The dual charm of the Alsace region
The half-timber houses adorned with geraniums and the Christmas markets and their spicy scents are just two examples of the myriad faces of Alsace where long-established traditions blend seamlessly with the dynamism of modern times. Cécile Fancello has lived in Alsace for almost 20 years and it is here that she met her husband, Franco, with whom she runs the INTER-HOTEL de l'Ange*** in Guebwiller, near Colmar. "And I'm a southerner," she jokes. But I don't want to leave. The harsh winters of the region contrast sharply with the microclimate enjoyed by a large part of the Haut-Rhin department. And the city of Colmar is actually the sunniest in France."
Alsace: festive food-lovers
"The eating habits of the people change with the seasons: asparagus in spring, the rolling fields of strawberries in summer, the game season and the famous Alsatian-style sauerkraut to warm up during the dry cold winters."
The region is also known for its many Christmas markets and decorations. The people of Alsace like to keep traditions alive. At Easter, it is not unusual to find Easter trees in the corners of windows in the houses. At the end of August, the entire village of Sélestat is covered in dahlias for the Corso Fleuri flower parade.
"Our proximity to Germany and Switzerland makes Alsace a culturally rich region. The Mulhouse automobile museum has the largest collection of cars in the world, and the city of Basel in Switzerland showcases world-renowned pieces in its art museums."
Alsace: the crossroads of Europe
As Europe becomes ever more accessible, the European Parliament of Strasbourg in the Bas-Rhin department is a fascinating place to learn more about the inner workings of this institution. This unmissable visit is the chance to see the many monuments and different parts of the city (the cathedral, Petite France, etc.). Stay at our Schiltigheim or Illkirch hotels which lie in close proximity to Strasbourg.
"I could expand on the must-visit 'Wine Route' for tastings of our Riesling and Gewürztraminer or on the beauty of the Vosges," continues Cécile Fancello.
But I would like to highlight the courtesy and warmth of the people as even though clichés can be hard to shift, these are the qualities that made me a real adopted Alsatian." You will have a great time strolling the streets of Strasbourg and taking in the offbeat and traditional architecture. Known for its famous Christmas market, this city blends culture and heritage through its art and history.
Just a few miles away, don't miss Haguenau, the fourth city of Alsace and the second in the Bas-Rhin department. Situated south of a forest area, interrupting the Alsace plains, Haguenau has a colourful history and a rich local culture. The location is perfect for relaxation, tasting sessions and strolls, discovering local arts and crafts along the way.
Your stay in Mulhouse in the Haut-Rhin department is the ideal opportunity to cross the border and visit Switzerland or Germany which are just a few minutes away. The second city of Alsace and also a "European city", here you will find architecture combining history and modernity. A symbol of industry and the birthplace of significant researchers and renowned scientists, it has developed its cultural and event-hosting heritage, with its exhibition centre hosting a variety of shows. And for your trips, an INTER-HOTEL establishment is situated in Blotzheim, alongside the Basel-Mulhouse airport.
Don't miss Colmar and its renowned charms during your Alsace escape. Nicknamed "Alsace wine capital", this Haut-Rhin city is known for its traditional architecture specific to the region which takes you on a journey through time. Visit to sample the local specialities and AOC Alsatian wines.
Colmar boasts thousands of artisan treats that you will find at the famous Christmas market. During the Christmas period, the city is transformed to take you back in time to the colours and scents of yesteryear. With a similar feel and in close proximity to Colmar, the towns of Wintzfelden, Blotzheim, Guebwiller and Eguisheim will transport you between the history and nature of Vosges. As a destination, Alsace offers a wealth of opportunities for activity and discovery.
Fall under its spell!