Alsace Attractions

There’s much to see and admire in the regions capital. The Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame completed in1284 stands in the beautifully preserved area of Petit France. This is a “must see” example of classic architecture. The Cathedrals Astronomical Clock is a popular attraction when at 12.30 each day the 12 Apostles appear. For panoramic views of the city and beyond, go to the Cathedrals platform. Visitors to Strasbourg will find the following city landmarks well worth seeing but these are just a few of the pleasures on hand.

Palais Rohan
The most rewarding views of this 18th C. building are gained from a boat trip on the River Ill. It is open to the public and houses three museums within the palace devoted to the history and cultural development of the area.

The European Parliament
The unusual design of the building was inspired by that of a Roman Amphitheatre. Guided tours are available and at certain times the live debates may be viewed. It’s worth combining this with a visit to the Louise Weiss Building which is the Parliaments second home.

A day in the city is not complete without a stroll in the park. The Parc Orangerie is the oldest park in the city with level paths beside waterfalls, flowers and shrubbery to a petting zoo and stork farm. Throughout the region the stork is regarded as something of a mascot.

Jardin des deux Rives
This is a beautiful park in a riverside setting and a perfect location in which to pause and reflect. It is connected to the German border crossing by a footbridge over the river.

Fifty miles to the south of Strasbourg is Colmar, the capital of Haut Rhin. Having entered the centre of the city, the visitor may well feel that they have been transported back in time. Here in the Petit Venice of small canals, the shops, restaurants and pavement cafes comfortably merge with centuries old well preserved buildings. This is the home to many masterpieces of the Rhin Renaissance. Look out for, although it’s difficult to miss, the Maison Pfister on the rue des marchands. The Maison is ornately decorated with oriel window, brightly painted panels and a carved wooden balcony. Close by is the Musee Bartholdi. The museum is contained in the house which was the birthplace of Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi who sculpted the Statue of Liberty. A former 13th C convent is now the Unterlinden Museum. It houses a large collection of medieval paintings, Alsacien art, toys, furniture, weapons and porcelain. The visitor cannot fail to miss the dominant landmark of the 200 feet high spire of Saint Martins Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the few places to provide a place of worship for both Protestants and Catholics. An interesting and curious feature of this building is on the clock face. The hours are written in Roman numerals with the exception of the “4” which appears as 1111. The Gothic 13th-15th C Dominican Church contains the unmissable painting of “Virgin of the Rose Garden” by Martin Schongauer.

Mulhouse is a further 25 miles to the south and stands within easy reach of Basel- Mulhouse Airport. A cosmopolitan city of modern shops, restaurants and top class amenities. It is a city of museums which attracts a large number of visitors to the Musee Francais du Chemin de Fer; Le Musee de l’Impression; Musee de l’Automobile; Musee du Sapeur-Pompier de Mulhouse and Musee EDF Electro polis. The Zoo de Mulhouse & Botanical Gardens is a lovely park area and houses more than one thousand animals many of which are endangered species. The 300 feet high bell tower clearly marks the position of Saint Stephens Church. Of particular impressiveness is the vivid design and colours of the 14th C leaded glass windows.

The Open Spaces of Alsace
Parc Naturel Regional des Vosges du Nord. Here is a wealth of opportunities for outdoor activities in forest and open spaces amongst a wide range of flora and fauna of the Vosges.To the south is the Parc Naturel Regional des Ballons des Vosges where the visitor can roam and enjoy over 3,000 square kilometres. Fancy a water-themed display? If so, why not try the Parc Les Naiades. It’s an aquarium park featuring realistic underwater scenes to be found in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. All this surrounded by 200 species of trees and shrubs. Stork and otter populations are carefully nurtured in the Parc des Cigoness et des Loutres and great family fun is to be had at Montagne des Singes where Barbary Macaque monkeys roam free on “Monkey Mountain”. Do put the Ecomusee d’Alsace on your list of things to see and do. It is the largest open-air museum in France and cannot fail to please.
Tree-top adventure awaits you in a forest of 200 year old oak trees at the Natura Adventure Park near Ostwald; an exciting mixture of forest activities in the Parc Alsace Adventure, Breitenbach, and further encounters at tree-top level in the Acropark on the peak of the Ballon d’Alsace. The Lac Blanc Adventure Park, deep in the Vosges, is well known for its range of children’s activities.
The Pagan Wall close to the village of Mont-Sainte- Odile is one of the most mysterious sites in Alsace. No-one has been able to discover the reason for it. A choice of walking tours along its 11 kilometre length is available. Go to the Schluct Pass, the highest in the Vosges region for invigorating hikes and walks. The views from here are quite spectacular. We suggest a tour of Route du Vin. It stretches for 170 kilometres from the west of Strasbourg to the town of Thann passing through terraces of vineyards and tranquil villages. Popular stops are the villages of Riquewihr, Hunawihr, Eguisheim and Kintzheim. Close to Kintzheim, the Volerie des Aigles has a raptor eagle falconry display each afternoon from Spring until Autumn. En route, keep an eye open for signs proclaiming “degustation”. These are invitations to sample, and, pressure to buy local wine produce. The Auberge along the route are plentiful and all provide comfortable breaks for food and accommodation.
These attractions and activities are only a small sample of what Alsace has to offer. There’s much more and generally the accommodation proprietors and hoteliers are veritable fountains of information and more than happy to oblige with justifiable pride and knowledge of what’s going on.