Départements: Bas-Rhin (north), Haut-Rhin (south)
Principal cities: Strasbourg, Colmar, Mulhouse
Stretched along the Rhine River—the border of the Roman Empire established by Julius Caesar in the 1st century—Alsace is a unique region, known for the traditional half-timbered architecture of its pristine villages, the wonderful wines produced along its famous Wine Route and regional cuisine including choucroute, coq au Riesling and flammeküche, a flat bacon and onion tart cooked in a flaming wood oven. Eaux-de-vie—traditional clear, unsweetened fruit brandies—are synonymous with Alsace.
Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament, has a major port on the Rhine, while its medieval Old Town is an island between two branches of the river Ill, with a superb Gothic cathedral, excellent museums and the canal-laced quarter La Petite France. Colmar also has a canal district, La Petite Venise, and its Unterlinden museum houses one of Europe’s greatest works of Renaissance art, Matthias Grünewald’s Issenheim altarpiece. Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, Obernai, Eguisheim and the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg are among the many top stops on the Wine Route.