Friday, January 20, 2012

The Most Beautiful Villages of France: Alsace-Lorraine

This storybook village proudly stands as the birthplace of winegrowing in the region. Visitors will marvel at the century-old houses with pointed roofs, and beautiful floral decorations along the cobblestone streets, which has won many renowned awards throughout Europe.

Decked out in bright flowers, this village proves to be rich in religious architecture, boasting 16th century houses, and a fortified church and cemetery. For a glimpse of romance, head to the Butterfly Garden.
Think half-timbered houses and Geraniums. Typically of the Wissembourg’s region, Hunspach hosts 18th and 19th century old black and white homes with timber frames with Geranium flowers blossoming at the windows. Some buildings here actually contain glass windows that arch towards the street, enabling the people to see outsider the room without being seen themselves.
It’s all about wine-making in the sleepy village of Mittelbergheim, located at the foot of Mount Ste Odile (the highest peak in Alsace). It’s surrounded by vineyards and holds the Zotzenberg Grand Cru. Notably, the townhall holds the "Weinschlag," a book that holds rich information about the vineyards and wine since 1510.

Riquewihr is a hidden treasure all on its own. It’s a mix of stunning architecture and fine wines. You’ll find the castle of the Dukes of W├╝rttemberg and an array of 15-18th century homes, boasting flower-decked balconies and sculpted windows.
Situated on the borders of France, Germany and Luxembourg, Rodemack goes by "Petite Carcassonne Lorraine” because it continues to be surrounded by miles and miles of ramparts. To enter, one must go through the fortified gate of Sierck, impressively built by the residents back in the day.
Charming and quaint, this village surrounds itself with green hills in the Vosges Mountains and dates back to the Gallo-Roman times as the location of La Croix Guillaume shows. Religion also runs deep here, with the priory and its twin-towered church each with three onion-shaped domes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pastis: The Soul Drink of the South of France

Credit: Roger Morris
Southern France’s heart belongs to Pastis.

Just ask Roger Morris, Special Contributor to The Daily Meal.

During his week-long cruise along the renowned Canal du Midi aboard the charming hotel barge, Caroline, he discovered more than just breathtaking landscapes and medieval architecture.

He found the “soul drink” of the region: Pastis, a licorice- and anise-flavored liqueur that kicks your senses into high gear.

Click here to read his first-hand account:

Experience the tasty aperitif yourself on one of our Hotel Barge Cruises!
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