Today I drove my car to Gueberschwihr, a village in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, France. the entire area is UNESCO listed as a natural regional park.
Many of the villages are listed as “Plus beaux villages de France” and “Ville fleurie”.
Once I passed through Basel and across the border, I sat on an autobahn doing the 130 kmh limit. The distance flew by quickly and I found myself in a very narrow lanes village.
I had predetermined by parking spot at the local cemetery on the village outskirts. It was perfect.
I planned a circuit visiting as many villages as possible in the day. I ended up visiting 20! No wonder they seemed to merge together.
First issues first…I had forgotten to bring my water bottle so would need to find some as a matter of priority as the day was going to be warm.
I headed up the hill towards Voegtlinshoffen, and yes the bakery was open and they had water. Ah, I had left my Euros behind too…but they took card…so I needed to keep my eye open for a bank.
Refuelling by the fountain above, in what was a very sleepy village, I moved on to Husseren-les-chateaux.
Leaving Gueberschwihr was an interesting fountain, and signs of the recent Tour de France having passed through last month.
High on the hill is an old castle.
Narrow lanes, medieval homes, cobbles were to be the norm for the day. As you can imagine moving through these villages was slow progress, but gives you the opportunity to appreciate the incredible beauty that has been maintained since the 15th to 17th century.
Once I left the village and headed towards Eguisheim the old castle on the hill had become three old castles.
Eguisheim is worth a visit for a few hours. Concentric streets, old gates, beautifully maintained buildings, narrow lanes, pretty window sills, had attracted trillions of tourists. Walking my bike through the centre.
There were various interpretive panels on buildings providing insight into the history and age.
The villages flew by in quick succession, often not more than 1-2km apart. Wettoshein, Wintzensheim, Turckheim, Ingersheim, Katzenthal, Ammerschwiher, Kentzheim. I was stopping often to check my navigation points, walking through each for both safety and pleasure.
Silence office 36 metres on the right. Ok…
Best I could figure was this grotto maybe a ‘silence office’ as it was maybe 36 metres from the sign….
This village entrance gate looks like a smiling cat.
Fantastic interpretive panels. Turckheim is in the Munster Valley and known for its ancient ramparts.
I just kept snapping.
Heading to Kayserberg was this vista as I left riding through vineyards and rejoined the main road.
I passed by one of the village entrances as I could see another Tour de France sign.
I rode across the river to view this before doubling back into the village proper. Kayserberg is another village you could spend hours in. I probably stayed an hour wandering around, choosing to walk my bikes as it was filled with hoarded of tourists on the cobbles.
The village features remnants of medieval walls, a Romanesque church, historical half timbered houses, Renaissance burgher’s mansions and a fantastic old world ambience.
I sat on the edge of this bridge, which dates back to 1514. A French lady had asked me to take her photo as ‘her husband was terrible’. I obliged and asked for one in return.
I knew by the angle of the lens she was not going to capture the bridge or background buildings…I wondered about her husband then!
One hot and sweaty Sharron.
Leaving Kayserburg I chose a route via the vineyards and stopped to look behind me. A nice view of the medieval castle above the village.
A bit further along the vineyard path again you can see the Vosges nicely as well as Kaysersberg.
This view, same spot but looking in the opposite direction. Towards the Rhine Plains.
Knocking off more villages including Riquewihr, Hunawihr, Ribeauville, Bergheim, Rorschwihr.
This was my favourite Tour de France installation.
You can see some old castles high in the hills.
Another old village gate.
The French love their cycling.
St Hippolyte entrance… green bike..green jersey? My favourite green jersey rider being Peter Sagan.
Dark clouds and I got wet. It poured down for about 15 minutes. Bucket loads, but it was still in the high 20’s so not unpleasant but very soaking.
However there were also frequent lightening strikes after the rain and I decided it was time to turn around as thunderstorms had been predicted and I was not that keen to be sitting on a piece of metal, so far from my car.
It drizzled on and off all the way to Colmar and I kept my camera dry. I rode back mainly via a route through the vineyards.
Colmar is quite pretty, but I am not a bit city fan at the best of times and after securing some food and drink, a few quick photos hotfooted it out of town.
About 14 km later, I arrived back in Gueberschwihr. I turned right at the sign.
The village square.
Back to where I started. The cemetery in the vineyards.
Today’s route and up and down climbing.
I really enjoyed today’s ride. It was slow going courtesy of the villages but I gained an appreciation of the historical majestic beauty of the restorations, flowers and general ambience.
Certainly I would like to do further rides in the Vosges, heading higher up into the hills next time.
7 thoughts on “20 French towns and villages in a day”
Did you have your Garmin on whilst you were driving at 130 kph… just to bring your Strava average up??!!
…..and was finding the parking at the cemetery achieved by dead reckoning?!!
Nooo….my strava does not need artificially boosting…just checked and it is over 31,200 year to date….definitely dead reckoning 😂😂
What a very lovely ride and some fabulous photographs too! a great day you’ve had 🙂 xx
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Yes it was a great day..navigationally challenging at times…but always a good feeling when you end up at the right place. 20 towns makes slow going…you could spend a few days in the area easily xx
Yes it was an awesome day! So many jigsaw puzzle villages! Xx
Beautiful photos. You can certainly see the German influence in some of those villages.
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Yes name wise too. Very scenic and I would like to go higher up next time.