From Itterswiller we start our exploration tour through the heart of Alsace. First stop is wine town of Andlau.
Andlau is about 5 km from Itterswiller. A narrow road runs through the vineyards and fruit orchards. The village lies in a small valley and is thus not oriented at a thoroughfare. The mountain slopes of the Vosges rise behind the village.
We park the car outside an old town gate. At the corner of Rue du Mal Foch, we find the restaurant Le Caveau Gourmand, which we visit again in the evening. One can eat quite excellent here.
Through the Rue Dr. Stoltz, we reach the town hall. Here, too, there is rural peace, although it is the French election day.
From a distance, we have already seen the mighty church Abbatiale Saint Pierre Et Paul d’Andlau. We pay a short visit to the abbey. The abbey was founded in 880 by Empress Richardis. She was the wife of Emperor Charles III and was repudiated by him. Later, she was canonized.
Today her grave is a pilgrimage site. According to legend, a wild bear had shown her the place where she can find refuge. Therefore you can find several bear memorials in Andlau.
We are always amazed of how much imagination the people of Alsace are developing. It is not just the facades of the half-timbered houses. Solar ovens, ornamented entrance doors or garden jewelry from scrap metal are some of the special things that stand out.
About 2.5 km from Andlau is the village of Mittelbergheim. It is again built along a road. A cross-street gives the place the floor plan of a cross. This arrangement may be related to the fact that the place is dominated by vineyards. The courtyards need a lot of space for the various machines and equipment.
From the distance, we have already seen two churches and wondered since the place is not too big. One is a Roman Catholic, the other is a Protestant church.
Particularly interesting are the old wine presses. You still find 8 wood wine presses in Mittelbergheim. One belonged to the tithe court. Built in 1727, it replaced the older one from 1572.
We see an oil mill from the eighteenth century. In 1991, Paul Gerling a farm owner from Wilwisheim donated the oil mill to Mittelbergheim, on condition to preserve it.
Among the few still existing oil mills in the Alsace, this one is in a remarkable state of preservation.
Mittelbergheim is one of the most beautiful villages in the Grand Est region of France.
We continue our way to Mont Sainte-Odile, which is just 12 km away.
The 763 m high Mont Sainte-Odile is crowned by a monastery complex and a connected hotel, Hostellerie Du Mont Sainte-Odile.
Cliffs of colored sandstone run through the spacious woods. From a viewing terrace, one has a wonderful panoramic view of Strasbourg and the surrounding villages like Barr and Obernai.
An about 10 km long wall, the so-called Pagan Wall surrounds the complex.
One regarded it as a work of the Romans, but more recent age dating suggests that it dates back to the seventh and eighth centuries. Today one puzzle about the purpose of the wall.
Odile, a daughter of Adalrich, Duke of Alsace founded the convent in the 7th century. She was canonized and became the patron saint of the Alsace. Today the monastery serves as a place of pilgrimage.
In a rocky cave below the monastery is a spring. Its water is said to have a healing effect for eye diseases.
On the viewing terrace is a whimsical-looking sundial. It also indicates the Italian, the Babylonian and the time of some other regions of the earth.
In 1992, an airbus A320 of the airline Air-Inter crashed at the 826 m of high mountain peak La Bloss near Mont Sainte Odile. 87 lives were lost and 9 survived.
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