French Gems: Eguisheim

Eguisheim is a delightful, tiny village in the Alsace region of eastern France, bordering Germany.

Stone marker showing the Alsace region bordered by the Rhine River.  Eguisheim would be just a bit further to the right of Colmar.
Laced with pastel, half-timbered buildings its cobbled streets wind in concentric circles around a central, blue fountain.  If it sounds like it is  straight out of a fairy tale, well, it feels like it could be. The town is backed by rolling, green vineyards, and backed further still by a forested hill with a fortification at the top.  It feels not exactly like France, and not exactly like Germany, but somewhere in between.

Wander the tiny streets; stop to sample some locally-made sausages and cheese.  Watch your step on the cobblestones.  A word of advice: don't bother putting your camera away.  There is probably something quaint and photo-worthy just around the next bend!

Be on the lookout for the legendary storks you see all over the Alsace.  See the two nesting in this photo, below?  One's at the tip of the church bell tower, and the other on the adjacent building to the left.

We had delicious tarte flambé (aka, pizza) with fois gras.  A nice, light, thin crust and some greens on top.  Fabulous.

After a meal, stop at a bakery for a little sweet treat.  There are plenty of little cookies and other delights to choose from, to say the least.

Eguisheim has a fortress on the hill just above town, the Les Trois Chateaux d'Eguisheim.  Head westward out of town on the small, narrow road.  This takes you up to the foot of the hill, through beautiful vineyards, then eventually into the woods.  Confession -- we never made it to the fortress.  We looked and looked for the sign pointing us to the top, but could never find the path all the way up.  At any rate, it was still a pleasant walk through the woods and back down to the town.

France is filled with chambre d'hôtes, or bed and breakfasts.  Ours was one just outside of the main area of the village.  This (below) was the view from our room, with vineyards and the Three Castles in the distance.  It was spacious with a huge bathroom and a small couch with tv, table, and chairs.  Breakfast was served in a common room just outside.  Our friendly host was Mr. Jean-Marie Heimburger, and his kind, Thai wife who plied us with warm coffee when it was chilly and rainy, and breakfast with croissants and yummy jams.

Eguisheim makes a relaxing home base for exploring other towns in the Alsace region.  It's very close to Colmar, and an easy drive to the other towns, and even into Germany.