The best way to enjoy France is to choose a region or a city and explore it on foot where possible, on a bike if you are so inclined, or in a car. One of the best destination ideas is The Alsace region. It is a good place to start.
Begin your visit in Strasbourg, a great city to explore on foot. You can pick up a self-guided walking tour at the local tourist information office.
See the cathedral, one of the finest in the country, as well as the “Petite France” area, once the center of the tanning industry.
Really, the old town is beautiful almost everywhere. Another thing to do is take the boat tour which follows the river that encircles much of the old town.
Strasbourg is particularly attractive at Christmas time when it calls itself “La Capitale de Noel”. There are many Christmas markets to choose from.
There is nothing better than the experience of seeing families enjoying the crisp December evenings, as they shop for the holidays. You can sample mulled wine and local food too.
In good weather, by bike or by car, you can head south from Strasbourg through one of France’s prime wine regions.
Many of the villages along the way are lovely. My favourites are Obernai, Ribeauville, and Riquewihr. In all of them, you can enjoy shopping and wine tasting as well as Alsatian cuisine.
Make sure to take some time to enjoy the beauty of the vineyards in the region. Get off your bike, or stop your car on the side of the road. In fact, do not take the main highway. This is a trip for back roads.
Eventually, you will end up in Colmar, another beautiful city in summer or winter. (It also has very good Christmas markets.) Walking through its narrow streets is the way to enjoy it most. Like its sister city in the region, it has a canal region, this one called La Petite Venise.
A week in the Alsace region is wonderful in any season.
By Mary Billinghurst / Photos by Bob Billinghurst