One of the things I hear the most from novice travelers is how anxious they are about travelling outside of main cities or vacation spots. In fact, a lot of people never leave the comfort of public transportation. Unfortunately, it means that they miss on a lot of incredible experiences. A lot of the time, just a little bit of research and planning can ease these concerns.
This quick four day trip is a good example. It allows for a family to spend three or four days visiting Paris, and than spend another four days in the country side. It is an ideal itinerary for the summer because a lot of the activities aren't open the rest of the year. It includes sightseeing, culture and gastronomy.
It also requires only one hotel for the three nights as you can easily start each day from the same starting point. I recommend the Hotel Spa Restaurant Domaine du Moulin in Ensisheim. For the three nights, you can get a fare that includes the room, breakfast, dinner and full access to the spa.
After enjoying your relaxing Parisian morning with a croissant or pain au chocolat at a local cafe, you can pick up your rental car. One of the downtown train station is ideal ( Montparnasse … ). You can also make arrangements with the rental agency to return the car at the airport if you will fly back home after your road trip.
Once on the road, set your gps for your hotel address and let it guide you east toward the Vosges National Park and the white wine region of France. It is about a 5 hour drive with the traffic leaving Paris. Enjoy lunch along the way, around Reims, in the Champagne region.
Once at your destination, relax in the included full service spa of the hotel followed by a dinner. afterward, take a quiet evening walk along the Canal Vauban. Perhaps with a glass of local white wine or beer in hand.
After a fresh breakfast, drive to Eguisheim, for a 4 hour adventure called "Le train gourmand du vignoble". It is a guided tour aboard a road train that will take you around town including its countryside with vineyards and a medieval village. You will get to enjoy a tasting of local wines and free time for lunch. A great opportunity to get a baguette, some cheese and cured ham for an impromptu picnic.
In the Afternoon, walk to the famous cellar "Wolfberger". It's a historic wine cellar with century-old casks at the entrance of Eguisheim. The facility also includes a discovery space for wine tourism. Local well known wines groups include Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.
Finish your day with a non guided walk around the center of Eguisheim. This traditional village is considered one of the most beautiful town in France. It was established around 720. Lose your self in the small streets and try the local food for an enchanting dinner.
Start your day by driving to the popular town of Colmar where the museum dedicated to French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi is waiting. Some of his famous work can already be seen in the courtyard leading to the museum itself. His most famous piece of sculpture is “the Statue of Liberty“, located in New York City. A smaller replica can be seen at one of the entrance of the town.
Afterward, walk to the famous Colmar covered market. What a great place to start your afternoon around the city center, after a delicious lunch. This market, opened in 1865, is surrounded by three streets as well as the local river. You will be able to stroll along the alleys with a local coffee in hand, and let your senses come to life. It Closes at 2pm on Sundays.
Not even half a mile from the market, you can hop a small flat-bottomed boat, operated by "Sweet Narcisse". It is the best way to discover the area of “La Petite Venise” (The Little Venice). A 30 minute tour to learn about and see first hand the local architecture.
To finish your busy day, continue your walk around the center of the charming and traditional city of Colmar. Leaving the bank of the river after the boat ride, make your way to Grand Rue street to head back to downtown where you started your day. “La vieille ville” neighborhood (Old Town) is ideal for some traditional and historical architecture sightseeing, including “Maison Pfister” and “La Maison des Têtes”, as well as for shopping. Enjoy a quiet dinner at one of the several oldest restaurant of France.
Unfortunately, every vacation must come to an end. But before heading back to Paris, let's see some of the national park. Drive to "Haut Koenigsbourg" for an incredible tour around this medieval fortress with exceptional panoramic views over the Alsace region including the Vosges mountains. Cross the drawbridge and walk into the heart of this castle. You will be able to visit fully furnished living quarters.
After a lunch in the area, it is time to drive back to Paris and be back just in time to enjoy a dinner in Montmartre with some live music.
Expert tourist, I love visiting new places, discovering new cultures and meeting new people. With this blog, and my business "Itinerary of a passport", I want to share my passion, ideas and experience.