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A quirky mixture of French and German culture and architecture, Alsace is a truly unique corner of eastern France. Situated between the rushing Rhine and the mighty Vosges mountains, it is a patchwork of dense forests and verdant pastures, gentle valleys and, of course, vineyards. It’s a region dotted with sites that bear witness to a turbulent past: ruined castles perch atop hills and Le Struthof, France’s only concentration camp, squats stark and sinister in the north of the region.

The town of Colmar has a distinctly German feel, its houses timbered and painted in bright colours, its bridged river lined with flowers and its German Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance buildings. It’s a beautiful place to become acquainted with and to try traditional Alsatian cuisine such as ‘fleishschnacka’, fresh egg pasta stuffed with meat, onions and herbs. Other typically Alsatian villages such as Hunawihr and Eguisheim have been granted a place among the ‘most beautiful villages in France’, and a visit makes it easy to see why.

The varying terrain of Alsace, alongside its distinctive identity, make this region a joy to discover for walkers and cyclists looking for history, architecture and a healthy sprinkling of local folklore.

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