Paris Journal 2003

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Tuesday, July 15

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A weekend in Alsace

koenig5.jpg (22788 bytes) The Haut-Koenigsbourg castle is not only huge, it is also on many levels.  Much climbing of stairs.  The image at left gives you some idea of this.  The place is really built right into the side of the Stophanberch mountain (755 meters).
koenigview.jpg (10584 bytes) Another view from the castle.  Tom said several times that this area reminded him much of the part of North Carolina that was near where he grew up in South Carolina.  He found that very appealing, and he said we'll have to go back to western North Carolina soon.   The view here does convey the similarity.

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At left, a decoration on one of the cannons collected by William II.
cheneaudiere1.jpg (21180 bytes) After all this climbing around in a huge castle, we were ready to find our lodging.  Our terrific friends had already made reservations.  We drove to Colroy la Roche and checked into the Hostellerie La Cheneaudiere.  It is part of the Relais & Chateaux chain, owned by Luxury Alliance ( 

It has breathtaking views of the Vosges mountains (at left) and gourmet food. 

After a brief rest, we met our friends at the Hostellerie's restaurant.   We had an absolutely delightful evening with them.  The food was incredibly, unbelievably good.

cheneaudiere2.jpg (46833 bytes) There was a "mis en bouche" offered at the beginning of the dinner.  It was made with a type of cream called bavarade.  Fantastically good.

The foie gras was the best we've ever had.  Tom cleverly ordered the trio of foie gras, so he was able to try all three types offered by the restaurant.  The one that was in terrine, marinated in pinot gris, was the very best.  But all three were divine, smooth, rich, oh so good.

I had lamb chops, which were perfect.  I also ordered dessert (!) - tarte fondant au chocolate.  The chocolate was good enough to make my eyes roll back.  But then they brought us a little plate of confections that included a few other chocolate things that were also wonderful, and a nougat that was one of the finest things I've ever tasted.

We had champagne and pinot noir.  We laughed, told jokes (including the one about the 3 surgeons, the cowboy hat and the horses ass - one of Tom's funniest jokes and one that gives away our political convictions), and had a great time in French and English, and a little German.  I think we were the last table to leave.  The restaurant was full.  People looked at us when they left.

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"Who are these strange people having such a good time in three languages?" they thought.

The next day, after breakfast, we received our astounding hotel/restaurant bill and we checked out.  We drove into the town.

At left, a sign in Colmar.

unterlinden.jpg (21727 bytes) On that beautiful Sunday morning, we went to the Musée d'Unterlinden in Colmar (at left).   It houses  Matthias Grunewald's Issenheim altarpiece, works by Martin Schongauer, and many other treasures. 

There was supposed to be a music festival going on in Colmar, but it was a victim of the strike by France's "intermittents du spectacle" about which I've written earlier this summer.

It didn't matter.  As it was, we didn't really have enough time to see this museum, which is large and houses many wonderful things, like lots of great Alsatian armoirs and decorative objects.

unterlinden1.jpg (26353 bytes) One could easily spend an entire day at the Musée d'Unterlinden.  I hope we go back there sometime and see more of it.

Musée d'Unterlinden, 1 rue d'Unterlinden, 68000 Colmar, phone 03-89-20-15-50.

At left, the former nave where the Schongauer works are displayed.

colmarfleurs.jpg (27761 bytes) Have I mentioned the flowers in Alsace?  There are lots of flowers in Paris, of course, but it is nothing like Alsace.  Here there are flowers, beautiful flowers, almost everywhere.

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And plenty of cute pannes-de-bois buildings with flowers, like this one.
colmar3.jpg (44033 bytes) Another cute house in Colmar.


After the museum, we drove through a flowery village called Fleury, then on to Turckheim, which our friends called the prettiest village in Alsace.

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