We have been cycling, eating, and drinking our way through the Alsace region for the past few days. In our next post we will delve into the bike routes, wine, and culture. But first, some background.
Alsace is located in the eastern part of France on the border with Germany. National control of Alsace has passed back and forth between France and Germany many times in the past few hundred years, reverting to the current French control at the end of the Second World War. This dual influence is readily apparent in the local culture, architecture, and food.
Agriculture predominates this fertile plain, which lies between the Black Forest Mountains to the east and the Vosges Mountains to the west. Vineyards cover the hillsides….
Corn and wheat can be seen in many fields, but also specialty crops like cabbage and hops….
Already we see the German influence, with cabbage and hops, of course, being key ingredients in sauerkraut and beer. In fact, the town of Krautergersheim boasts that it is the cabbage capital of France!
The architecture also has German influence, with charming half-timbered houses in the historic centers of the numerous small towns and cities throughout the region. Many of the houses have overhangs with the upper floors being slightly larger than the ground floor. Why? Because when they were built, taxes were assessed on the square footage of the ground floor only. And the flowers, which are amazing, are everywhere…..
We’re now in Strasbourg finishing our adventure. Don’t miss our next post, which will be the last for this trip.