(Click on any image to enlarge it)
The villages themselves are beautiful, and impeccably preserved. They run in a line from north to south along the bottom of the eastern flanks of the Vosges mountains, so wherever you are the backdrop is a beautiful range of hills and mountains – that we DON’T have to cycle up!
And it really is a huge wine-producing region, the vineyards stretch for 70 miles from Marlenheim, northeast of Strasbourg, to Thann, just outside Mulhouse. So as you leave each beautiful village, you cycle through 2 or 3 miles of vineyards and you’re in another beautiful village. And cycle is the operative word – Alsace was years ahead of the curve, and the ‘route des vins’ linking all these villages has been established for years.
Wherever you are, turn around and you can see the mountains of the Black Forest just 40 miles away across the Rhine in Germany.
Sitting behind the Vosges mountains, Alsace benefits from a micro-climate, rain seldom makes it all the way across the Vosges, which makes Colmar the 2nd driest city in the whole of France.
What prompted this musing of Alsatian villages? Watching 2017′s Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, I was struck by the village where the heroine, Belle, lived. It looked familiar, but the penny didn’t drop immediately. Then I realised it was like being in Alsace. A little bit of research revealed that Belle’s village was based on the Alsace villages of Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé.
But they are just two of literally dozens. So I thought I’d treat you to a few photographs. I’ve trawled throught the photographs of Patrick Hudgell, Allen Delaney, Peter Wayne, Toby King and Jeremy Shindler and chosen perhaps two dozen to share with you.
I’ve put a small album together on our Flickr photostream, including photos from Turckheim, Ingersheim, Kintzheim, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Colmar, and Blienschwiller, just to give you a flavour of how many of them there are, and how lovely they are.
Thank you Patrick, Peter, Allen, Jeremy, Toby (and me).
No women I notice, writing out those ‘thank you’s. Well the fairer sex make up just over half our cyclists so please send me your photos, ladies!