Alsace is a unique destination, one of France’s most picturesque corners. This region is so rich with history and so linked with its traditions, it feels like a bridge to Old World Europe. It also vibrates with color, and is one of France’s most photogenic corners.
Wendell Rogers is a regular Untourist who has traveled with us in Italy, Germany, Ireland, and Austria. He also happens to be a phenomenal photographer. Here are some of his photos from a recent trip to Alsace, where he captures all the basic elements that make this region special.
Churches and canals. Strasbourg is the place to see and enjoy both. Explore Petite France, the historic neighborhood on the western end of the Grande Île, to experience the best of them, and an atmosphere all its own. Consider taking a river cruise as well, and glide past the city’s best architecture.
Stained glass. The warm, clear sunlight of Alsace illuminates the masterful stained glass of its many ornate, historic churches. Duck into the cool interiors of the town church as you explore Alsace’s many charming villages and enjoy the artistry.
Vineyards. Alsace is laced with picture-perfect vineyards and is an ancient center of wine production, producing scrumptious varietals like Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer. Also, don’t miss Crémant d’Alsace, France’s under-rated sparkling wine. And don’t fear the Reisling, as most are dry and delicious!
Cabled houses. The traditional building style here is a reminder that you are in a border region and cultural crossroads. The small towns of Alsace dress their Old World architecture in bright colors that can make your town stroll feel like a cheerful walk through a story book.
Tradition. Alsatian folklore is alive and well, and celebrated with regular festivals in Colmar and other towns. You might see women in the traditional costume that originated in the 18th century and includes blouse, corset, and distinctive beard bonnets. Festivals celebrate traditional music and dance as well.
Markets. Like any self-respecting region of France, Alsace has lots of appealing outdoor markets. Its most traditional ones sell fruit and vegetables, along with the region’s typical sausages and cheeses, like the Bargkass and the somewhat smelly local Munster.
Food. The food of Alsace is unique to the region and shows its Germanic influences. Charcuterie is big, but so are fresh salads. The tarte flambée is another favorite, an Alsatian sort of white pizza with onions. Whatever you fancy, you will eat well in Alsace.
Flowers. Alsace seems to be in constant bloom, in its public spaces, in private gardens, and in its houses’ ubiquitous flower boxes that add color and life to almost every building facade in town. Geraniums are a mainstay, but the different blooms cycle in and out and are replaced with greenery for Christmas.
Storks. This once-endangered bird has come to be a sort of mascot of the region. In Beblenheim and other towns, you might even see storks walking around in the green spaces of the village or spot nests on the rooftops of homes and businesses, lending to the region’s sense of enchantment. They are thought to bring luck.
Discover the magic of Alsace for yourself on an Untour. And please, share your photos and impressions with us if you do!
A special thank you to Wendell Rogers for sharing his gorgeous photos. Look for more of his work in upcoming blog posts.