Articles avec #around lorraine tag
Each time we have been from Lorraine to England we have followed the same route and had the same landmarks.
First we see the change in the colour of the earth. in Champagne it is lighter, whiter (because of the chalk). And there are all these wind turbines which have been "growing" in the last decades.
Then we notice vehicles on the motorway different from the ones we usually see in France. There was an Airstream trailer going to the north as we were driving up there. Strangely we saw another one used to sell hotdogs a few days later in Greenwich.
When you start seeing houses made with red bricks, you know you have arrived in le Nord, these are typical buildings of the north of France.
This year we wanted to have a night in a hotel, we stopped in Bruay-la-Buissière before crossing the Channel. The decoration made us think about the 70s.
The end of the French road is in Calais harbour. Depending on the time you arrive, you have to wait for a few minutes or one hour to go with the car on the ferry.
We had a good trip with a calm sea and a good lunch on board before going outside to look at the white cliffs of England. I always like this, the minute I really feel I am on holiday.
And it is the arrival in Dover with the usual traffic jams and road works but also the big change and all the things which make you feel sure you are in England.
As I wrote above, the same trip, and the same pleasure.
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.
Last year we found good wine in Riquewihr, so this year we decided to go back there to buy more for us and also to find the "medium dry" wine my English friend would like to taste.
Riquewihr is a pleasant town to visit because it is so typical, but there is also a big choice of wines. The idea for our day was to arrive to have lunch there and to do our shopping afterwards.
Before leaving home I tried to check what a "medium dry" wine would be in French but the explanation I got was satisfying only for champagne. So I was left with the idea I would have to ask when arriving at the cellar.
And the man there was so pleasant, he knew exactly what to propose : a Pinot Gris. I must say I had in mind I didn't like this wine, but it was a really good surprise, I like it. It is not as fruity as Gewurztraminer, but it is good.
As we were tasting the wines we were interested in, we were proposed to visit the place where they are made, just two houses away. It was nothing compared to big cellars in Champagne or Burgundy, but I found it was really interesting, a real place where you realize people are working and not organizing things only for tourists.
Some barrels were really old and the stairs to go there where quite steep !
These stairs made us think about the steep slope we had seen from the end of a narrow street of Riquewihr. We were told that, for these vineyards, no machine can be used. All the work before the crop is done by hand ! I wouldn't go there on a day the ground is icy.
Our visit in the cellar to choose wine was very interesting with all the explanations we got. We felt we knew more about what we were going to drink.
We were really reasonable with the tasting as we had the opportunity to choose between five sorts of wines (2 Pinot Gris, 3 Gewurztraminer) matching our request. There was no point in getting drunk so we took a sip of each and threw what was left in the special small bucket on the counter (thinking "what a waste!").
This place was the last one of our shopping walk as we didn't want to carry heaving things around. We could not resist in front of the gingerbread shop and also decided we could bring back home a few bottles of Alsatian beer.
Riquewihr is worth another visit next year to buy a few more bottles of wine.
The first time I went to Ribeauvillé I was a teenager. I have stayed several weekends there and I have enjoyed discovering this town.
After so many years it has not changed and is still so picturesque.
Ribeauvillé is situated on the route des Vins d'Alsace (Alsace wine route), so is surrounded by vineyards and has castles just above it. The town has kept old houses from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The main street is full of small shops of all sorts. Of course some are offering souvenirs for tourists but there are also common shops to go to during your daily life.
In spite of many trips to Alsace I am still surprised by the colours of houses. It makes the town very lively.
A walk in April in Ribeauvillé was a good idea as it was not crowded. And the restaurant at lunch time offered good Alsatian food. No regret on this day, only happiness.
In Lorraine we don't see a lot of Easter decoration outside. Children sometimes make some at school but they don't put them in the streets. It has never been part of our tradition.
So I was surprised to discover Easter decoration in Alsatian villages, three weeks after Easter.
I missed one picture of a beautiful garden full of eggs and Easter hares in one village. In Lorraine bells bring the eggs, in Alsace Easter hares bring them (the tradition says hares, not rabbits) !
In Ribeauvillé houses and shops still showed decoration so I had plenty of time to take pictures. I forgot to ask when they take them off and what they put instead.
A pleasant tradition to discover.