Exploring the French Alsace region
We’ve been lucky enough to drive almost all over France at one time or another, but the Alsace is an area we’ve never been to. We were looking forward to getting in amongst it all here, and drinking some of their renowned riesling.
In 2009, we had motorhomed around Eastern Europe. During this trip, we spent time in Germany, and in the Rhine riesling area. It was here that we developed a love for good riesling and so the opportunity to visit the French Alsace, where riesling is also made, was too good to miss.
With Basel being right near the Swiss, French and German borders, it gave us quick and easy access back into France. Ah…….we’re back in France, a place I truly love.
We’re into the French farmland once more. Golden fields of corn, that will seem to follow us for quite some time, dominate the landscape.
Whilst we are back in France, there is a very overt German influence in this region. From the town names, to the architecture, there’s a little of Germany everywhere.
Because we’ve left Basel late in the day, we only drove as far as the Colmar area today. It’s Sunday, so not much is open or happening in this town. We’ve actually forgotten that today is Sunday, as our focus was on the football game and we’ve left ourselves a little short of food for dinner. A little tip for unsuspecting travellers……..nothing is open in French regional towns on Sundays. We knew this but got ourselves lost in the days.
Finding a France Passion site to stay the night
Tonight, we decide to stay once more at a France Passion site. Having been in Italy and Switzerland, we had a yearning to be back in France and staying at another fabulous new location in the France Passion network.
We’ve found one that we think is reasonably near Colmar, so we put the co-ordinates into our GPS and set off.
We drive for what seems like an eternity, and there are a couple of moments of wondering where the GPS was taking us. All of a sudden, after driving through the forest with not a single person in sight, a clearing opens up and there are literally 50 cars parked up. There is building that looks like a chalet and paddocks surrounding it. The GPS tells us “you have arrived at your destination”
We parked up the motorhome, grabbed the France Passion guide and headed on in to reception to say hi and make sure it was ok to stay the night. This has been our standard procedure through all our France passion stays. Oh, and I should mention that today, because all I’ve done is watch the football and travelled, I’m in trackpants.
So, in we go, into “reception” and I find myself facing at least 30 people! They are all staring at us ! So a quick computation in my head makes me realise that the cars parked outside belong to most of these diners in here. This is the “auberge” part of the France Passion site. The restaurant. And, on this Sunday afternoon, it’s packed to the rafters. And then there’s me, who prides myself on being well groomed, standing in the middle of this group of diners, wearing what we call “trackie daks”, clutching my guide.
So the only thing to really do was act as though this was something I did everyday. We had a great chat to the young lad behind the bar, who was more than welcoming, and was happy to take our booking for dinner in the evening.
As quickly as we arrived, we scurried out the door, leaving the diners to their lunch and what looked like some awesome cheeses.
Later that evening, after the long lunchers had finally departed, it was our turn to go to the restaurant.
Eating in an authentic French Auberge
Life in a motorhome provides for some interesting moments, and tonight was one of them. Parked up only 20 metres from the restaurant’s front door, we get changed into good clothes (and for me, heels) and walk across the gravel driveway, into the restaurant.
We walked through the front door, mentioned that we had a booking and that we were from the “camping car” and without a moment’s hesitation, the Maitre’d said to us “ you are more than welcome” in excellent English ! I liked this place already.
Auberge et Ferme du Reid is a family owned and run farm and restaurant. Everything they serve up (apart from some dessert options) come from their farms, where they run 100 cows, 50 pigs and 20 donkeys. I was quick to ask if donkey was on the menu, because in some parts of France, it is. It wasn’t !
By the time we ordered our dinner, we were the only people in the restaurant, apart from a local, who had been there earlier in the day when we came in.
Between us, the Maitre’d and the local, there was plenty of activity in the restaurant. She couldn’t have been more hospitable or more helpful. She understood immediately, after we requested French menus, that we were wanting to learn. She helped us, and in return, she learnt some English words from us too. Each time she learned a new English word, she would go and tell the local man, and then go into the kitchen to tell them as well.
So much cheese……so little time
It was here that we learned to love Munster cheese. Strangely, most people think it is a strong cheese, but I actually find it extremely palatable. The rind is the thing that gives it the strong smell. It’s great to eat as is, but it is fantastic melted on potatoes. As we left the restaurant, we bought a round of their own Munster cheese.
Dinner was amazing. I absolutely love these restaurants that have menus based on what they farm themselves.
Our shared entree was a Chaud Fromage Salade (hot cheese salad) It featured local cheeses Munster, Barikas and Chevre, and it was incredible.
Our main meals were enormous. I had the Cordon Bleu, made from their own farmed veal, jambon (ham from their pigs) and their cheese. It was so big, I could only eat half, and they wrapped up the remainder for me to take home. “Take back to your camping car” was the offer from our wonderful Maitre’d.
Stirling had the Escalope de Veau with cep creme sauce. Again, a wonderful showcase of their home grown veal and mushrooms.
We washed it all down with a bottle of local riesling.
We were the last to leave, and given the contents of our motorhome fridge, we were very pleased to have found this wonderful France Passion location.
Many thanks to Margot, the owner and chef of this fine establishment. What a wonderful environment you have created, and what an awesome restaurant.
In terms of the France Passion site as a location to stay, it was also wonderful. On the top of a hill, out of the way of any kind of traffic, it provided an extremely quiet, restful and safe place for us to spend the evening.
- Coming back into France
- Starting to explore the Alsace
- The Auberge – it was amazing !
Review of France Passion site
68140 Luttenbach pres Munster
GPS : 48.005084, 7.132652
- Owned and run by Margot and Jean Martin Kempf
- Parking off to the side of the restaurant
- Room for 5 motorhomes to park up
- In the mountains, very peaceful surroundings
- Restaurant not open on Monday. Plan to arrive on another day and go to the restaurant. It’s worth a visit.
- Very welcoming hosts and staff