Alsace & 3 Frontières

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Alsace & 3 frontiers

The Université de Haute-Alsace is situated in the heart of the region. Since January 2016 Alsace has formed part of the Région Grand Est together with Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne, but Alsace maintains very much its own distinct cultural and historic identity with its traditions, landscapes, its environment and its past.


Countryside and Environment

Alsace is a veritable collection of unique spaces and places. Bordered on one side by the Rhine, and on the other by the Vosges, the Plain of Alsace is a succession of vines, fields and typical Alsace villages. The Vosges provides a number of mountains (Col de la Schlucht, Col du Bonhomme), lakes (Lac Blanc, Lac Noir, Lac Vert...), castles (Haut-Koenigsbourg, Hollansbourg, Trois-Châteaux) and many and varied tourist sites (Grand Ballon, the Markstein, Hohneck, Mont Sainte-Odile, Route des Vins, Route des Crêtes, Champs du Feu, Volerie des Aigles, Montagne des Singes etc.). In the Vosges there are also remembrance sites such as the hard-labour/concentration camps of Struthof and Schirmeck, the Linge battlefield and part of the Maginot Line.

The Plain of Alsace also plays host to a number of other tourist attractions : l’Ecomusée, Le Parc du Petit Prince and, of course, not forgetting all the Alsatian villages with their traditional houses (Eguisheim, Turckheim, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, etc.). But let’s stay with the three largest towns in Alsace : Colmar, Mulhouse and Strasbourg.






Strasbourg, the Capital of Alsace, but also the cradle of Europe has a population of some 800,000. It is a border town, a significant part of its centre being recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, with, most notably, the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Petite France Quartier. Strasbourg has become the symbol of reconciliation between France and Germany and of the conception of Europe around the European Parliament. But Strasbourg is also a city of culture with the National Theatre of Strasbourg, the National University Library and the National Opera of the Rhine. Strasbourg is also a student centre of considerable size with the University of Strasbourg, l’ENGEES, l’ENSAS, l’INSA etc. Finally, Strasbourg is particularly well served by public transport with a bus-tram system, a TGV station and its Strasbourg-Entzheim airport.


Culture and Traditions

But Alsace is so much more than landscapes and environments, it is also the home of a traditional and strongly-held culture. The Alsatian dialect is, for example, still very present in everyday family life.

Every year, in December, many villages hold their Christmas Markets on various scales. This is, effectively, the period of highest activity in the region’s tourism year. But traditional fêtes in Alsace are not confined to Christmas alone : there is also the Saint-Nicholas on the night of 5th to 6th December and the Saint-Jean on the 24th June.

Alsace is also full of folk-lore as evidenced by costumes, music and traditional dances which are to be found in villages and hamlets between houses of the timber-framed, traditional style.



Finally, to speak of gastronomy : Alsace has its own particular flavour to savour. The region is well known for its Choucroute, its beers and, above all, its wines. Alsatian breweries have produced no end of hop and barley based beers. The vines of Alsace also produce a considerable variety of strains of wine each year amongst which there are whites but also reds (Sylvaner, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinto, Blanc, Pinot Noir, Gewurtztraminer, Muscat).

Choucroute, with its base of white cabbage is served with classic Alsatian charcuterie : ham, smoked sausage, Viennese sausage and ‘knack’. Alsace is also well-known for its Baeckeoffe, white, creamy cheese (Bibeleskaes), Kougelhopf (traditional cake) and it’s Mannala and Bredala (for Saint-Nicholas’ Day and Christmas celebrations)….

Alcohol abuse is dangerous for one’s health and is to be consumed in moderation of course. For the sakes of one’s health one should avoid eating too much fat, sugar or salt.