Alsace, France: Orschwiller and Beyond

Heading into Orshwiller. The place where I stayed is located a short way up the road on the right.

On a sunny Friday afternoon I drove out of Basel, Switzerland into the Alsace region of France for a long weekend. I'd been to this region of France many many years ago on an archeological survey and remember spending a very nice Thanksgiving in Strasbourg, where I ate ham in many variations. But I had never spent time along the Route-de-Vins.

I zoomed down the highway and then into a fairytale land of adorable, flower draped towns and villages. I was staying in Orschwiller, a very small town surrounded by vineyards, nestled against the hills leading to Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg.

I was staying in an apartment I rented from a lovely older French couple. They didn't speak much English, and my French is laughable, but with the help of a translation app on an iPad we got along famously. They greeted me with a bottle of local Pinot Gris. They had left me kugelhopf (a local pastry), homemade jam and honey, ready for my breakfast in the morning. Their daughter is the owner a restaurant worth visiting in nearby St. Hippolyte.

I went wandering around town and across some of the vineyards. Easter decorations still hung from some of the houses. I saw the miraculous site of a blue carpenter bee, with its glowing blue wings. European goldfinches and Serin fluttered from tree to tree around me. Flowers glowed in the early evening sun. The entire town smelled like lilacs and wisteria.

I sat outside on the balcony of my apartment watching the sun set. And that  scent of purple flowers, when combined with the a golden sip of the Pinot Gris, made the wine explode in a floral terrior that nearly short-circuited my brain. It was amazing. I tasted the land and spirit of this place.

The view from my balcony. Haut-Koenigsbourg castle is on the hill on the far left.



A view Orshwiller from the vineyards surrounding it.

Fairytale house Orschwiller. The different patterns of wooden beams have meanings as well as purpose.

Easter decorations.

Fountain in the town "center".

Some sort of Pasque Flower.
White and purple Wisteria.


Heading north toward Kintzheim.

While I was staying in Alsace there were frequent storms but they brought rainbows with them.

Rainbow ending in a bright yellow field of blooming canola (rapeseed).

A moody sky over the vinyards looking toward the Vosges mountains.

A sunset in flower form.

Just two kilometers from Orschwiller is the larger town of Kintzheim. You can walk across the vineyards from Orschwiller to Kintzheim. You can also hike up or down from Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg from here too.

Looking toward Kintzheim and Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Kintzheim beyond a field of canola (rapeseed) in flower.

Timber construction with flowers.

This building, in the center of Kintzheim, I'd like to transport into a forested lot near the sea, surround it with flowers, and then call it my dream home.


Really nice example of timber frame construction.

Several miles south down the Route de Vins is the village of Hunawihr. I was here to investigate white storks but I took a short wander around the town.

A look at Hunawihr from a vinyard

Typical timber frame architecture.

Fountain in the "center" of town.

Various forms of building styles.

A duck and and two bunnies decorating Easter. Can you find the bunnies?