COLMAR, ALSACE, FRANCE — Cross the Rhine from Germany and you step into a world between worlds. Not German, but not really French; Alsace is a place all its own. And for a long weekend in spring, it was ours as well.
This May, we were lucky enough to join yet another Heigert Hochzeit — this time Christoph and Verena exchanged vows in the wine country outside of Freiburg, Germany on the edge of the Black Forest. Not only was it a beautiful wedding with friends and family, but it put us within striking distance of Alsace, a location still on our Europe bucket list.
We set up our HQ in the little canal town of Colmar, at the far southern end of the Route des Vins d’Alsace, a windy two lane route that takes you though the low valleys and vine-laced hills of one of France’s most important wine regions.
Colmar is famous for its half-timbered houses and canals that are sort of a mix of Bretagne and Venice. In fact, we stayed in the small area of town called Petit Venisse, due to the number of canals and boats toting wide-eyed tourists. In fact our apartment rental sat right on one of the main canals, meaning evenings were spent sipping wine and chatting canal-side on our own private dock (where the oldest outhouse toilet in town notoriously sat).
Rieslings and Gewurztraminers dominate the rocky terroir and cool, wet climate here and Alsatians are quick to pair these crisp dry wines with their famous version of the German Flammkuchen, or Tarte Flambee in French.
So we winded our way through town, munching and sipping to our hearts’ content.
We stopped first in the town of Riquewihr, an unbelievably picturesque collection of pastel-colored houses, cobblestone streets and fairy tale ramparts.
Walking through the vines made us understandably thirsty, so we dipped in to the Domaine Dopff winery for tastes and a few cases for the road.
Afterwards it was further north to the impressive structure of the Ch ateau Haut-Koenig sburg. This massive fortress was the centerpiece of the region as it exchanged hands between the revolving owners of German, French and Austrian conquerors.
If only we had more time to explore this magical place, we would have continued up the route and unlocked its many treasures. But like the best of the Alsatian Rieslings, sometimes just a taste is all you get and maybe all you need, before leaving the wonderland between worlds and heading home.