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SuperDave's Adventures in Eastern France's Wine Country


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Thanks for posting all of these great pics SuperDave! Especially from Paris! Love the one of Notre Dame lit up at night. So cool!!! Your Paris pics brought back great memories of when my husband and I were in Paris last summer. We even have one of those locks on the Pont des Arts bridge near the Louve. The story behind the locks is you write your names (you and your love) on the lock, lock it on the bridge, then throw the key in the Seine as a symbol of your undying love. And I had the best meal of my life in the Marais at of all places an Italian restaurant, Caruso Ristorante. I'll remember that meal until the day I die. It was 4 cheese gnocchi and it was the most sinful decadent dish ever. I swear I had a "When Harry Met Sally" moment.

You asked about the green sphere statue.......I believe that is the statue in the middle of Place Vendome, called appropriately the Vendome Column. I could be wrong though.......

Looks like you had a great trip with lots of great pictures. Definitely gives me a case of wanderlust.

Edited:

Ahhhh! Missed Strider's post about the Place Vendome Column......at least I got it right......thanks Strider.

Edited by justawoman
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This is a great thread, Dave! I love all of your details and all of the photos. I haven't been to Paris since 1994. Clearly, I must plan a trip soon! It's a wonderful city. It appears you had an awesome vacation!

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Thanks for posting all of these great pics SuperDave! Especially from Paris! Love the one of Notre Dame lit up at night. So cool!!! Your Paris pics brought back great memories of when my husband and I were in Paris last summer. We even have one of those locks on the Pont des Arts bridge near the Louve. The story behind the locks is you write your names (you and your love) on the lock, lock it on the bridge, then throw the key in the Seine as a symbol of your undying love. And I had the best meal of my life in the Marais at of all places an Italian restaurant, Caruso Ristorante. I'll remember that meal until the day I die. It was 4 cheese gnocchi and it was the most sinful decadent dish ever. I swear I had a "When Harry Met Sally" moment.

You asked about the green sphere statue.......I believe that is the statue in the middle of Place Vendome, called appropriately the Vendome Column. I could be wrong though.......

Looks like you had a great trip with lots of great pictures. Definitely gives me a case of wanderlust.

Edited:

Ahhhh! Missed Strider's post about the Place Vendome Column......at least I got it right......thanks Strider.

Thanks for the nice comments about my trip JAW and Gigi too. There are plenty more to come, so check in once in a while. Will be doing most of the work on weekends as easier.

That's a different Notre Dame. The one lit up is in Reims in the pics. And those are images projected on the church.

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Tuesday, 7 May (continued)

Well we left Verdun at around 1:30, I'm guessing for the Alsace region and our next stop in the lovely town of Colmar. Made one of our frequent stops at one of these highway rest stops. They're usually pretty good as they have bathrooms (important!), a convenience type store and sometimes a small type of cafe. Most of these I would grab an expresso. Some they make there and others from an automated machine, which were half way decent. Better than I thought, but not like from a true expresso maker. Usually these stops were around 20 minutes. Good to get off the bus after being on there a while.

At around 4 pm it was off to Colmar! Saw quite a number of farms and vineyards on the way to Colmar as this is the Alsace area and famous for Alsatian white wines like Riesling and others. Will get more into that on a visit to a Altatian winery, later in this Colmar portion. There was quite a bit of bus travel today and would be the most on the entire tour. Probably close to five hours today. The breaks help!

We arrived in Colmar at around 5:45 pm. Staying at Hotel Le Rapp, which is centrally located and has quite a good restaurant there. My room is on the second floor and had an interesting lighting system there. You turn on the lights for the whole hallway by a simple on/off switch. The only problem is that when you get off the elevator and the hallway is dark it can be hard to find these. It would stay lit for a couple of minutes so you can get to your room. Making things energy efficient I guess.

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Hotel Le Rapp in Colmar

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Hotel Le Rapp with small outdoor dining area or for a drink

Dinner tonight, would be with our group in the hotel's restaurant at 7:30. Had a bit of free time before dinner, so I took a little walk around town to become a bit familiar with it.

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Street outside my hotel

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Love photos like this late in the day. Many narrow cobblestone streets in France like this.

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Got back to the hotel around 6:45 and a few people in my tour group were hanging out in the lobby/lounge area having some wine. Nothing wrong with that before dinner, so I decided as well. Had a couple glasses of local wines with those being a Riesling and a Pinot Noir. The Pinot was good but I really enjoyed the Riesling. Our director Toni was here and suggested a "Happy Hour" before dinner tomorrow night. All thought that was a good idea! :yesnod: Had some comfy lounge chairs and didn't want to get up for dinner, but managed some how. Just talking with everone and getting to know each other a bit better.

One good thing about staying in family run hotels is you can get quite close with members of the owners' family.

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So well behaved!

Edited by SuperDave
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Love reading about your travels Dave!

Just curious- how fluent are you in French & do you have to be reasonably so to take one of these tours?

Not much at all. I did take two years of French back in my school days, but when you don't use it regularly you forget most of it. Still comes in handy as I still remember quite a bit. Not like Spanish which I use more often in the US as that makes sense. They did give us a French basics phrase book and came most usefull in restaurants with food terminology etc. I'm actually quite good with that stuff.

And you don't have to be proficient in French to take one of these tours. Not these tours, but some of the mass marketed ones, I wouldn't be surprised if some didn't know (who were taking one of these tours) knew where France is located. To some degree you get these types on these tours. The so called ugly Americans. Definitely, not on the tour I took. All were well versed in travel and experienced in this regard.

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Dave, just got caught up on this thread and the photos are great. Very enjoyable to share the adventure with you. You could probably be a Sommelier by now:-) :D

Looking forward to the rest. :peace:

Thanks Deb. It's a lot of work to do this, but well worth it. Only five days into my 15 days and plenty more to come. Robert said it best as "Little By Little."

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It was off to dinner now in the hotel. The restaurant looked quite nice and not your typical hotel eatery. Sort of upscale. It was a set menu tonight, but that was fine as it was local Alsatian specialties. Everyone at aour table had wine and I went with a Pinot Blanc. Started out with plenty of bread as usual. Appetizer was large stalks of fresh white asparagus with two sauces (hollandaise and a taragon vinaigrette with a small salad. This is very popular this time of year in this region as well as in Germany. Main course was Baeckaoffa, which is a veal, beef and pork stew with a white wine sauce with potatoes. It was quite good. Dessert was fresh strawberries, with vanilla ice cream and a raspberry sorbet. All quite good. Not usually, much into different stews, but I did enjoy this one.

Walked into town a bit for a while and stopped at a cafe for an expresso. It was a long day with all the bus travel, so returned to my hotel by around 10:30 or so.

Tomorrow will be day 6 of 15 on my France trip! Covered so much so far and quite ways to go!

Edited by SuperDave
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Top-notch as always, Dave. Evocative photos of a country I will always have fond memory of. What a trip you had!

Love reading about your travels Dave!

Just curious- how fluent are you in French & do you have to be reasonably so to take one of these tours?

I barely could 'parlez-vous Français' when I was in France and still had the time of my life. I found that, contrary to expectations and stereotypes, the French as a whole were very helpful despite my clumsy mangling of their language and were more than willing to speak English. I think the mere act of me attempting to speak their tongue caused them to take pity on me...it also saved time if we were able to converse in English. Also, I always try to exude a friendly vibe and I find that people generally respond in kind.

Granted, my time in France was quite a bit before Dave's, but I'm sure the country hasn't changed that much. I think you'll be fine over there, Stargroves Tangie, no matter what level your abilities with the French tongue.

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Top-notch as always, Dave. Evocative photos of a country I will always have fond memory of. What a trip you had!

I barely could 'parlez-vous Français' when I was in France and still had the time of my life. I found that, contrary to expectations and stereotypes, the French as a whole were very helpful despite my clumsy mangling of their language and were more than willing to speak English. I think the mere act of me attempting to speak their tongue caused them to take pity on me...it also saved time if we were able to converse in English. Also, I always try to exude a friendly vibe and I find that people generally respond in kind.

Granted, my time in France was quite a bit before Dave's, but I'm sure the country hasn't changed that much. I think you'll be fine over there, Stargroves Tangie, no matter what level your abilities with the French tongue.

Agreed Strider. Being polite and making an attempt as best you can to speak one's language as their guest is usually welcome. Always speak slowly and clearly when trying to converse in a foreign language you're not 100% proficient in. This is the key and you should be fine.

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Wednesday, 8 May

Well here we are and day 6 of my trip. This is day 2 of 3 in Colmar. It's such a beautiful town with the Alsatian/German influence in the architecture. Quite striking, I'd say. Perhaps, the most beautiful town I'd visit in my two weeks in France, although Provence has it too, but that will be later on.

Breakfast was pretty standard with coffee, juice yogurt and a croissant. That's the way they do it here. If you want something more like an American or English breakfast, you'd probably have to stay in an American or British owned hotel. Doesn't bother me as this does me just fine.

At 9 am we were off on our walking tour of Colmar with a local guide. I think this along with a museum visit afterwards lasted about three hours. Our guide was good, but at times I almost felt she wanted to just get it over with as she had better things to do.

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Typical street in Colmar

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Love the sound, that is made when the autos travel on these cobblestone streets

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Pretty cool Bavarian style of these buildings

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Statue in Colmar, forget what it is. Not the best of photos with autos in the background and work being done on the building's facade

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Next we visited, what probably was my favorite part of this walking tour and Colmar. It is a part of town that is aptly named Petite Venise. Very beautiful and you can see what makes it so attractive in the photos below with the canals and style of architecture that would remind you of Venice. Although there is some of the German style in this area too.

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Nice refection in the canal!

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They even have gondola cruises here too.

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Couple of gondolas. Just for personal use as they're pretty basic.

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One of the many restaurants that line the Petite Venise canal. Would be where I'd have dinner tonight and more about it later.

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Not only is there a big influence from Germany in this Alsatian town on the architecture but also with the wine, cuisine and culture.

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A variety of sausages and meats in a local store with French and Alsatian varieties

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Love this building, but too bad I left that car in the photo.

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I think this may be some sort of government office.

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Back to Petite Venise again.

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Small square in town and of course with a cafe!

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The photo below is definitely for the tourists, but it certainly has some appeal to it. I didn't take a ride. Wasn't too expensive either.

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Always love the small town shops like this. Fantastic window display and quite appealing. Definitely attracts your attention, which is the idea.

As with most European towns, it seems there is always a grand cathedral to be found and Colmar has theirs with Saint Dominican Cathedrale.

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Not sure what year this dates to, but may be around the 1500's.

One thing I learned was that this region has it's animal symbol to represent not only this town, but the Alsatian region as well. It is the stork and would be like what the lion is to Venice, Italy. Many of the tourist shops have quite a variety of merchandise representing the stork.

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This was up about 50 feet or so and surprised how well it came out. Nice to have a good zoom lens!

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Well our walking tour was over at the Unterlinden Museum. I think I recall there being a museum of the same name when I was in Berlin years ago. Definitely, a boulevard named that in Berlin as well. We visited the museum on our own and I spent about an hour or so there. It is probably most known for Matthias Grunewald's Isenheim Altarpiece. Lot of different paintings and mosaics in the museum representing Christ and biblical times as well as many Alsatian artifacts.

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Kind of liked this one.

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Outside of Unterlinden Museum of Colmar

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