We have not been to France in such a long time so I picked one of our favorite areas, Alsace, for my birthday weekend. Great food, great wine, and most importantly FLEA MARKETS!
Alsace France is right on the border of Germany so you see a real mix of the two cultures. The houses look more Germany with traditional half-timbered style. They are very colorful.
There are so many sweet little villages to visit all within a short distance from each other. This area is very clean and they take pride in their neighborhoods - notice all the flowers. This one had canals running all through it.
If the village meets certain requirements, they are awarded a flower icon. They can be awarded one to four flowers. The ones rated four are exceptionally quaint. At the entrance of each little village, they have sculptures and statues in the circles.
This is one of my favorites, two children playing seesaw, and it is actually the one for the village where our B&B is located. They move up and down - how precious!
We stayed at our very favorite B&B, Ambiance Jardin located in Diebolsheim, between Strasbourg and Colmar. This is our fourth stay and I have already booked a long weekend for the Christmas markets in December. Here I am with Pierrette, the owner.
A few photos at the lovely B&B:
D relaxing and reading in the garden.....
It is hard to capture how lovely the garden is. There are little pathways that twist and turn, along with sweet little sitting areas. If you want to see more images of Ambiance Jardin, visit my art blog, ma vie trouvee.
Diebolsheim was awarded the highest rating of four flowers. There are only six villages out of 137, which have this rating. This restaurant is just down the street from the B&B. A young couple owns it and he is the chef. The food is always delicious.
This was an interesting house in the neighborhood.
One evening Pierrette's neighbor, Jean -Luc, stopped by. We chatted and he told us all about his garden. He invited us to stop by for a visit the next morning, so we did.
It was very interesting as he has over 40 different varietals of tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables. Here is Jean-Luc with his insect house.
His English was about as good as D's French....but we had fun figuring out what each was saying. And Jean Luc had a very ornery sense of humor. His wife kept him in close earshot to make sure he was behaving! Obviously she was not around in this photo as he had D laughing!
Below, he is showing D how to create the best soil for plants.
D was very excited about the tool and plans to order one to take back to Virginia. You can see part of it below. It had metal prongs about 12 inches long.
We went to several flea markets where I found some real treasures. To see what I bought, visit my art blog by clicking here: ma vie trouvee. I found a real treasure, a very old stamp (see below). To read more about it, click here.
Even D found a treasure for one euro! What is it you ask? An old mallet. What is he going to use it for - to flatten meat. Remind me NOT to eat the meat he uses this on.
On of the traditional dishes of the region is flammekueche, also called flambees; our favorite. Basically like a pizza, but with bacon and cream - oh so yummy! They are also well known for foie gras made in the region since the 17th century. We had this too!
The scenery in this area is stunning with so many different landscapes to see - including an old castle.
Look at the colorful tile on the church steeple.
A sweet little wedding.
This was her car....not sure why the photographer had her walking all over the cobblestones!
Alsace is well known for their wines. Alsatian wines are dry and white, most being rieslings and gewürztraminer. Before we traveled to this region, we thought the wines were very sweet, but they are not. We have come to really like them.
In this region the vineyards are not set up for visiting or tasting, instead each "house" has a store front set up in the village.
They are quite beautiful. Many use restored farmhouses and have restaurants or B&B's attached.
Our favorite of this trip was the Beck Hartweg vineyard. They also had our favorite wine of the trip, Frankstein Grand Cru Gewürztraminer. There was a lovely sitting area outside.
And a really cool tasting cellar inside.
And a very cute guide, Florian, the son of the owner, who told us about the wines we tasted. He spoke very good English, which was not the case at all the tastings we did.
He invited us into the cellar - so small, with only eight tanks. But his family has been making wines from their vines since 1590!
Don't think anyone will be tasting these!
A wonderful birthday weekend I had!