The Travellers' Club - Holidays for discerning travellers Halnaker Park Cottage, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QH
Telephone 01243 773597

Alsace & the Lands of the Rhine

14th - 21st April 2011

with Anthony Earl

To book this tour, click here

COST: Including: TRAIN- Eurostar and TGV; three days coach journeys; transfers by shuttle taxi; accommodation in good hotels with breakfast, four main meals, main museum entrance: £1260

EXTRAS: Insurance, additional meals, insurance; single room supplement (£295) optional boat or other trips.

Some would say that   Alsace on one side of the Rhine and the Schwarzwald on the other make up almost a separate country: La Rhénanie or Das Rheinland. This tour is intended to show how much the two regions share and how great their contribution has been to European history. They share  much: the style of towns and buildings, the wines, a tendency to hearty eating, their special roles in the 15th  and 16th century history of the Reformation and turbulent politics, and, of course their gentle green Spring weather. They even have similarities of parlance between the two dialects which are still spoken by villagers. Reisling, gewürztraminer; choucroutekougelhopf and flammekeuche stand for gastronomy, and Grunewald, and Baldung Grien are among the artists best admired there. The region has long considered itself distinct from the two major countries in which it is now placed. A local language can still be heard, and indeed until the late seventeenth century it was an independent state. Historical figures who lived there for a period include the reformers Erasmus, and Martin Bucer, the educationist Oberlin and the scholar, doctor and missionary Albert Schweitzer. There are important traces of all of them. We shall travel through the wide Rhine Valley, bordered on the west by the Vosges ,where sheets of daffodils flower, and on the east by the Schwarzwald and the Konigstuhl. The leader will give informal talks about some of these personalities and about the area.

Provisional programme:

Thurs 14th April: by  Eurostar and TGV Trains to Strasbourg; we shall stay at a city centre hotel. Dinner in the old quarter included this evening

Fri 15th: A day in Strasbourg;where the streets of sixteenth and seventeenth century houses create an atmosphere of detente  and distinguished history. We will a walk to look at the stained glass and sculptures of the cathedral; visit the  Musee de Beaux-Arts, which contains many treasures including La Belle Strasbourgeoise;  the quartier des Tanneurs and la Petite France; the historic  protestant church of St Thomas and atmospheric streets dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. A personal option might be a boat ride along the many watercourses, or a tour, to save your legs, on the tourist train. Dinner at your own choice (leader will give guidance and advice).

Sat 16th: by coach  into  Germany through  the  Schwarzwald  and the open air museum of Black Forest Life to Vieux Breisach, the ancient German frontier town with a n attractive rambling cathedral:- stay at Hotel Am Munster ( where most rooms look over the Rhine ). Dinner included this evening.

Sun 17th: a day in Freiburg; half an hour from our hotel, using local transport, to see the cathedral with the Baldung Grien altarpiece, stroll up the Weinberg overlooking the town, and enjoy the bookshops and market in the centre of the old town. A German- style lunch would be a special pleasure. Dinner at your choice in Breisach, where old German inns offer good price competition..

Mon 18th,: we transfer by coach, a journey of one hour, into Alsace via Colmar: full of   wonderful charming streets and squares, with the Musee Unterlinden containing the Isenheimaltar and many other late medieval masterpieces, and   the canal quarter of La Petite Venise. Museum enthusiasts will be able to  see the Vierge au Buisson de Roses by Schongauer, and the scale models of the  sculptures by Bartholdi, son of Colmar and designer of the Statue of Liberty) ; on to Kientzheim, to stay at 16th C. Hostellerie Schwendi, which has a gastronomic reputation. Dinner included this evening.

Tues 19th:  we propose a morning stroll through the vineyard, on a small portion of the Way of St James, into Kaysersberg, once capital of  the Vosges, birthplace of Schweitzer, where the majority of buildings are half-timbered.  In the afternoon we shall arrange a country ride round the cols and forests of Alsace; concluding with  a session and tasting of Alsatian wines for wine tasting. Dinner at own choice,  in village restaurants.

Wed 20th: we take  the coach, to see highlights of the Vosges.themselves  forming a majestic crest line overlooking the Rhine Valley. We include the castle of Haut-Keonigsbourg  built by Kaiser Wilhelm II in gothic style, the baroque Abbey of Ebersmunster and the little known but fabulous Renaissance Library in Sélestat where there are 900 incunabula.. Dinner is included this evening.

Thurs 21st: transfer to Colmar for trains to Strasbourg , Paris and London