Ever Been to Itterswiller?

Of all the well-known villages of the Alsace, you may wonder how I stumbled upon a place called Itterswiller. Well, instead of consulting tour books, I get all my travel tips from fellow bloggers like you. There’s nothing like real-life experiences and up close and personal pictures for gathering information. So I look to you to find places that fit my criteria—that being places with indescribable charm, places that are peaceful, and places with beautiful scenery, along with opportunities for good food and wine of course! Thus, I found Itterswiller.

Such a small, quiet village really but filled with adorable charm. No tour buses or crowds to be found here. Thus, we visited twice. Located at the foot of the Vosges Mountains on the Alsatian wine route, this village of flowers with a four-star ville fleurie classification (the highest) has endless opportunities for hikes in the majestic countryside. Nearby, is the 13th-century Château d’Andlau, which can be reached by a moderate hike of two to three hours round trip from the village of Andlau.

We returned to Itterswiller one evening to eat dinner at a winstub called la Winstub Arnold that looked inviting and cozy, plus it was yellow! Before dinner, an adorable parade of vintage trucks was making its way through the village. My husband was delighted, like a kid in a candy store.

Dinner was very enjoyable as I had the most delicious jambon with mustard of my life paired with a great Gewürztraminer wine! The small, intimate Hôtel Arnold located just across the street from the winstub is surrounded by vineyards and peaceful views of the mountains. I was intrigued as the winstub staff were running back and forth between the restaurant and the hotel with bottles of champagne. It looked like a dreamy place to stay for a night or two.

With so many villages yet to discover, I’m not sure if I will ever make it back to Itterswiller. But I hope you do.

À bientôt!

Escape on the Bike Route—Riquewihr to Ribeauvillé

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs mentioned before, one word comes to mind to describe the Alsace—Ridiculous! That is because it is all you can say as you venture from one village to the next, finding each one more ridiculously charming than the last.

While we love exploring the villages, we also find the need to escape the crowds and soothe and calm ourselves amid the vines, trees, and mountains. Our fondest memories of our time in the Alsace are doing just that.

Since our home base was at a gite rental in Riquewihr—yes, ridiculous with a capital R—we regularly walked the bike route from Riquewihr past the sleepy village of Hunawihr to the village of Ribeauvillé with its ruins of three châteaux (Girsberg, Haut-Ribeaupierre, and Saint-Ulrich) towering above. This walk, set at the foot of the Vosges Mountains, is absolutely serene. The vineyards are lush and beautiful, just like in my Bourgogne, and the scenery is majestic and stunning.

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Our first day in the Alsace, we got a little carried away and walked the 5 kilometers to Ribeauvillé, hiked up to two of the ruins (Château du Girsberg and Château de Saint-Ulrich), explored the village, and then walked the 5 kilometers back to Riquewihr. But no worries. There were plenty of boulangeries, pâtisseries, and winstubs (or wistubs) in which to nourish ourselves before our journey back to Riquewihr, where many more boulangeries, pâtisseries, and winstubs awaited.

Our gite rental in Riquewihr was the highest quality rental we have enjoyed staying in while traveling through France. If you are looking for a beautiful place to stay in the Alsace region, there are no better accommodations than at les Remparts de Riquewihr, where there are 15 luxury rentals set within the remparts or within the village, with some overlooking the Schoenenbourg Grand Cru vineyard.

Being that Riquewihr is extremely popular, due to its charm, it was so nice to leave the door of our gite rental and escape into the vineyards on this peaceful and scenic bike route with nothing but a few chickens running around, the dreaminess of the blissful village of Hunawihr amidst the vines, and the ruins of the three châteaux rising above.

À bientôt!

What to Eat in the Alsace

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From the boulangeries and pâtisseries to the charming, relaxed winstubs, one will not go hungry in the Alsace. Be it the hearty stew known as Baeckeoffe (a meat and potato casserole) to the Flammekueche (also called tart flambée, a delicious thin-crust pizza with cheese, bacon, and onions) to the ham with mustard to the choucroute (sauerkraut with ham and/or sausage) to the Munster cheese—not to mention the Kougelhopf, bretzels, and cookies—the Alsace has a lot to offer. It’s a good thing we were active on our visit, between biking, running, and hiking, to burn off some of those calories.

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Boulangerie

 

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Ham with mustard at Hôtel Arnold Winstub

 

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Alsatian Flammekueche

 

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Baeckoffe

 

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Choucroute

 

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Hôtel Arnold Winstub

And to further tempt us, free cookies were being given out all day at the pâtisseries in Riquewihr, the village where we were staying.

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Yes please!

 

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Gorgeous sign in the village of Eguisheim

 

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A winstub

And for dessert . . .

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Kougelhopf of course!

À bientôt!

 

Let’s Escape to the Alsace Today

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One word comes to mind when I think of the Alsace—ridiculous! Because that’s what I kept saying as we visited one Alsatian village after another on one of our yearly sojourns to France. Yes, the Alsace has ridiculous charm! Bordering both Germany and Switzerland, the region is filled with color and character. At the same time, I kept missing my beloved Burgundy with its more subtle, mysterious charms—its single pop of color against the ancient gray stone. Nevertheless, I would go back to the Alsace in a heartbeat. What’s not to love?

The village of Kaysersberg was one of my favorites. I just loved this darling little white house with blue shutters. No doubt it is one of the most photographed houses in the Alsace. It is absolutely adorable!

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Kaysersberg is loaded with charm as you explore the winding, cobblestone streets past brightly painted half-timbered houses with colorful window boxes all nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains along the river Weiss.

The Alsace is a dream for walkers and cyclists with its endless mountain views to be discovered. Next time we escape to the Alsace, let’s talk about the food.

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À bientôt!