Arrive in Strasbourg and meet your bikes: The NY Times describes Strasbourg as follows: “a fetching Franco-Teutonic core of cobbled traffic-free lanes, canals, half-timbered houses and spires where you can fill both your belly (with copious rustic Alsatian dishes) and your brain (with impressive art museums). Toss in the seat of the European Parliament, a lively bar scene and some winningly repurposed historical buildings — now elegant hotels and gastronomic havens — and you have an international city with year-round appeal.” Museum lovers will appreciate the 18th century Palais Rohan and or the Musee d’Art Moderne et Contemporain. After filling yourself with culture, head to Restaurant 1741, with its Michelin star and Baroque boudoir style and enjoy a remarkable meal. On your walk home, consider stopping in at Wawa, one of the hip lounges that has recently opened and popular with locals.
Strasbourg to Ottrott: Ride south from Strasbourg along dedicated cycle paths along the Bruche canal which was built to bring the red sandstone of the Vosges for the construction of forts in Strasbourg. In Molsheim join up with the Alsace wine route through charming villages including Obernai and Ottrott.
Distance: 48 km, elevation gain 300 m
Ottrott loop: Starting from Ottrot our longer option climbs to Mont St. Odile where the views will reward your effort. Enjoy the descent through Obernai, filled with interesting shops and galleries followed by a flat and moderately rolling afternoon through smaller villages back to your hotel.
Distance: 33 km, elevation gain 225 m or 50 km, gain 850 m
Ottrott to Illhaeusern: Riding south from Ottrott, the route through vineyards and along the edge of the Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park will be a favourite. Have lunch in the village of Kintzheim at the Auberge St. Martin, renowned for its tarte flambée, a regional specialty here composed of bread dough rolled out very thinly in the shape of a rectangle or circle, which is covered with fromage blanc or crème fraîche, thinly sliced onions and lardons. Afterwards, glide into the charming village of Illhaeusern. For foodies, don’t miss an opportunity to dine in the 3-star Michelin dining room of Auberge de L’Isle for dinner.
Distance: 51 km, elevation gain 700 m
Illhaeusern loop: Should you wish to dip into Germany, you have the chance on this day to explore the Kaiserstuhl wine region along the Rhine River (the sunniest region of Germany), with idyllic wine villages such as Achkarren and its wine museum, and the towns of Bickensohl and Burkheim. Should you want a century ride staying on the French side of the Rhine through farmlands and along the Rhine river, this option is available.
Distance: 57 km, elevation gain 350 m or 100 km, 350 m
Colmar: Ride to the charming villages of Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr - both are listed as members of the les plus beaux villages en france (the most beautiful villages of France). Along the way you can visit the Bott Frères family winery described by Francine Prose in the NY Times: “The winemaking machinery - vats and bottles, dials and tubes - is not only ingenious but beautiful, even fantastic, like the equipment one might find it a grown-up version of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory.” Haut Koenigsburg is also an option should you wish to climb up - this imposing castle boasts views over the surrounding countryside. Arrive to Colmar, known for its old world charms and recently, a museum renaissance. Unterlinden is leading Colmar’s transformation into France’s latest destination for modern art and architecture, thanks to a three-year, 44 million-euro renovation and expansion by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. This lead to NY Times rating Colmar as one of the top 52 Places to visit in 2016. We agree!
Distance: 30 km, elevation gain 285 m or 55 km, gain 860 m
Depart from Colmar at your leisure. Trains to Paris (Paris Est station) depart throughout the day and take 2h30.
"Food and wine out of this world and wonderfully welcoming people. Our best cycling tour in France from all over 6 times."
- R. Pasturel