I spent part of April in Alsace, between two river cruises on the Loire and Danube. That I ended up in Alsace was completely by chance. I had intended to travel south, to Provence. But Danièle and Patrick Schmitter, owners of CroisiEurope (along with their family), mentioned that they had opened a new bed and breakfast in Obernai, a popular city for day excursions for river cruisers visiting Strasbourg. As the B&B was brand new, Danièle and Patrick invited me to come and stay for a few days. Their manager, they told me, needed the know what it was like to have a guest in the house.
My stay was absolutely heavenly — for many reasons. First of all, the B&B was situated in a beautiful, contemporary home perched on a vineyard-threaded hillside. The views of Obernai, the Vosges mountain range and the valley that stretched across to the Swiss Alps was astoundingly picturesque. My room, on the top floor, featured a terrace, and I was often out there, breathing in the fresh air and taking in the view. On clear winter days, I was told, you could see the snow-capped peaks in Switzerland. Wow!
Named La Villa Haute Corniche (or the house on the high ridge), the B&B has it all: hiking from the front doorstep, electric-assist bicycles for those who want to go farther, a sumptuous French breakfast each morning and a professional on-site manager who will go to extremes to assure a great guest experience. Anthony Kintz is actually a former maitre d’ on CroisiEurope ships. A stay here beats the Strasbourg Hilton, where I’ve stayed in the past, by a long shot – and costs less too. Published rates are currently 120 euros per night.
Secondly, Obernai was uber-charming. I explored the morning market in a town characterized by half-timbered houses. Obernai, like Alsace, was French but with a Germanic (or Swiss perhaps) overlay.
Third, the Schmitters were exceptionally hospitable. They took me to a Michelin one-star restaurant that made for an evening to remember. Everything about Le Bistro des Saveurs was special, from the half-timbered building that frames it to the open fire inside to the cutlery to the giant tome that is the wine list to the presentation and taste of the finely prepared food. And, of course, the company of the two gracious hosts.
Fourth, the region is gorgeous. On one day, I pedaled (and pushed buttons to engage the electric motor) high up in the Vosges to Mont Saint-Odile, home to a monastery that is as beautiful as the views out over the Alsatian landscape. What a gorgeous, gorgeous place.
The bike gave me freedom to explore each day. I rode to Boersch, passing under arched clock towers and gates, along cobblestone roads into a town so lovely that I had to stop for a glass of Alsatian Cremant — and a second glass when informed there was also a rosé version.
On Facebook, I posted, “Vineyards, Vosges mountains framing the backdrop, spired villages, the fresh smell of spring in France. What was not to like (love) in Alsace this morning? Le joie de vivre – alive and kicking.”
That about sums up my experience is this wholly authentic and exceptional place. Check out my reviews on TripAdvisor or better, come and experience this wonderful place for yourself.
43 Inspiring Photos On Flickr
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