Colmar sets itself up as a perfect base for driving all or part of the Route de Vins (Wine Route) through the Alsace. With M’s car rental and a Rick Steves guidebook, we set out on a hot morning, starting at the purportedly most charming town – Eguisheim.
Views from the road between Colmar and Eguisheim
The medieval town lies within its concentric circles – the original ramparts which provide a delightful walk completely around the old city. The walls are not visible per se, as they are part of the houses and cottages of half timbers with many decorative flower boxes. Before you know it, you have returned to your starting point.
Stroll a short way into the middle of the town to St. Leon Square and Fountain which stand in front of the remains of an 8th c octagonal wall. Behind the wall are the castle and the St. Leo Chapel with relics of Pope Leo IX (1002-1054). This is his birthplace.
After lunch in Riquewihr
we enjoyed the air-conditioned car as we headed north to “the granddaddy of Alsacian castles, the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg. I’m not exactly sure how many castles we’ve seen this year (at least seven), but this was one of my top two, I think. (The other was the Château de Chillon in Montreaux).
This one had great views over the vineyards and I liked how the mountain itself was integrated into the base of the castle.
Since distances are not very great along this part of the route, we drove back to Eguisheim for dinner, rounding out a great day.