Up in the far North East of France lies another stunning region of rolling hills covered in vines. As an area known for it’s riesling, amongst other notable wines, it’s easy to believe that the Rhine River and the nearby German riesling regions are closeby. In fact, the French Alsace region follows the Rhine River.
Like we did in Burgundy, we drove the small roads through the Route des Vins d’Alsace on the D35. The Alsace doesn’t have the grand houses and châteaux that line the Grand Cru in Burgundy, but there is equal beauty in the quaint timber villages.
The villages here are small, and continue with the German inspired names and architecture. B&Bs, gites, restaurants and wine houses abound. The towns are also laden with beautiful flowers. They are towns that take great pride in themselves.
The French Alsace is known for seven varieties of wine. Riesling, Sylvaner, Gerwurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc , Muscat d’Alsace and Pinot Noir offer wine drinkers an amazing array of type and taste.
A little bit of Germany
To give a sense of the German influence I’m referring to, these are the towns that we ventured through today.
- Soultzbach les Bains. Definitely some French in here with the adding of Les Bains, but the Soultzbach is undoubtedly German
- Dambach la Ville. A little French in here too but the “bach” gives it away
- Blienschwiller. There is no mistaking the rest of these names have a strong German influence.
We stopped in at Dambach la Ville, which looked as good a place as any. It actually reminded me of Rothenburg ob Tauber in Germany, with it’s front gated entrance and it’s walls around the city. Even some of the buildings inside reminded me of that town. Our arrival here was perfect timing for lunch, but we just felt like sampling the local Riesling. A waitress dressed like she was working the German beer halls looked after us with a drop of the local stuff.
Small, picture perfect, colourful villages followed us as we continued to drive through the winding country roads. There are over 100 small villages along this route, so you’ll never miss out on feeling as though you are part of this beautiful countryside.
I can’t pick one village over the other for being the best although Itterswiller was beautiful, and Mittelbergheim, with it’s village and surrounding vineyards was sensational as our chosen place for lunch.
Our stopovers for lunch keep delivering awesome locations
Mittelbergheim provided the perfect backdrop for our usual French lunch of baguette, jambon, fromage, and a variety of other yummy condiments we’ve been picking up along the way.
Our aim tonight was to be in Strasbourg and to potentially stay in an Aire de Service. We drove through Strasbourg, which wasn’t that difficult, only to find the Aire was “out of order”.
This seems to be one of the biggest issues with the Aires network. So many of them are not working when we arrive, which is terribly disappointing and inconvenient mostly to motorhomes. When you plot a path to an Aire and make it part of your plans, it can throw them into disarray if they don’t work when you really need them.
Luckily for us, our choice of this Aire tonight was purely for location, so the lack of services wasn’t really a bother. There were plenty of other motorhomes parked up in the official area, and others that had created their own additional parking area next door.
Our back up plan was to go to a France Passion site, about 30 km out of Strasbourg. Ferme de la Plume D’or was a working farm and shop right in the middle of the village of Dachstein.
This was an extremely professional establishment, with a comprehensive shop full of their own products. Out the back, they had a processing facility and working farm. Goats, ducks, donkeys, chickens, guinea fowl and geese all play a “food” part in this farm. Well, except for the donkeys.
When we arrived, the geese were in the sheds being fed, and making all sorts of honking noises. Our host was trying to tell us not to park near the sheds because they make noise, but we weren’t worried about that. The closer to the action, the better for us.
The house specialities here are duck and goose foie gras and rillettes. There are all kinds of smoked and confit duck and goose as well. Bottles of white asparagus tips, tins of meats, homemade pastas, pies, sausages and tarts are all on offer. Cassoulets, terrines and pates also showcased the best of their home grown farm produce.
Of course, we couldn’t resist and came away with our biggest haul at a France Passion site to date. With armfuls of fresh duck, quenelles of chicken, duck rillettes and white asparagus, we had a real selection to use back in our motorhome.
France Passion Review
Ferme de la Plume D’or
168 rue d’Altorf 67120 Dachstein France
- Farm environment, located in the centre of a small town.
- Gravel area at the rear of the shop to park on.
- There is space for a number of motorhomes to park.
- No other services available.
- Shop attached to the farm is fantastic if you love good food. Whilst there is absolutely no pressure to buy, I would find it hard to walk away without buying something for your dinner or to snack on.
- Provides a wonderful opportunity to be on a French farm and observe what they do. Possible to walk around the farm area and mingle with the animals if this is something you like doing.
- There are constant farm noises, so if you are sensitive to noise/animal noise, this might not be the best choice of stopover.
- Host was incredibly welcoming.
I absolutely loved driving around the French Alsace. If you still want more, you could also read this blog.