Alsace, Historic Villages, France
Turckheim is a village located in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France, west of Colmar on the eastern slopes of the Vosges mountains.
Turckheim is well known for its Gewurtztraminer wines and Alsatian cuisine as well as its stunning scenery.
In terms of the village structure itself, it's well known for its surrounding medieval wall. The wall has three doors: The Munster Door, opening into the Munster Valley; The Door of the Brand, which begins the Route des Vins; and the Door of France, through which is the railway station and roads to Colmar. The three portals really make Turckheim distinct from the majority of Alsatian towns.
Another attraction of Turckheim is the Night Watchman. The traditionally dressed Turckheim native, cloaked in black and carrying a halberd (15th/16th century weapon) and lamp makes the rounds at 10pm each night from May to October. As he strolls the protected city, he sings a number of Alsatian favourites, often accompanied by tourists attempting to join in.
Surrounding the village are the stunning soft green hills of the Vosges, topped by castles and fortifications which can be ventured to on foot or by bike. Turckheim also lies amid some dramatic and colourful vineyards, which produce the regions famous white wines.
In spite of five centuries of war between France and Germany, Alsace is home to a large number of historic villages, churches and castles. Some of the prettiest villages in the region which you can visit during your independent walking holiday are Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and Eguisheim. One of the oldest concentric villages in France, Eguisheim centred around its 8th century fort, has hardly changed in the last five centuries. The village was first fortified in 1257 and narrow alleyways, built in the 16th century, wind in circles with large stone ramparts and give Eguisheim a unique character and charm. There is a lovely small square in front of the castle and church in the middle of this wine-making centre. The Grand Rue leads from it and is lined with multi-coloured half-timbered houses.
The Alsace is famous for the pretty half-timbered houses that fill its towns and villages. This type of construction is common in adjacent parts of Germany and can be seen in other areas of France, but their particular abundance in Alsace is due in part to the availability of timber from the Vosges forest and the rapidity with which wooden houses could be taken down and rebuilt in times of flood.
The Alsace is an ideal destination for French walking holidays during late spring and autumn. Alsace has a semi-continental climate with cold, dry winters and hot summers. The Vosges hills protect the Rhine Valley to the east, giving the region a dry and sunny micro-climate. For example Colmar is the 2nd driest city in France.
If you go on our independent walking holiday in Alsace you will have a culturally distinct experience from most other parts of France due its German links. Over recent centuries, Alsace has passed between the hands of France and Germany, after a period of independent rule. There is a strong bias towards German culinary traditions using plenty of Pork such as the well known dishes of sauerkraut (choucoute in French) and flammkveche or tarte flambée. 40% of adults still know how to speak Alsatian, the local dialect. However it is gradually dying out.
The French region of Alsace is a distinct region of France for a self-guided walking holiday, with an important cultural and historic heritage, picturesque countryside and fine wines.
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