Refining Alsace itinerary

Old Mar 5th, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Refining Alsace itinerary

We'll be spending a week in Alsace in early September. We arrive in Paris on September 2, are overnighting to help with jet lag, and the next morning will take the TGV to Strasbourg, where we'll arrive roughly midday on Thursday, Sept 3. We'll pick up our car on Monday, Sept 7, and head for Ribeauville, where we're staying in a lovely b&b. We return to Paris on Friday, Sept 11, for a couple of weeks.

So here's what I'm wondering. Are we allocating too much time to Strasbourg? We do plan to make a day trip to Baden Baden, weather permitting. We enjoy wandering around, passing an hour in a cafe people watching, and perhaps visiting an art museum and of course the cathedral and La Petite France.

From Ribeauville we'll visit a number of nearby towns and perhaps spend a day in Freiburg.

We are slow travelers and not interested in checking off the top ten sights. We're more about atmosphere and beauty. Like eating well but are not foodies.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for your help.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 12:30 PM
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You could use Srasbourg as a base to easily do a number of day trips by train, such as Gengenbach (Germany), Nancy, Metz, or even Freiburg. Make sure you spend a day in Colmar, either from Strasbourg (45 min. by train) or Ribeauville. You will love Alsaace!
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 12:37 PM
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Strasbourg is a beautiful city and is very compact. Enjoyable to just walk around, following the canals part of the time. A couple of days would be adequate. See if you can get a room at the Hotel Guttenberg. Colmar is a popular day trip on the train.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 01:02 PM
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Since you want to see Baden Baden and Freiburg, which are book ends of the Black Forest, I would do this:

Thu Sept 3 Strasbourg

Fri Sept 4 Strasbourg

Sat Sept 5 Rent a car, drive to Baden Baden for several hours, then drive to Gengenbach for the night

Sun Sept 6 Meander through the Black Forest to Freiburg for the night.

Mon Sept 7 Drive to Colmar for the day. Then to your B&B in Ribeauville, returning to Paris on Friday, Sept 11.

Spent several days in nearby Riquewihr last year. You will love the area.
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Old Mar 5th, 2015, 01:08 PM
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I would not miss Obernai, a very close trip from Strasbourg. From there you should go to Mont Sainte Odile with its spectacular panorama.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 04:06 AM
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I would rent the car on Saturday too. For the rest, I wouldn't plan too much. With a car, you can go wherever you want (day trips), from both Strasbourg and Ribeauville.

Fly into Paris if this is most suitable to you. If not, check Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Zurich. There are also regional airports at Strasbourg, Karlsruhe Baden-Baden and Basel.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 06:15 AM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...es-of-wine.cfm

might help

Stasbourg probably one day too many, there are some interesting WW1 relics outside the town that might interest.

I find the Vosges worth extra time, especially the Ballon d'Alsace the castles, concentration camp, war memorials, veiws, even Belfort.

Baden Baden (why?) yes for people watching but given that you have the whole Black forest or Mulhouse nearby why?
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 06:55 AM
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Thanks to you all. One reason we've planned things as we have is that we don't like to change hotels every day; we hoped that by having two bases we could stilll see what we wanted without that hassle.

We are interested in WW I sites, in fact looked at going to Verdun from Strasbourg, but it's a really long drive. Bibloburgler, can you suggest some others than are closer? We're fine with driving and always rent cars when we travel.

Consensus seems to be that Baden Baden isn't worth the effort. Yes? Alternative ideas? Gengenbach comes up twice; I'll look into it.

Pls. keep the ideas coming. This is our first time in this part of France, and you can learn only so much by reading travel sites.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 06:56 AM
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Additional thought: if we skip BB and go to Gengenbach as a day trip from Strasbourg, are there other villages nearby that repay a visit?

Thanks again.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 07:09 AM
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Struthof, I'll let you google
http://www.tourisme67.com/en/ for the area
If your French is not up to this use Google Translate
http://www.tourisme67.com/lieux-de-m...ne-maginot.htm
http://www.tourisme67.com/lieux-de-m...918-alsace.htm
http://www.tourisme67.com/patrimoine...enigsbourg.htm

If you click around these pages you will find that the place has been a big battle field
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 07:17 AM
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We stayed at a lovely apartment within the walls of Riquewhir. We liked it a lot, more "freedom" than a B&B, walked to the Bakery in town in the mornings for fresh pastries. We had a car and it was very easy to get around.

We loved the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, gorgeous views if clear. Neat castle.

http://www.haut-koenigsbourg.fr/en/

We were underwhelmed by Strasbourg, but I think we're in the minority. We liked Colmar more.

We also enjoyed Ecomuseum Alsace, an outdoor Museum

The Alsace is a wonderful area, you'll love it.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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I'm with Wrenwood. we liked Colmar much more than Strasbourg. We also stayed in Riquewihr in an apartment within the walls and loved it. Easy drives to many of the villages from there and a good choice of restaurants at night. Lovely to walk around Riquewihr in the evening without the crowds.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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I don't think you are spending too much time in Strasbourg. I have a similar travel style. You can take a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 09:36 AM
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I had to google Gengenbach and I thought I knew the area.

Are you too late for the wurst makt? 11 Sept

http://www.duerkheimer-wurstmarkt.de...markt.html?L=1
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 10:02 AM
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>

There are numerous Black Forest villages near Gengenbach.

You could drive Strasbourg-Offenburg-Gengenbach-Haslach-Hausach- Gutach with nearby Scwarzwalder Freilichmuseum-Hornberg-Triberg. This would be a 1-1/2 hour drive (90km) plus stops each way. This route is on train lines, but I do not know if it is practical time wise with stops.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 10:46 AM
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A blessing on your head, Dugi--that's just what I was hoping for. Most of our travels in France--and we have been to most parts of the country, many more than once--focus on just driving around to visit beautiful sights and drinking in local atmosphere (often literally). This kind of route is just up our street, so to speak.

Many thanks.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 11:13 AM
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If you have any desire for a sobering moment, you can also visit the Natzwiller-Le Struthof concentration camp. It is in a lovely setting, but it is also the only death camp that was located on French soil during the war.

http://tinyurl.com/nhlnf5e
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 02:30 PM
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Thank you, Kerouac, for the suggestion and for your incredible photo essay. I have been to Oradour-sur-Glane but never to a concentration camp, and I have very mixed feelings about going to one. I am Jewish but did not lose any family in the Holocaust. Yet the story of what happened was very much a part of my upbringing. Just visiting the Holocaust Museum in Washington was almost more than I could bear, not because I am Jewish but because it is beyond my understanding how people could do the things they did, by the hundreds of thousands. I will think carefully about whether to visit Natzweiler, but in any case thank you for teaching me about something I knew nothing about.
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Old Mar 6th, 2015, 05:29 PM
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Just a few notes to add to the good tips already offerred. While heading into Ribeauville from the highway stop and enjoy the treats at Daniel Stoffel Chocolaterie.
Second Kerouac's recommendation of Obernai (where we based for 4 nights) and Mont Sainte Odile.
Strasbourg was well worthwhile, but many places were closed on Sunday.
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Old Mar 7th, 2015, 01:23 AM
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Thre are tons of WW1 sites in Alsace. Google a bit or have a look at http://www.tourisme-alsace.com/en/me...War-1914-1918/
for WW2 check http://www.tourisme-alsace.com/en/me...War-1939-1945/
and the Museum of Resistance and Deportation at Besancon
http://www.citadelle.com/en/museum-o...portation.html
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