Charming French Village of Riquewihr
Charming French Village of Riquewihr
Riquewihr is one of the crown jewels of the Alsace Region in France. One of the few towns not be greatly damaged in World War II, it still retains its original medieval charm and was the inspiration for the “village” in Beauty and the Beast.
Riquewihr is just 7 miles from Colmar and worth the quick bus ride to visit this charming town. The Alsace region has been controlled by both France and Germany and has the influence of both. Many residents speak German over French or a version of the language called Alsatian.
Disney animators visited Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé for inspiration for the village created in Beauty and the Beast. Visit the town today and you will feel like you are walking through the drawings of that French village, especially in the early AM.
Visitors come here for three things: See the 16th and 17th century architecture, Eat the Food, and Drink the wine.
The town is a square with two main streets and lots of little alleys.
The Dolder or defensive gate, dates back to the 13th century.
Around town you will find half-timbered houses dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries that are built very close together. Only 2 bombs fell on the town during World War II, so there is little that has been rebuilt.
You will notice that the town is especially colorful as you wander the streets. The story goes that the town is so colorful as residents centuries ago were required to paint their building according to the color of their profession – butcher, shoemaker, bakery, etc. I am not sure if this is true but you can still see tell tale signs of what used to be there – ie this building with the shoes tacked on.
Drink the Wine
Riquewihr is famous for its wines and especially the Reisling. Look outside the square city walls and you see miles of vineyards. However, the tradition is not to go vineyard to vineyard, but rather to taste the wine in town at the vineyards town cellar. These are called Winstubs (Vinschtubbe) and there are ~20 of them around the town, mostly in the cellars of the hotels. Some require a tasting fee but many are free and somehow their free tasting wines tasted better and I bought more from them.
If you can (or you must after the wine tasting), stay a night in town to experience the charm post visitors or visit in the early morning hours.
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BlueSkyTraveler visited the Alsace area of France on an independent trip.
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