Articles avec #alsace tag
Hohlandsbourg castle, near Wintzenheim, is built on a top of the Vosgian mountains, not very high but enough to enjoy a beautiful view towards Colmar, the Black Forest and, of course, the Alsatian flat country.
The high walls of Hohlandsbourg castle are impressing, and the size of the castle too. It was built in 1279 and extended in the following centuries, then partly demolished during the Thirty Years War.
It has been nearly forgotten for years and trees had grown in and out of the walls. We had not heard about it till our last trip to Alsace, but we had seen the castle from far away and asked about it as we were a bit puzzled.
From 1985 people have been working to restore it and give it back all the details of a fortified castle. Once there you can revise all the vocabulary of Middle Ages : bartizan, postern, drawbridge, rampart walk and others.
You can't miss Hohlandsbourg Castle when you are in the area of Colmar or Turckheim. The eyes are attracted by these high walls on top of the mountains.
Inside a video explains about the work in the castle, the people who have lived there and the history of the place. And this year you can discover an exhibition about boats made with Playmobil pieces in one of the rooms, a bit unexpected but children likes it a lot.
Strasbourg cathedral can be seen from far away and recognized thanks to the only tower of the building. From 1647 to 1874 it was the tallest building in the world.
A guide has explained to us that, if you imagine Strasbourg cathedral without this high tower and the part above the rose window, it is very similar to Notre-Dame de Paris. The front is decorated with thousands of figures, among them you can see kings (Clovis, Dagobert, Rodolphe, Louis XIV).
As this part of Strasbourg is a pedestrian precinct, it is easy to walk around the cathedral. And then you can enjoy the small streets around without the noise of cars, only with the voices of tourists coming from the whole world.
A visit in June is different from one in December with thousands of people visiting the local Christmas Market.
In the cathedral, the organ is impressing, the rose window beautiful, but most people come to see the astronomical clock and its automata. Every quarter of an hour, there is a small movement on the clock and at half past midday the 12 apostles move when the cock crows three times.
The clock also shows the real position of the Sun and the Moon.
Just near it, the Pillar of Angels is about the Last Judgement.
It is situated at the end of Strasbourg cathedral, far from the entry and in a quite small space for all the tourists who want to see it. But it is worth a look.
After this visit, a good Alsatian lunch is appreciated before a boat trip on Ill River to admire Strasbourg parts from the water and to listen to the history of the town and the buildings.
Turckheim is very near Colmar in Alsace. I went there years ago with my family and made my husband discover it last week end.
Of course, Turckheim looks like other Alsatian villages with half-timbered houses, but I think a lot of people first think about it because of Porte de France (France gate) and because of the Veilleur de Nuit (Night Watchman).
Each evening a night watchman walks in the town shouting in Alsatian "Han sori zu Fir und Liacht" (Take care of fire and light). This man used to do the job in old times to prevent house fires when candles were forgotten or fires too big at night.
He can be seen near Porte de France,built around 1330, which used to be a drawbridge and had two doors. Nowadays a stork nest on the top makes it quite recognizable.
Turckheim is on the way to Santiago de Compostela with a path to follow. The church tower was built in 1190 but the other parts of the building were renovated later. The Hôtel de Ville has got quite a typical shape.
Turckheim is famous because of its vineyards. It is said that, when the sea was still in the area, a dragon went out of the water, climbed on a hill and fell asleep in the sun. It was so hot that the dragon melted and its blood went into the soil. When the sea disappeared, men built Turckheim there and planted vineyards which were fed by the blood of the dragon and grew very well.
The town is also known because of the Memorial Museum of the fight in the area of Colmar which happened during the winter 1944-1945.
As usual we stopped in Kaysersberg on our way to the center of Alsace.
One week after Easter, decorations are still hanging in the streets. There are plenty of Easter rabbits and that is always a bit strange for people living in Lorraine as here bells bring Easter eggs, not rabbits. The colours are pleasant to look at and it makes streets look happy even if the day was quite cloudy.
We had an afternoon snack in the tea room we know well. My husband chose "punch rhum" and I had to ask what it was : a cake made with a mixture of kugelhopf pieces, custard, raisins soaked in rum, candied fruit. In Nancy we would call it "pudding". I chose almond and peach pie, I was not an adventurer on Saturday.
And we did some shopping in Kaysersberg. Each time we are in Alsace we notice shops selling hats and caps. These shops are not common in or near Nancy and we often must go to markets to find hats and the choice is not so good. So my husband found a cap he likes, good quality, nice colours. Next time I will try to find a hat for me, a summer hat.
When you walk in Riquewihr streets, and especially where most shops are, you don't look up. I would not have noticed this building if I had not seen the sign saying Le Gratte-Ciel (the Skyscraper).
Le Gratte-Ciel is a half-timbered house; that is very common in Alsace. But it is also a five-storey house, and this means it is one of the highest half-timbered house of the region. When you know it has been built during the 16th century, you understand it deserves special attention.
I don't know why this building is so high. Was the owner a rich man and/or a man with a big family? Or was it a building for merchants ? Anyway, it must have been difficult, expensive and long to get such a high house.
Le Gratte-Ciel is one of the numerous houses to look at and discover in Alsace. Each one has got something unusual, special, which makes you want to know more about it.