double fortress wall, which are in turn surrounded by trenches. The fortified town has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2008.