Our New Tour – Alsace

For 2016 we have a new tour – Alsace.

NiedermorschwihrAlsace is way over in the east of France, sharing a border with Germany. France and Germany have played ‘pass-the-parcel’ with Alsace for centuries, and the fusion of French and German cultures makes Alsace unique. And it works – Alsace boasts dozens of beautiful medieval villages, some of the world’s finest white wines, and a cuisine unique within France.

I’ve chosen four things that I think make Alsace a bit special. Please have a read, tell me if I hit the mark. And you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

1. Their wines.

Vineyards in AlsaceAlsace has a huge wine-making tradition dating back centuries. If you can picture the region, its bordered on the East by the river Rhine and on the West by the Vosges mountains. The vineyards run along the eastern slopes at the foot of the Vosges, and this the key to the beautiful, distinctive Alsace wines.

The Vosges form a climatic boundary that gives Alsace dry summers and warm autumns, so the grapes can ripen long into September and beyond. The wines are mostly white (there are some reds made using Pinot Noir), mostly ‘varietal’(wines made using a single grape variety), and divided between the 4 ‘noble’ grape varieties and the rest. Let us not concern ourselves with the rest, let’s have a look at the ‘nobles’.

 

2. The ‘route-des-vins’.

IMG_1748The best-known villages lie on the ‘route des vins’, a fantastic designated cycle route that winds along tiny roads and paths through vineyards and villages between Mulhouse and Strasbourg.

Cycling through these vineyards is delightful, whether or not they ever made any wine in them. The route through villages like Riquewihr, Eguisheim and Obernai would make Alsace a cyclist’s dream.

 

 

3. This Is An International Tour!

IMG_2099
Alsace is a unique region within France. It is separated from Germany by a river, the Rhine, which you can cross by any number of borderless bridges and ferries. But it is separated from France by a mountain range, The Vosges.

Lots of people speak German, some elderly residents may barely speak French, and many people will also speak the Alsatian dialect, although we’ll do well to hear it spoken.

But rather than enjoy the ‘Germanness’ of Alsace, we plan to pedal over the border to look at the Germanness of Germany proper.

 

4. Strasbourg Cathedral.

IMG_2071Strasbourg is beautiful, it is historically important and politically important, and is the capital of Alsace. Importantly for us you can cycle into the heart of Strasbourg – and out the other side – on cycle paths built along rivers and canals.

But frankly you can keep all that … come and have a look at the Cathedral. It’s amazing, probably my single favourite place in Alsace.

 

 

And finally … Enjoy Toby’s Alsace photos on Flickr, here.

5 thoughts on “Our New Tour – Alsace

    1. Bernard Dugdale Post author

      Hi Aidan, what a delight to hear from you – it’s been too long!

      As you can imagine it’s slightly embarrassing that the website details are still not live when I’ve sent out all that blog information. It’s any day now, I hope, maybe even tomorrow.

      But the dates for this summer are as follows:
      June 18th – 25th
      July 9th – 16th
      September 10th – 17th

      Cheers Aidan.

      Reply
    1. Bernard Dugdale Post author

      Hello Brian,

      It’s similar distances to our Loire Valley tour. The number of hills is also comparable, but they all happen in the first three days, and almost completely flat for the last 3 days.

      Overall I reckon it’s slightly more challenging than our Loire Valley tour, but not as difficult as Provence or Dordogne (We cycle next to a mountain range, not over it or in it!) As soon as the details go live on the website, that will include detailed route maps for each day.

      The costs are the same as our other French tours (£1,190 for the tour only), and you’ll find all the dates and costs on our booking form here: http://www.thechaingang.co.uk/booking-forms/

      Thanks for your interest.

      Best wishes,

      Bernard

      Reply

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