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Guide to Bas-Rhin
Bas-Rhin (department 67) has a Gothic fairytale setting of cathedral spires, riverfronts and timbered houses. Tucked away in the north-eastern corner of France’s Alsace region, with Strasbourg as its capital, it has a more Germanic feel, than French.
The department's culture and architecture are a blend of the two great powers that regularly jostled for the territory throughout its long and intriguing history. The combination of influences makes for a culture and atmosphere as distinctive as any in France.
The people in Strasbourg are friendly and you will find medieval houses, great cathedrals, fine cooking and excellent local wines and beers. The people of the Alsace share the German penchant for beer. You can also enjoy sauerkraut and sausage, washed down with a crisp glass of Riesling. They are most definitely not German - but they do delight in the kaffee and kuchen culture.
Why you should visit Bas-Rhin for your next holiday in France
The world class natural reserve of the northern Vosges, with its deep forests, peaks of pink sandstone and numerous historic sites is an exciting place to arrive at in the Alsace department of Bas-Rhin. If you like a gentle stroll or a long hike the well marked paths in the middle region of the Vosges is a paradise for hikers. Discover forts or mystical remnants of celtic walls loaded with ancient legends.
Visit the capital of the Alsace, Strasbourg, where the Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic art. The strikingly picturesque quarter of Petite France has pretty restored medieval houses niched along the canals of the river l'Ill.
What to see and do in Bas-Rhin
As well as visiting the capital of Alsace, Strasbourg, Saverne is a delightful place to visit. It lies in the valley of Zorn at the foot of the Vosages, where the river runs into the Alsace Plain. It is an attractive and popular town with the Marne-Rhine canal running through its centre. Saverne is a place for boat lovers. This is because the canal also fills a marina, which can hold 70 boats at any one time. The famous towering Rohan Palace in the centre of town over looks the marina. Saverne is a small town but there are some fine old 17th century houses, notably the impressive Maison Katz, a world famous symbol of Alsatian architecture.
Another town to visit in the north of the department of Bas-Rhin is Wissembourg, it lies on the French / German border where its skyline is dominated by a number of charming spires and towers. The church of St Pierre and St Paul this has two enormous towers, which offer superb views over the surrounding countryside. Close to the church is a bridge over the river Lauter from which the Bruche Quarter, a higgledy-piggledy collection of medieval homes and workshops, can be seen.
If you like delightfully picturesque, pretty half timbered houses, flower decked balconies, corbelled balconies and oriel windows the villages of the Piémont are for you. In stark contrast the perched medieval ruins set on the mountain peaks near Niederbronn-les-Bains lend a dramatic aspect to the landscape. They are the two Châteaux of Wasenbourg, named Windsteins and Falkenstein, In 1870 terrible battles were waged here.in the Franco-Prussian war.
Last but not least a treasure is found in the little valley of the Ehn, 25 kilometres south west of Strasbourg the river opens out and a picture postcard town appears by the name of Obernai.
Nearby places to visit
- Freiburg - is surrounded by forests, it offers an outstanding setting which marvellously combines a leafy green environment with attractive urban planning.
- Basel - is situated in an area known as the "Three Borders Region" (France, Switzerland and Germany), the town of Basel is often considered as a leading cultural crossroads.
- Europa-Park - located around 50 km away from Strasbourg, Europa-Park is one of Europe's finest amusement parks.
- Laguna - is a water park located in Germany, a few kilometres away from Huningue. Those who enjoy fun in the water will definitely be in their element here, thanks to the many indoor and outdoor attractions.
How to get to Bas-Rhin
Alsace has two major international airports: Basel-Mulhouse airport in the Upper-Alsace and Strasbourg airport in the Lower-Alsace. Numerous national and international airlines offer daily services to and from the Alsatian airports.
For example to travel from London Heathrow, the journey would entail a 2 hour 10 mins flight to Paris, then an 65 mins flight from Paris to Strasbourg.
Eurostar has made the journey easy from London St Pancras International to Den Haag Hs in Strasbourg. To carry out this journey would take a 2 hours 6 mins Eurostar train trip from London St Pancras to Bruxelles Midi, a 50 mins wait in Bruxelles Midi. Then at 2 hours 4 mins journey by Thalys trains to Den Haag Hs in Strasbourg.
Wherever you're travelling from, getting to Bas-Rhin by car is simple.
From within France
- From Paris, the A4 will take you to Strasbourg, passing close to Châlons-en-Champagne and Metz.
- From northern France, take the A1 followed by the A26 as far as Reims. From there, you can take the A4 which will bring you to Strasbourg.
- From the west and the south-west, the quickest option is to travel to Paris via the A8 or the A11. You can then continue your journey via the A4.
- From the south, you should take the A7 as far as Lyon and then take the A42 and the A40 to Bourg-en-Bresse. Next, the A39 followed by the A36 will take you to Besançon where you should head for Mulhouse via the A35.