I was wondering why France is such a phenomenon... why does it have so many tourists and why do people fall in love with it so easily?!
Finally I figured it out... France has so much to offer, so many different things to offer! It has its VERY famous Paris, its posh Cote d'Azure, and the Alps and the ocean. it has the most beautiful castles and fascinating history. France has the best wine and food and such a beautiful language. The people are welcoming (really!) - very funny and they know how to enjoy life... and we should want to learn from them! But also, and especially, France surprises us with its diversity... ...and so there is also Alsace - a very special part of France! Here are 7 quick reasons why!
The German Ownership
The area belonged to Germany for centuries. During that time, France kept trying to win it over and finally in 1945 France claimed Alsace and Strasbourg as its own!
Many and Mainly German Flavors
You will find many German influences here, such as food, drinks, architecture, language, and traditions... The landscape reminds one of Germany with its mountains, hills and forests and the speech of locals also sound different than others in France.
Pioneering in Wine Tourism
Alsace offers the popular Alsace Wine Route ('Route des vins'). There are more than 170 km to explore with vineyards and villages that contain 50 wines classified as 'grand cru.' The most famous wines available in Alsace are: Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Cremants d'Alsace.
The food is so different from traditional French. It is pretty heavy, simple yet so good, with a lot of sausages, cheeses, juicy ham hock with steaming choucroute, pike-perch poached in riesling and spicy gingerbread. You are sure to eat well and often. The portions always arrive in big quantities and too delicious to stop eating them. And what specialities can one expect here? Traditional Alsatian dishes include baeckeoffe, flammekueche, choucroute, and fleischnacka - just to name a few and make you a bit curious.
Once you enter Alsace, immediately you will notice its unique architecture. The houses are small with high and steep roofs; all are in different colors - pink and blue, yellow and green. They are very cute - like from a cartoon. Appreciate the view - it's only found up here in the North in our special Alsace!
Passion for beer!
Not only is Alsace the main beer-producing region, but it's also where more than half of all the beer consumed in France is being enjoyed! The first Alsatian brews were created in 1268. The most popular beer brands you will find in Alsace are Fischer, Karlsbrau, Kronenbourg, and Heineken International. To add to this, Alsace produces its traditional Schnapps. Unfortunately, this strong alcoholic drink is less and less popular as the home distillers used to make it are becoming less common... what a shame!
Lastly but most importantly....Christmas Market.
When you visit Alsace during the winter, you will be sure to experience a very magical Christmas atmosphere! Nowhere in the whole France will you find such a festive spirit.
So what is so special about Christmas in Alsace?
Let's start with the markets, which are magical, full of stands selling Christmas decorations, lights, and souvenirs. You'll also find sweet specialities, gingerbread cookies, Vin Chaud and Beer Chaud to warm you up. On top of that, there is an abundance of heavy foods to warm you up and enjoyed in festive open spaces.
Additionally, there are the festive religious influences for those that appreciate them. There are nativity scenes - both wooden and live - immense Christmas trees, beautiful churches awaiting the arrival of the baby Jesus, and carols sung and played at each corner.
It might be cold and snowy, but you will find plenty of warmth and goodness there!
Hopefully you'll want to put Alsace on your list of places to visit, ideally towards Christmas time, if you want to discover another wonderful and special part of France. Or maybe you have already been to Alsace and share my passion for it? Whatever experience you have, I hope you will agree that Alsace is a special place and one that must be included visiting France!