Thursday, 31 January 2013

Grand Designs – The Fairy-tale Edition

Day 200 (woo!) 30.01.13 Ribeauville, Bergheim and Selestat

Alsace wine countryRibeauville hanging signs and half timber housesWe’re up early and head into the centre of Ribeauville.  The main street is once again full of painted half-timber buildings.  Some of the detailed carvings around the windows here are the most impressive we’ve seen.  There are also lots of Pied Piper statues dotted around, I meant to ask at the tourist office what that was about but forgot!  Looking up along the high street you appreciate the great surroundings of sweeping hills covered in grape vines and 3 big castles set high on the hill overlooking the town.  Apparently there’s a walking route you can follow to visit them all if a 10km hike is your idea of a good time!  We don’t mind a bit of walking but that’s a little too much for us!  Instead we opt for a leisurely walk around the picturesque quarter accompanied by some tasty sugar coated tasty treats from the local patisserie. 

It certainly is picturesque though not quite as charming as the last couple of spots we’ve visited, perhaps because there are a few more modern buildings thrown into the mix.  What can I say, we’ve been spoiled!!!  We walk all the way through town including a stroll alongside the river, taking in the marvellous views as we go.  We find ourselves on the very far side of town amongst the more affluent houses, most of which appear to have fallen out of the Grand Designs Fairytale Edition and just look utterly adorable.  We see and admire all that this pleasant little spot has to offer before heading off to our next spot of Bergheim.

Ribeauville high street It’s another little village we spotted on the map and decided to check out based on the assumption that every village in this region is adorable, and we were right!  Bergheim whilst tiny is very lovely indeed.  You enter the town under the large clock tower in the middle of the rampart walls, a great welcome!  The main street is so similar to many in this area, full of medieval frontages in an array of bright, bold colours.  There’s a small fountain, a pretty church with lovely gardens and some interesting towers built into the rampart walls.  Not a huge amount of sights but these villages are just wonderful to visit and soak up the delightful, unspoilt architecture.

Castle on the hill over Ribeauville, FranceIt’s just a fleeting visit before grabbing some lunch and moving on to Selestat.  We park up in an awkward, sloping side of the road spot and set off to find a better one on foot.  The town centre seems to be a little more functional and less fairytale than the last few but there are definite attractions.  We find the mediateque on the far side of town with a handy carpark just over the river so we fetch the van and bring it over.  We’re a little overwhelmed from all the sight-seeing of late and so decide to spend the last of the day in the mediateque, writing and enjoying the free wifi. We’ve been so lucky to see such amazing places over the last little while that we need to just take a bit of a break from it to stop us getting complacent!  I’d hate to take any of these places for granted. 

Bergheim town square and clock towerWe leave the mediateque at closing time and head back to the van for dinner and movie time.  Thankfully it’s been much milder of late so we’re not mourning the loss of our heating too much at the moment.  I’m sure we’ll get the gas replaced soon though if only to get the cooker back; the sandwich diet is getting a little dull! 

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