Alsace is a region in France that has changed hands several times between the French and Germans. In 925, it was part of Germany and remained so for close to 800 years. In the mid 17th century, Alsace would return to French hands before returning to German control in 1871. Following the First World War, Alsace was back in French government hands but soon reverted to Germany in the thick of the Second World War. After the defeat of Germany’s forces, Alsace was back to the French where it has remained to date. Still, French and German influences are imprinted on Alsace in everything from the language to cuisine.
Exploring Alsace’s valleys and countryside is best done by bike. It is one of the smallest provinces in France which makes a bike tour even more appropriate. Because of the region’s close association with both France and Germany, the best path to follow would probably be to start off from the edge of the Black Forest – in particular the small town of Badenweiler. Just 10 kilometers from the border with France, the journey through dense forest and gentle streams is breathtaking. Cross the border to enter Alsace, France and see the fortified town of Neuf Brisach. Neuf-Brisach has been listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Cycle through the Rhine valley in Alsace as you see medieval towns such as Guebwiller and Soultz-Haut-Rhin. If you are travelling with the kids, they will especially enjoy the traditional artifacts when you get to Ecomusee d’Alsace, an open air cultural centre and museum.