April 10, 2014

France Driving Adventures #1 - Riquewihr

Knowing that we were preparing ourselves for lots of visitors over the coming months, we felt it would be a good idea to build up a reserve of some delicious European wine. Whilst we’ve tasted some nice German wines, France was the obvious place to visit.

Alsace is the closest wine region to us in Frankfurt, being three and a half hours away by car. As we were leaving after Chris finished work on the Friday, we felt it was best to stay a bit closer to home.  Riquewihr was our destination, one of France’s top 10 prettiest villages.

We were not disappointed. A walled medieval town of roughly 1000 people, it is surrounded by vineyards and other small villages as far as the eye can see.  So quaint, picturesque, pretty, perfect! It's easy to get lost in your own thoughts of the beauty of this village as you wander the cobbled streets. Unfortunately for us, we were visiting in the off season so the weather on the Saturday was overcast. Due to the time of year we also missed the gorgeous colours of the flowers lining the streets and the leaves on the vines, however it worked to our advantage as we were able to spend a lot of time with the wine makers discussing the wines; and found we didn’t have to navigate our way  through the streets filled with hoards of tourists like you do in the summer season.

Unlike winery experiences in Australia, all the wine makers have vin caves or shops in and around  the main street of town so we were able to walk from shop to shop trying wines, which was such a refreshing change! No need for a designated driver. We learned that The Alsace Wine Route, also known as Route des Vins, encompasses over 100 towns & villages, as well as 50 Grand Cru terroirs. A Grand Cru hill is the creme de la creme of the vineyard, which the best wine is made from and Riquewihr has boasts two, the Schoenenbourg and Sporen. Again, unlike Australian wineries, the wine makers in the area have their own designated patch on each Grand Cru, so it gives everyone the opportunity to sell some of the best wine from both hills. We purchased quite a number of Rieslings, Pinot Blancs & Pinot Noir that day and were extremely grateful that the walk back to our B&B wasn't too strenuous!

Of course, a trip to France isn't complete unless you’ve gorged yourself silly on yummy food. And our trip to Riquewihr was no exception! Our lovely host, Martine recommended we try La Grappe d’Or for a meal and we were lucky enough to secure a reservation for the Saturday evening. During the day, however, we feasted on a delicious continental breakfast prepared by Martine, followed by a mid morning savoury crepe, followed by lunch, followed by a nutella crepe; and that was all before 4pm! Needless to say, we weren’t quite ready for dinner by the time we arrived at the restaurant, but we just had to push through as the food was utterly amazing. Our entrĂ©e consisted of lobster and avocado in tomato foam, which was served in a cocktail glass and for the main, I had the duck (as seen below), which was incredible.

Sadly, our stay to pretty Riquewihr was over as quickly as it began.  You can read more about our journey home via Ribeauville & Colmar in the next post.

We stayed at Bastion Riquewihr and ate at La Grappe d'Or. Reservations are recommended! 


  1. This looks so charming, and I love that you were there in "off season" - quiet and I'm sure a more personalized experience!
    Alsace didn't make the cut for our upcoming trip to France, but I hope to go one day as my mom's ancestry dates back to that region.

  2. What a charming town! How great having it a car trip away from you.

  3. Thanks for your comment Kaelene! I know, we are very lucky to be so close! If you ever get the opportunity to visit, it's one place you simply can't miss!

  4. Hi Amye, thanks for your comment! You're right, we really felt like it was a much more personal experience going in the off season. The colours in the Summer and Fall are supposed to be spectacular too. I hope you make it there one day and enjoy your travels to France!

  5. Oh I'm dying to visit this region of France. I love wine countries and your pictures are just beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Hi Amy, thanks for your comment! I'm a HUGE fan of wine countries too ;) I'm hoping we will be able to visit the Loire & Champagne regions later in the year so keep checking back! Fingers crossed you are able to visit soon, there's so much to see. This is just the tip of the iceberg!

  7. What a beautiful little town! Sounds like you had a lovely stay.

  8. I love the fuchsia colours everywhere! When I moved to Europe I fell in love with small towns like these and especially when you can still see the walls, so much history! I love it! And that plate of food looks so French, always delicious and fancy! Thanks for sharing :) It's definitely making me want to go wine tasting in France right now!


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