During our visit to Strasbourg in the Alsace region of France, we did a day tour on the wine road. The highlight of the tour was visiting the old, walled town of Riquewihr with its historic charm. From what we understand, it is busy all year round, but is extremely busy during the summer and early fall when the vineyards are in full operation. We were there in December, so the Christmas markets were in full swing, which made it even more magical.
Walking the streets of Riquewihr is truly like taking a trip back to the 17th century. It is one of the few villages that remained virtually untouched by World War II and the wall that surrounds the town is still completely intact. The main street is lined with shops selling a variety of tourist items, but if you want to really see the historic part of Riquewihr, take the side streets and make your way around the inner wall of the city.
The city is officially listed as one of the most beautiful villages of France and it lives up to its reputation. The medieval architecture remains as it did centuries ago and is truly breathtaking. There is only one entrance into the village and walking toward the clock tower with the arched entrance is really something special. We visited several other villages on our tour such as Ribeauville and Eguisheim, but Riquewihr was by far the most interesting village that we visited.
The entire countryside is covered by vineyards and the region is famous for its Riesling, but produces other varieties as well. We stopped for a wine tasting at one of the local vineyards, Gustave Lorentz, where we tasted several wines and purchased three bottles. Our favorite was the Crémant, which is a sparkling wine that is very similar to champagne.
If you plan a visit to Strasbourg and Alsace, Riquewihr should definitely be on your itinerary. Be prepared to battle the crowds and you can expect traffic to be at a standstill as you near the village. We were fortunate to be on a tour as our guide knew how to get us past the traffic and drop us off near the entrance of town while other people had to park twenty to thirty minutes away.