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ManVanNoPlan Visits Stunningly Beautiful Alsace…

ManVanNoPlan Visits Stunningly Beautiful Alsace

Week 3 of the 2022 Autumn Road Trip
Monday 17th of October.

Day 15 – Val de Meuse to Corre. (47.9126778, 59934675) Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission from Amazon if you click through the link and finalise a purchase.

Today we were supposed to be continuing our journey towards Alsace, but after a weekend of fairly persistent rain, today was forecast to be a scorcher. We were in no hurry now post Chablis, so I studied our route and saw that we passed through a little town called Corre which had a marina on the river Saone with an Aire de Camping Car attached, so that was today’s destination, all of forty minutes away.

Everything seemed to fall into place today. First, we used the facilities to service the van then drove to the Inter Marche supermarket, not for grocery shopping, but to see if they had fuel, and voila, they had, and no queues either, so I filled up the tank which gave us a range of just short of five hundred miles and that is more than enough to see us through the rest of our time in France.

We then got back on track but after only eleven miles stopped in the little town of Bourbonne-les-Bains at a Lidl and bought some more provisions, including things for a barbecue. We had our lunch in Lidl’s car park before setting off again.

Half an hour later we arrived at the Aire in Corre and plugged into the electricity before heading to the Marina office to pay our fee of € 11 (£ 9.57) and carrying on for a walk into the town, which was fairly unremarkable, except for the village church, and so we headed back to Bessie to get the chairs out and enjoy the 75° heat.


There were only two other vans here, one Danish and the other Belgian. We chatted to the Danish man who told us we were looking at all of his worldly possessions as he lived in his van full time. His Motorhome was Danish registered but the horse box he was towing had a German registration which I thought was curious, if not illegal. He was heading off to Sweden on Saturday for two days work which I believe was drone photography. The horse box was to transport his sizeable motorbike.

It was lovely to be sitting out in the sun and although there were midges in the air, they did not land on us or bite us either, something their Scottish cousins could learn from. The other insects flying about and taking a great interest in Bessie were ladybirds.

For the first time on this trip the barbecue was pressed into service and we remarked on our good fortune to be using it in the middle of October. We took the precaution of eating inside as although the midges were not biting us they may have taken a liking for our pork steaks!

I came back outside after the meal to sit outside to watch the sun go down with a glass of Lidl’s finest South African white wine at € 1.99 a bottle. Initially it was an idyllic few minutes until two French air force jets took off from a nearby airfield. One circled the town at a reasonable, if noisy height, but the other flew low over the town and created an almighty din as it passed overhead.

Still, it was great to sit out as the sun dipped down over the river just in front of the van and its moments like this that make the effort of driving this distance so worthwhile. If there had been more to this village, I might have been tempted to stay on another day but there are more attractive places to see this week.

Tuesday 18th of October.
Day 16 Corre to Eguisheim (48.040613, 7.309332)

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Eguisheim, we hadn’t either before researching where to visit in the Alsace region. We’ve never been to the Alsace before so, as you do, we watched a lot of guides on YouTube and it looked incredible, so that was the mission for today, drive two hours to Eguisheim.

It was very peaceful last night after the French air force jets decided to land and give everyone in a ten-mile radius some peace and quiet. Opening the blinds this morning revealed that everything in sight was covered in a heavy dew with every day becoming more and more autumnal.

Today’s drive was planned to be just over two hours due east, but the French country roads took us in a U shape rather than in a straight line. There is no time pressure on us now save for being on a ferry on the 11th of November so The Navigator agreed that if we saw a nice place to park up on the way beside a river, canal or lake then we would draw over and stop there.

We had heard that today was going to be a national strike in France, but it never materialised, and life went on as normal in the towns and villages we passed through. The scenery today was outstanding, with rolling wooded hills in their finest hues of autumn. Where, in previous days in France, the fields had been huge flat open areas given over to crops, today we actually saw fences and cattle, more than the crops.

After passing through one particularly huge forest we emerged into a different landscape again and everything was different. The forested Voges mountains were over on our left and vines reappeared as we were now entering another famous wine region, Alsace, famous for its white wines, including Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Alsace borders onto Germany and Switzerland is within easy reach too. You could be forgiven for thinking you are in Germany as the architecture of the buildings were all of a sudden looking as if we were in the Rhine valley.

We stopped for lunch in a layby with our destination only four miles away and the major city of Colmar within view. As The Navigator rustled up lunch I walked into the vineyard at the side of the road. The grapes for this year’s harvest had already been gathered in but some small bunches of black grapes had escaped being picked.

We headed into Eguisheim and easily found the Aire where about fifteen vans were already parked. The centre of the town was only a few hundred yards away, so after buying our ticket (€ 16) and plugging in our electric cable, we headed off for a wander. I had seen a YouTube video of this amazing place, but The Navigator had no idea what lay ahead.


To say Eguisheim is pretty is a massive understatement. Obviously in the middle of October the flowers on the window box of every building are past their best, but there were still enough in colour to give an idea what this place must be like in the summer months.

The village is picture-perfect and as you wander along the cobblestone streets of Eguisheim, you can see why it was voted the Most Beautiful Village in France in 2013. This charming typical little Alsatian village features brightly coloured medieval houses with pointed roofs and timber-framed facades.

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As we entered the town, we noticed that the sign over a pharmacy read 24 degrees Centigrade or 75 degrees Fahrenheit.


Slightly further on a sign pointed us left for a circular walking tour and within a few steps the buildings looked amazing.


Every one of the buildings seemed to have a different design and colour but what they all had in common was how well preserved they were. As you walked along the narrow cobblestone streets a few shopkeepers were at the door of their premises offering samples of local delicacies and we tried nettle cheese and a cake which The Navigator described as ‘claggy’ which for non-Scots reading this means sticky or gummy.

We ended back in the main square and took in the large Renaissance fountain of octagonal shape called the St. Leon fountain (1557). The statue of Pope Leon IX was placed atop the fountain in 1842. Legend has it that Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) was born here, hence the statue. Apparently the fountain is beautifully decorated for Easter, flowered in Summer and brilliantly lit at Christmas.


It was hot and thirsty work walking about so we sat in the main square and tried two of the local wines, a Pinot Gris and a Gewurztraminer and delicious they were.

Back at Bessie we sat out in the shade of the van and later chatted to our recently retired Swedish neighbours who were heading on to Spain on their first ever long road trip. They were particularly interested in our experiences of Spain and Bessie’s refillable gas tanks which we demonstrated for them.

Wednesday 19th of October.
Day 17 – Eguisheim

This Aire is in such a good location we decided to stay another night. I had published the first blog of this series yesterday and this morning started the task of formatting the next blog while The Navigator busied about.

By lunchtime we were hungry and decided to walk into town to see if there was a reasonably priced meal of the day but with no luck, so we had a snack which turned out to be delicious. I had the sausage smothered in local cheese open sandwich with a glass of Pinot Gris and The Navigator had a ham, cheese and tomato open sandwich washed down with a cup of the local Alsace cider.


After that we headed off to walk the circuit of the town we did yesterday, but in the opposite direction to give a different perspective to the views. It was still warm but cloudier than yesterday and where the sign over the pharmacy read 24 degrees as we passed it, today it was only showing it was 17 degrees.

Yesterday we had passed a tiny cheese shop and we sampled some of their wares so today we returned to actually buy one of the varieties we had sampled. It’s a style of cheese we’ve never had before but I can’t say what it is as the guy vacuum packed it for us so we can enjoy it with the family at Christmas- if they dare…

When we had our glasses of wine yesterday in the main square we were looking over at the castle/church, but we never actually went over to look at them so today we made the effort to visit the church. Chapelle Saint-Leon IX to give it is full name is located in the heart of the town and is rather attractive with a colourful interior and interesting stained-glass windows. The church, which was built in 1894, is dedicated to Pope Leo IX who came from Eguisheim and was Pope from 1049 to 1054. These historic churches are always worth visiting as they as they are a window into life hundreds of years ago.


There were two huge stork’s nests on top of the church and castle, but we never saw any storks on them, although we did see storks flying past the Aire yesterday. The castle was built by the Counts of Eguisheim and taken over by the Bishop of Strasbourg during the 13th century. An episcopal bailiff occupied it until the French Revolution (1789). The enceinte was surrounded by a moat which was filled in by the 18th century. Houses built in the castle courtyard and against its walls were destroyed by a fire in 1877 which also damaged the castle – it was left in runs for many years.

We bought a couple of delicious pastries at the patisserie and headed back to Bessie to enjoy them with a cuppa. Amazon Prime had quite a few Premier League games on, and we managed to see most of the Liverpool v West Ham and Manchester United v Spurs games.

Thursday 20th of October
Day 18 Eguisheim to Kaysersberg (48.1358207, 7.2628423)

Our destination today is all of sixteen minutes away so there was no need to get up at the crack of dawn. We serviced the van before we left as I wasn’t sure if there were services at Kaysersberg.


Kaysersberg is another historical wine town to the west of Colmar. Its name is German for Emperor’s Mountain and the high fortress that dominates the town serves as a reminder of both its strategic importance and warlike past. The town was first mentioned in 1227, when the German emperor Frederic II gave orders to build the castle. In 1648, the city became a part of France, although most inhabitants continued to speak German. From 1871 to 1918 and (again from 1940 to 1944) Kaysersberg belonged to Germany. In 2017 Kaysersberg was voted the Village préféré des Français (Village favoured by the French).

So, with that pedigree, we were looking forward to visiting Kaysersberg although the weather forecast was not looking good, with rain on the way. The drive from Eguisheim only took twenty minutes through field after field of brightly coloured vines – even on a dull morning. The Aire at Kaysersberg is really just a big flat area for Motorhomes to park with the usual services, except electricity, and that is why it was only €10 a night.


After parking up and paying for a ticket, we headed straight into the village. To me it’s big enough to be called a town, but the official designation is that of a village. There is one main street that winds through the village and there are quite a few shops selling local Alsace products like wine, cheese and souvenirs featuring storks as most towns and villages in these parts have massive stork nests high up on buildings.

As soon as you enter Kaysersberg you find the main square, which is surrounded by lots of painted half-timber buildings, and a very pleasant main street.


The town is in a very picturesque setting, in a valley surrounded by vineyards and forested hills rising above the town.


As you walk down the main street and reach the river this is where the town becomes really lovely. Along the edges of the river there are numerous brightly painted half-timber houses, and the Weiss River is crossed by a lovely 16th century fortified stone bridge further adding to the charm of the place. Another notable landmark within the town is the 13th-15th century Church Sainte-Croix. The front facade is among the oldest parts of the church, and you enter the church through the ornately carved doorway to see the impressive 16th century altarpiece.


We wandered about taking in all of these sights before returning the short distance back to Bessie for lunch. We later returned to the main street, but it started to drizzle so we headed back to the van just in time as the rain became much heavier.

The site filled up as the evening progressed and there were several nationalities now parked up, but no fellow Brits. In the evening we watched some YouTube videos and Manchester United making incredibly heavy weather of trying to beat a very average Cypriot team.

Friday 21st of October.
Day 19 – Kaysersberg

It was forecast to rain heavily today and that’s exactly what we got. Torrential unrelenting rain all day so our planned trip by bus into the nearby city of Colmar has had to be postponed.

I only left the van once today between the rain showers to buy a parking ticket to extend our stay for another day. Apart from that I wrote up the second blog of this trip but can’t post it online as I need to do that from my laptop, and that needs to be plugged into electricity, which we don’t have here.

We watched a few YouTube videos in the evening but when we came to watch a film on Netflix, we had to give up halfway through as the rain was so loud on the roof just above us.

The forecast for tomorrow is better so we will be going into Colmar a day later than originally planned.

Saturday 22nd of October.
Day 20 Colmar

Colmar is the largest city in this area of north-eastern France and its close to the border with Germany. The old town has cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings. The Gothic 13th-century, Eglise Saint-Martin church stands on central Place de la Cathédrale. The city is on the Alsace Wine Route, and the local vineyards specialise in Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines.

On Thursday the lady in the Kaysersberg Tourist Office supplied us with the bus timetable and details of where to get the bus for a visit to Colmar. It was a fairly early rise for us as the bus left at 9.26 am for the forty-minute journey into the centre of Colmar.

The bus turned up a few minutes early and the driver informed us that he could not take the €8 fare from us as it looked like this was a replacement bus and it didn’t have a machine to issue tickets.

We arrived in Colmar just after 10 am and headed for the centre. It was difficult walking about as the sun was so low that it was blinding, especially for The Navigator as she is still struggling with her vision. The Cathedral was not open which was a bit of a disappointment, not just to us but the large groups of tourists being walked round the city center by guides.


We continued walking around the impressive city centre until we found the indoor market which was designed in 1865. It is a food market predominately but there were a few stalls offering refreshments, so, as I was €8 up on the day, I treated The Navigator to a coffee as she didn’t want an alcoholic drink this early. I had no such reservations on that score and tried a ‘verre’ of Pinot Blanc.


The indoor market is in the Krutenau district of Colmar, one of the oldest parts of Colmar and it has a village atmosphere that is typical of traditional Alsace. The half-timbered houses look onto a stream, the Lauch, which earned it the name “Little Venice of Alsace”.


The Lauch was traditionally used by the market gardeners, fishmongers and tanners who passed through this district in small, flat-bottomed boats. Today this type of boat is used to give tourists a short trip.

By now it was lunchtime, and we chose to have an Alsace speciality that’s served everywhere, ‘Tarte Flambe’. At first sight it looks like a thin crust pizza, but it is more like a wrap with a topping which consisted of a local cheese and a topping like mushrooms, smoked salmon, ham etc.


It was a glorious afternoon now and the really warm sunshine encouraged people to sit out and have lunch and drinks and we remarked on the contrast between today and yesterday’s torrential rain. There were a few English voices to be heard but as the German border is so close there were a lot of German tourists and day trippers here. A few years ago, we visited the historic city of Freiburg in Germany and that is only 23 miles from here.


We wandered about fairly aimlessly for the rest of the afternoon and the city had come to life with people either sitting outside cafés or shopping in the upmarket shops. You would not guess in a million years that there was a ‘cost of living crisis’ happening in this part of the world anyway.

By way of killing time before our bus, and to rest our feet, we sat outside a patisserie in the shade with a refreshing latte and a tea before heading for the bus stop and it was here we saw a noisy demonstration being well marshalled by the police.


No such luck with a replacement bus service on the return leg and we paid our fare of €8. There was another British van parked near us when we arrived back at the Aire, the first we’ve seen for a long time.

We were still feeling full so had a light snack then rested on the bed, The Navigator to watch Strictly and I typed up this day’s activity. Tomorrow, we move on to another historic wine village about twenty minutes north of here.

Sunday 23rd of October.
Day 21 – Kaysersberg to
Ribeauville (48.190803,7.329737)

Today’s drive was going to be all of twenty minutes from Kaysersberg to Ribeauville but we had to be off the Aire we were on sharpish as our parking ticket expired before 9am as we had renewed it at that time yesterday before getting the bus to Colmar.

We had enjoyed Kaysersberg even though the Aire was no more than a car park with no electricity. To our right had been a Dutch campervan and when they left it was a British camper van that was beside us now so as we both started to get our respective vans ready to move on, we started to chat.

It turns out the couple were on their on their way south to Andalucia eventually, while we had turned the corner and heading northwards. We have seen a lot of campervans recently and their Autotrail seemed to have the ideal layout for a couple. We were invited in to have a look and conceded that if we ever downsized a lot of our “stuff” would have to be sacrificed.

It was another lovely morning and the short drive to Ribeauville was scenic through vineyards and a few small villages. We were on the Ribeauville Aire by 10.30 am and it exceeded our expectations as if you look at the satellite view on Google Maps it just looks like a piece of waste ground but it is probably the best laid out Aire we’ve been on in France.


Once parked and plugged into the electricity I finished off the last blog ready to be uploaded once The Navigator cast her beady eye over it. There was no real point rushing to see the town as on the drive here we saw people entering churches in the villages we passed through so thought the shops etc in Ribeauville would not be opening until the afternoon.

After lunch we headed off for the short walk into the town.
“Located on the Alsace Wine Route, between the vineyards and mountains, half-way between Strasbourg and Mulhouse, Ribeauvillé is an attractive town which has combined its historical heritage with modernity. The town and neighbouring hills are dominated by the majestic ruins of the Three Castles of the Lords of Ribeaupierre. The Grand-Rue (main street) and its picturesque neighbouring streets, lined with 15th to 18th century buildings, are scattered with Renaissance fountain-decorated squares”.



The Grand Rue was busy and most of the tourist shops and restaurants were open and doing good business. The buildings were attractive, as all seem to be in this part of the world, and although we were here between the colourful summer season and the winter Christmas markets it was still a lovely place to visit. The town is dominated by vineyards leading up a steep hill to three medieval castles which can be visited by younger, fitter, tourists than us!


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We will still be in Alsace at the beginning of next week and round off our time in France before heading into Germany by visiting two stunning French locations…

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PS – The Fyne Editions website has had a makeover and tons of new titles have been added in the past few weeks so check it out HERE and find lots of inexpensive stocking fillers for Christmas…

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