Since leaving Cornée de Réchicourt on Sunday morning, we’ve been making our way south following the Alsace Wine Route or Route des Vins d’Alsace, with just one stop at the very convenient and attractive aire at Niderviller, still on the Moselle department, right on the Port de Plaisance. We found this a bit pricey at €10 a night plus €2 electricity, but it did include toilets and showers, which operated by a swipe card, to be had for a further deposit of €20. We weren’t at all surprised to find mainly German motorhomes here, as we don’t think the French would pay this much for an aire. We were happy to pay, though, as we had already enjoyed a couple of free nights and a very cheap campsite at Givet previously. So we had a very relaxing day there, as we arrived by 10.30 am and even enjoyed a swim in the canal to cool off, for it has been very hot every day.
On Monday morning, we went back towards Sarrebourg to join the N4 east at junction 45 and then south on D1044 and D422 towards Molsheim and D35 to Obernai, where we stopped for the day at the Vallons d’Ehn municipal campsite to start our tour of Alsace, in the Bas Rhin Department. The campsite is very pleasant and with plenty of shade, very much needed this time of year, as well as the usual high standards of maintenance of grounds, shower blocks, etc. It also has a very convenient little shop and they sell fresh baguettes and croissants every morning without needing to order them the night before. There are also various take-away vans that supply the site on different days of the week, like pizzas or roast chicken. The very reasonable daily price of €18.60 also includes wife access, of which we made good use to update FB pages, etc.
The town of Obernai itself is another fairy-tale picturesque town, typical of the Alsace region, with its stunning timber-framed and pastel coloured houses, bursting with geranium window-boxes and original shop signs. Like in Kaysersberg last year, we fell in love with the place and decided to go out for a meal in the evening as a belated wedding anniversary treat. We opted for ‘Le Dime’ restaurant to enjoy a typical Alsace meal and very nice and hearty it was too! We started with an onion tart and green salad for myself and escargots (snails) for Adonis, followed by a beef, pork and lamb stew and a rib of pork respectively. We both struggled to finish our main courses, as the portions were very generous indeed. I reckon mine would have fed 2 people at least! So much so, that I could hardly manage any breakfast this morning and just had an apricot and a coffee.
We left the campsite just after 9 this morning and continued south on the sublime Route des Vins d’Alsace on the D422/1422 out of Obernai, past Sélestat and on to Ribeauvillé on the D1083 south of Sélestat, D42 and D1b. We were there for 10.30 am, so we went for a gentle stroll to admire yet another gorgeous town and where we bought 2 bottles of Alsace Gewürztraminer to enjoy later on. We didn’t really like the aire to stop for the day, so we continued on south west, past Kaysersberg on D415 and admiring the view every kilometer of the way. This is really stunningly beautiful countryside, with all the steep vineyards on the wooded hills and I kept taking pictures as we travelled along.
The road got a bit steep and windy by Col du Bonhomme (over 900 meters high), but eased up after Fraize on the same road. From there we went south on the D8 to Gérardmer, where we stopped for the rest of the day at the motorhome aire near the town centre and only a few minutes’ walk to the beautiful lake.
We enjoyed a couple of hours swimming and resting on the shore, as it’s been another scorcher of a day, so swimming and shade are a must.
The motorhome aire is €4 a night, but there is no electricity and there’s a €2 supplement for water. There are, however, free toilets that ‘clean’ themselves automatically after each use!
Tomorrow we’re heading further west to Corre, in the Haute Saone Department, where we are hoping to stop at the aire on the river leisure centre or Fluvial Loisirs.