Spring 2014 A few notes and musings from our wonderful trip to France earlier in 2014
France, Spring 2014 A few notes and musings from our wonderful trip to France earlier this year. We concentrated our travels in Alsace, Burgundy, and of course, Paris.
We took the train a lot and found it really affordable, easy and comfortable. We ordered a rail pass online at www.raileurope.com/en before we went so would highly recommend you buy before you go. You'll have to collect all of your travel tickets when you actually arrive at the train station for your first trip. Best way to see France. We took the train from Paris to Strasbourg, Strasbourg to Colmar, Colmar to Dijon, and Dijon to Paris, and then Paris to Reims and it was great.
If you can swing it, rent a car...we used EuropCar and Avis and, again, made reservations online before we went. We rented a car in Colmar and if you are not in a tour, you'll definitely need a car to get to all of the villages.
We stayed in a number of smaller hotels, which seemed to offer the best value. In Strasbourg (Alsace), we stayed at the Regent Petite France (www.regent-petite-france.com), a really charming hotel in the old section of Strasbourg for 2 nights. Very close to wonderful Alsatian restaurants and bars.
A very surprising find was that storks live and nest on the roofs of some of the towns.
In Colmar, we stayed at the Best Western Grand Hotel Bristol (right across from the train station)www.grand-hotel-bristol.com; again, charming (although small).
A note: You may already be familiar with hotel rooms in France, but they are definitely on the smaller side but with incredibly nice and helpful staff.
I don't believe you can have bad food in France. Food in trains, train stations, on the streets, in Brasseries is all great as far as I'm concerned. Some of our favorites:
Restaurant Buerehiesel 4 Parc de l'Orangerie, 67000 Strasbourg, France +33 3 88 45 56 65 (Amazing food and atmosphere, located in a park some distance from downtown so cab is best to get there).
Restaurant "La Petite Alsace" (good, Alsatian fare with good wine list) 23, Rue du Bain aux Plantes 67000 Strasbourg
I had some of my teachers give me names of wineries to contact to line up reservations. It's fairly difficult to get into non-public wineries spur of the moment.
The Alsatians make it easy to visit wineries. The Wine Route (www.vinsalsace.com/en/) wends through all of the Alsatian ancient villages, which all happen to have superb wineries. With 51 Grands Crus in Alsace alone, there are many choices at many price points.
Some of our favorites:
Trimbach: (http://www.trimbach.fr/) Some of the best dry Rieslings I've had. Very accessible.
Domaine Du Moulin De Dusenbach: (www.domaine-dusenbach.com) Particularly like their Pinot Noir Rose and Cremant.
Vins D'Alsace Dany Dietrich Le Vigneron (www.vins-dietrich.com/vins-alsace/): Nice Pinot Noirs