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We've made two journeys to Alsace in France. On this page you can read more about them. In the end there's a section about the stunning car museum in Mulhouse!

Quick links
Alsace 2000
Alsace 2004

Mulhouse

Alsace map
The red arrow points to Alsace, France

Alsace 2000

Alsace - what great wine they produce there! We simply had to go and examine them further. We set out for the small village of Riquewihr. From there, it's not far to Mulhouse with one of Europes finest car collections... It's 530 miles from Travemünde to Riquewihr, which took us 8 hours to drive. That included lunch and refill.

We found the small hotel S:t Nicholas in Riquewihr, where we booked a room for five nights. The hotel is located in the center of the small village. Only 400 people lives here, but when the tourists arrive that number multiply. Monsieur Schneider owns the hotel, and also an old house from 16th century. That house has now been restored, and is rent out to customers that wants something extra. We had asked to park our car in the hotel car park. Monsieur Schneider showed us there, and guess what we saw... He had a 1934 Peugeot, same model year as our Plymouth!


 


Riquewihr is a small town with very old houses. Here Gerd stands on the main road; Ru General de Gaulle.


In the spring, this is what the grapevine looks like.


While in Alsace you have to eat onion soup.


On the way down, we stayed one night in the German ciry of Lippholdshusen.


During our second visit in Alsace we got to see how the grapevines are cut.


Alsace; grapevine where ever you look.


Monsieur Schneider took us on a tour in the mountains in a 1948 Peugeot bus!


Getting ready to get into the old bus.


Monsieur Schneider showed us the modern wine production.


Local wine and local bread.


Storage of local cremant wine, similar to champagne.


A selection of wine from Zimmer in Riquewihr.


At the entrence to the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse this Bugatti Royale is put on display.


Not only Bugatti in the collection, this is a De Dion Bouton. Ever heard of that one before?


On top of the radiator stands an elephant! This is a Bugatti Royale coupé.


All blue Bugatti cars, this was the French racing colour.

   
The hotel owner had a 1934 Peugeot in mint condition!

Hotel S:t Nicholas in Riquewihr.


Riquewihr
We got to stay in the wing, where we had an appartment with two large rooms and a balcony. We sat there in the afternoon, and enjoyed the sun and a glas of wine.

In the center of Riquewihr you can find a number of wineries. Zimmer is located at Rue General de Gaulle and is well worth a visit. Across the street, in the basement you find Gustave. We drove around in the area every day. The landscape is very beautiful, with the
Vosges Mountains to the west. The roads are winding along the mountains.


Gerd looks at old barrels at the museum.

At the museum you can also look at this old press.


War memorials

The area is marked by centuries of war, not only world War II. Being the border between France and Germany means that many battles has been faught here. North of Riquewihr you will find the castle Haut Koenigsbourg. The castle was once a sentry on the western border of Germany. It was considerd impregnable, situated high up in the mountains. But in the end it was subdued by the Swedish army during the Thirty Year war! During 19th century, a German professor started to restore the castle. Today it's a tourist attraction, with a beautiful view of Alsace.

Wine and dine
Many tourists prefer to leave the car at the hotel and instead walk around in the mountains and into the small villages. It's not far between the villages, and you never need to be hungry or thirsty. There's always a wine yard or restaurant around the next bend.

The food is excellent, you should try the local specialties; Tarte flambee, as an example. Or the onion soup, or the onion pie... There's also choucrout, which is the French version of the German sauerkraut. But choucrout should be enjoyed with a glas of Alsace wine. If you visit Alsace in the spring, make sure you try out the fresh, white, asparagus!


The wine yards reach into the city.

In Riquewihr you can also find a shop full of Christmas decorations.


Alsace 2004

Alsace draw tourists and it's easy to understand why. As said before, the fields with grapevine surrounding the villages and then the Vosges Mountains in the background. And the small villages with restaurants and wineries.

In 2004 we decided to go back to Alsace once again, this time together with our good friends Birgitta and Ido Leden. This time we drove through Denmark. We had a stop for night in Lippoldshausen, just outside Fulda. The small village of Lippholdshausen is a few miles drive off the highway. The hotel where we stayed for the night was an old farmhouse turned into a modern hotel. As most of the time, pricing was very reasonable and the food was excellent. This is often the case when you stay in small villages in Germany, unlike the big cities where prices are frightful these days.

We planned the route on the Internet, so following the printed directions where easy. Back then we didn't have any GPS in the car. Of course we got halted by stau at some points, but that's something one have to count with driving across Germany. We saw one really bad accident at one of these, a car had gone off the road and into some trees. We couldn't even tell what kind of car it had been! Luckily the police and fire brigade were already there, so we just drove by the accident.

Return to S:t Nicholas
Eventually we got back to the small hotel in Riquewihr; S:t Nicholas and Monsieur Schneider. He welcome us back to Alsace and Riquewihr. The following days we visited a number of wineries and tried a number of great wines. We also bought some to bring back home to Sweden as well.

Monsieur Schneider was most helpful and offered to take us all four on a tour in the surrounding areas. It turned out that he had bought another vintage car to the hotel, or rather a small bus! It was a 1948 Peugeot. We first got to Kaysersberg, just south of Riquewihr. The village is known for its wine, and that Albert Schweizer was born there. We also visited the beautiful little church in the village center. We continued the tour, and after going up and down some mountains we suddenly had a stunning view over Riquewihr. Monsieur Schneider stopped there and pointed out some of the wine yards to us.

Oldest wine cooperative in France
We then drove donw the mountain side to the village Ribeauville. Here you can find the oldest wine cooperative in France. Monsieur Schneider is joint owner in th cooperative, and told us a lot about it. We got a guided tour and got to try some of the wines. Of course we bought a number of bottles to bring back home as well.

New hotel in old building
Monsieur Schneider then drove us back to Riquewihr. Once we got back, he asked if we wanted to take a look at his latest discovery. It turned out that he had bought an old house next to the hotel. The house was built in 15th century, and the plans were now to turn it into an exclusive hotel. Of course we wanted to take a closer look!

We entered the house, and felt transfered centuries back in time. The house had a court with an old well. We looked into some rooms, and could tell that there were potential for a really nice hotel. Time will tell if we will have the pleasure to stay there for some nights or not!

Mulhouse

For those that are the least interested in cars, Mulhouse is a must. If you visit Alsace, make sure to reserve one day and go visit the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse. Here you will find the largest car collection in Europe, with everything from most expensive to cheapest, fastest to slowest car.


Some rare and exclusive cars from germany can also be found in the collection. This is a Mercedes-Benz 500 K.

Another rare car is Farman. It has a 6 cylinder engine.


Gas lights from Paris
We first visited Mulhouse in 2000. Part of the interior are a number of old gas lights from Paris. The Schlumpf brothers quickly collected most of them, some 80 years ago. They collected a lot of things in a special building next to their factory. None but the brothers themself and a keeper were ever allowed to go in there. No one else had a clue what they kept in there.


Secret building
Finally time cought up with the textile industry in Alsace and the Schlumpf factory went bankrupt. All personel got unemployed. It was then time for liquidation and when the secret building was opened the Schlumpf collection got disclosed! A huge collection of old cars stod side by side. This was what had happened to the money that the company had made over the years. If instead the brothers had invested in new production methods, the production might had survived.

Of course all the people that had become unemployed went furious. Because of the owners interest in old cars, the company had gone out of business. However, police and even military units ensured that the collection was unharmed. Instead there was rally to save the collection, and making it into a tourist attraction. Today the Schlumpf collection in Mulhouse has more than 500 cars on display.


Supercharged Mercedes-Benz.

Minerva from Belgium.


Bugatti Royale

When you enter the museum you stumble across a magnificent car; Bugatti Royale. Probably the most exclusive car ever built. Only 12 were ever made, and a couple of the are displayed at the museum. Another Bugatti Royale was sold in London in 1987 for GBP 5.5 million! The cars were built with the intention that royal families would buy them, thus the name Royale.

There are a number of other rare cars on display, i.e. Farman, Hispano-Suiza and Voisin. Go to Mulhouse and visit this fantastic collection!

Latest update
2008-02-04

 
Bugatti and Mercedes-Benz side by side.

Yet another Bugatti.