Eguisheim The Gingerbread Village
Eguisheim, the village which is known for its high-quality Alsace wine and hectares of vineyards. Situated in the Haut-Rhin department in Grand Est in north-eastern France. In fact Eguisheim is now almost a part of Colmar, but historically it is a separate town, and it has its own separate identity.
The village wonderful highlight? except with wine, you can also adore its beautiful and tasty looking gingerbread houses all over the place. This commune has received zillion awards from its visitors and French local tourists.
An active village, dynamic both commercially and gastronomical. Top-quality restaurants reflect Alsace culinary tradition at its best.
Eguisheim The Most Beautiful Village of France
This small village was named the Most Beautiful Villages of France since 2003, it has also bagged the prize of the National Grand Prix of flowering since 1989.
Gold medal contest of the European Entente Floral in 2006. Eguisheim, the cradle of the Alsatian vineyard, wrapped in concentric circles and multicolored around his castle, no longer has his titles of nobility.
The village is also holder of the prestigious 4* ville fleuri award (the highest award) for its town garden planting and is full of flowers in the summer.
We’re not done yet, among other awards this gingerbread village received. Did you know that It was also named as the “Village préféré des Français” or “Favorite French Village” in 2013?
History of Eguisheim
Eguisheim, historical city: In the year 720, Count Eberhard, duke of Alsace and nephew of Sainte Odile, built his castle which still occupies the center of the town and it is this line that was born in 1002, in this same Castle one of the noblest sons of Alsace, this reforming Pope St. Leo IX, promoter of the truce of god, whose memory is here piously preserved.
Once the era of boiling pitch and molten lead has passed, the village has been fortify and it is what gives it its original appearance: concentric streets around the castle, the facades of triple thickness, Outside and pierced with loopholes.
This did not prevent the Eguishians from lovingly caring for a land planted with vines and fruit trees. For the virtues inherent in this terrain are summed up in the humanism of the vine and the wine.
Birthplace of winegrowing in Alsace has 1850 inhabitants and nestles between gentle hillsides covered with 339 hectares of vines.
In the heart of the Alsace wine region, at an altitude of 210m, it is only 5 kilometers from Colmar and close to the European capital of Strasbourg, Freiburg and to Basel.
Have you already heard of “Alsace Grand Cru”? if not then you should know that the winegrowers skill from this town, its remarkable soils and exceptional microclimate, Eguisheim’s “Eichberg” and “Pfersigberg” are officially classified as Alsace Grand Cru.
Pope St. Leo IX
Born Bruno of Egisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope from 12 February 1049. He was a German aristocrat and a powerful ruler of central Italy while holding the papacy. He was regard as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, his feast day celebrated on 19 April.
Leo IX is widely considered the most historically significant German Pope of the Middle Ages.
What to visit?
There are multitude places to visit in this small gingerbread town. But it always depends on how you wanted to spend your day here. In our case, we spend about 6 hours in this village and the result? Satisfied but we wanted more.
Top Places to visit outside the village are three castles dating from the 10th-12th centuries: Le Wahlenbourg, Le Dagsbourg, and Le Weckmund.
Inside the village, however, since it’s not the huge you can start with Rue du Rempart Sud, then Grand Rue in Eguisheim, after that there’s Place du Chateau with its Chateau, church, colorful houses, fountain, and storks! (Yes, there are storks)
On the other hand you can always wander around narrow paved streets full of beautiful old half-timbered (gingerbread houses) with geranium-bedecked wooden windows and balconies.
Lastly, Above all don’t forget to taste the local wine, which is available everywhere. Of course the tasty and delicious local foods.
We started our adventure by parking the car just before the entrance of the famous village. Take note the parking fee is to give for the betterment of the town. It was 12:00 pm after a long road ride of 4 hours to arrive at our destination.
Once we entered, those narrow streets were visibly stunning and blooming flowers startled us. This was the first time for me to come here, I never heard of this village before so it’s really exciting to explore.
If you haven’t live the real fairy tale life? you’ll experience it here for sure.
Wandering in the narrow paved magical streets, we bumped into these oodles shops along the way. The first one was the “Saucisse” shop will full of a various type of meat processed and made into sausages. We resisted not to buy anything yet since it was just 5 minutes since we arrived in the town.
Advancing further, there were some souvenirs shops will full of artisanal products made of “Pate de Sel” and Pates de Mais” It was the most interesting shop so far. Not just some magnets and souvenir figurines but also bags made of old pants (Yes old jeans)
I cannot repel myself not to buy, I’m taunted not to. So yes for the first time after just some minutes souvenirs are already packed.
The Central Square
When we stepped into the Central Square, it was like in a dream, which I wish not to be awakened. It was so enchanting that you could see yourself living in the place where Cinderella and Belle live.
The square composes of the Fountain of Saint Leon IX, Old Castle, and the Chapel. Surrounding the area are these wonderful and marvelous half-timbered houses.
Storks are also present in the neighborhood. I didn’t pay attention at first since for me it was kinda normal to see storks around. But as we explore the village more, it was more and more present and I cannot help myself not to take photos of their nests.
Castle and the Church of Saint-Peter and Saint-Paul
Looking at the topmost part of the Castle and the Church of Saint-Peter and Saint-Paul, you will actually see those storks nests. There is a Stork Sanctuary on the edge of the village where they are hoping to breed and re-introduce storks to the region.
The little church next to the Chateau has a very colorful interior view, unfortunately for us, we didn’t have much time to visit the both of these two historical places.
Former State Court of Unterlinden
The different sides and views are overwhelming to discover, every single corner of the street has it own specific and unique colorful designs of houses.
After the a while, we have decided to eat and had our finest local food with local wine. The white cheese called “bibalakass ail” is like cheese with garlic flavor and I find it delicious, coming from me who doesn’t love cheeses at all.
The tour didn’t end there, walking around was really great. Visited a bunch of shops and even ate a “red boudin” and tasted some fresh “dried fruits” and bought a lot of local food with us.
I’ll be featuring food tour separately as usual, I love how we enjoyed the experience in this small village. People were so kind and respectful.
Events and Festivities every year
Normally in September, the village will celebrate the Festival des Saveurs Musicales combines quality wine and music in the prestigious setting of the church of Saints-Pierre-et-Paul with its Romanesque bell-tower of the 13th century.
In December, the Christmas market of Eguisheim is one of the most traditional of Alsace. During this period the animations are many and the magic invades the village which sparkles with a thousand fires.
Finally, the festival of Winegrowers of Eguisheim is the oldest wine festival in Alsace. takes place on the last weekend of August that the Eguisiens celebrating more than 30 years of friendship.
During two days, the courses and the cellars are open to all for the tasting of the grape varieties of Eguisheim and Alsatian specialties. Orchestras of Alsatian folklore, jazz, and French varieties make dance young and less young until the end of the night.
How to reach Eguisheim
By train, Eguisheim is 7 km from the Colmar railway station (Gare de Colmar). From Paris East train station to Eguisheim will take you about 4 hours. Trains from Basel will be the best option, it will only take you about 2 hours and would cost 20-35 euros.
By Bus, one of the cheapest options however it will take you longer than expected. Busses that comes out for Basel will take 3 hours but only cost 5-11 euros. However, for those who are staying in Paris, this is not the best option.
Car, from Basel to Eguisheim, it will only take you more than half an hour. Coming out from Paris will be longer which is 5 hours (depending on the traffic) If you’re coming out from Zürich it’s gonna be 1 hour and 30 mins only. In our case, it took us 4 hours from the frontier of Belgium.
Bla Bla Car, I could say the best option if you’re around France. It’s the easiest and fastest among all. Perhaps not that convenient since you’re going to co-riding with someone who’s going to the same direction as you. Tariffs around the cities will start from 25 euros and above.
References: City's Official Site France_voyage Wikipedia