Between the peaks of the Vosges and the Alsatian lowlands
Alsace is located in the eastern part of France, on the border with Germany. This holiday region is very popular with travelers as they find a unique combination of multi-faceted landscape as well as interesting culture and history. But the culinary delights are by no means neglected. Among the many places along the Alsatian Wine Route, the picturesque Riquewihr is one of the most popular wine-growing communities.
Historic architecture and famous wines
Wine lovers get their money’s worth in Riquewihr. A mixture of medieval half-timbered houses, narrow cobblestone streets and lovingly tended flower arrangements characterize the image of this city. In many of the houses there are wine sales and tasting opportunities. Both architecture and history buffs will love this corner of the world. Since the appearance of the town has not changed significantly since the Middle Ages, visitors have the impression that they are strolling through a great open-air museum. The guests of Riquewihr reach the picturesque old town through gate towers, where they probably feel as if they have been transported back to the old days. When exploring the village, travelers should definitely not visit the 13th-century defense gate. Century to be missed. But the old watchtowers, city walls and the numerous buildings from the Renaissance period are no less impressive. Anyone interested in well-preserved half-timbered houses from the 13th to 18th centuries will find numerous opportunities to marvel at them in Riquewihr.
– Tower of Thieves
– Dolder medieval defense tower
– Castle of the Württemberg people
A look at history
In 1049 the village of Riquewihr – at that time under the name Richovilare – was first mentioned in a deed of donation to the Heiligenkreuz monastery near Colmar. As early as the 11th century, it was one of the possessions of the Count of Egisheim. Around 100 years later, the place became the property of the Count of Horburg. In 1291 he had the fortification wall built and in 1320 granted Riquewihr city rights. Only 13 years later, the family of counts sold the city to the House of Württemberg. In 1540 the new owners built the castle in Riquewihr and set up the administration there. The rule of the House of Württemberg lasted until 1776.
In Roussillon, everything revolves around the pigment ocher
The small French town of Roussillon is located in the province of the same name, which is also called French Catalonia. Lively coastal villages and beach resorts line the Mediterranean coast. The interior is dominated by Cathar fortresses and uninhabited abbeys. The largest city in the region is Perpignan. From here, most holidaymakers start their excursion to the extraordinary village of Roussillon, which lies in the valley between the Luberon chain and the Plateau de Vaucluse. Here the earth has a high ocher content, which the Romans already knew two thousand years ago. They used their knowledge to produce ceramic glazes. Even today, all of the town’s buildings are made of the shimmering red stone.
One of the highlights in Roussillon is the ocher trail. Tourists who come to Roussillon will find out everything about the ocher soil for which Roussillon is famous throughout France. One of the sights of the village is the ocher trail, which leads past earth formations that are reminiscent of a radiant sunset. The walking time is between half an hour and an hour. The two circular routes, which lead through pine and chestnut forests, meander through a surreal landscape that is reminiscent of a tiny desert. Information boards inform holidaymakers about the fauna of the region and the history of the production of ocher in Roussillon. The short hike is not strenuous, but walking shoes should not be dispensed with.
Spectacular caves can be visited in a disused ocher mine
The second major attraction of the village of Roussillon is the Conservatoire des Ocres et de la Couleur. The historic site has been transformed into an arts center. Here, researchers are primarily devoting themselves to the pigments found on site. Exhibitions outside and inside a former ocher factory provide visitors with everything they need to know about the properties of ocher. It is also worth making a flying visit to the Mines de Bruoux, a disused ocher mine located seven kilometers to the east of Roussillon. Guided tours lead through spectacular caves, which act like mineral cathedrals for the “cave explorers”. But even in the small town it is worth strolling through the alleys and enjoying a break in the cafés.