One of France’s most beautiful villages
Riquewihr is often dubbed the jewel of the Alsace vineyards and the locals have indeed been producing delicious Riesling wines here for centuries. The houses, often more suited to winegrowing than to the winegrowers themselves, now offer a pleasing and remarkable architectural picture of red sandstone, brick, half-timbered and painted facades, overhanging stories and flowered balconies. While some date back to the late 15th century and the Renaissance, most were built in the 17th century, yet they have all retained the decorative Germanic Renaissance features that are so characteristic of traditional Alsace villages. Somewhat miraculously, Riquewihr has emerged unscathed through wars and destruction. Its narrow streets, fortified walls and old houses have preserved their 16C splendour virtually intact, making for outsstanding architectural harmony. The town is decked in flowers all year long, particularly at Easter and Christmastime and this rich architectural heritage has ranked it one of France’s most beautiful villages.
Must sees in Riquewihr
Castle of the Dukes of Wurttemberg - Rebuilt in 1540 by Count George of Wurttemberg, he retained the mullioned windows, gabled facade crowned with a stag’s head and its tower staircase. The castle is home to the Alsace Museum of Communication that shows how our means of communication have evolved over the ages from the stagecoach and postal trunk to the telegraph, etc.
Hansi Museum - Watercolours, lithographs, advertising posters… Ideal to get better acquainted with the talented draftsman and caricaturist from Colmar, J.J. Waltz, aka Hansi. - Aquarelles, lithographies, affiches publicitaires… Pour tout connaître du talentueux dessinateur et caricaturiste colmarien J.-J. Waltz, dit Hansi.
Outstanding houses - Several houses stand out from the others: Liebrich House dating from 1535, with is picturesque wooden galleries around a courtyard, well dating from 1603 and giant press. Preiss-Zimmer House, which dates from 1686, boasts one of the town’s most ornate facades. Also keep a look out for KienerHouse, dating back to 1574, and Dissler House whose scrolled gables and loggia are fine examples of Germanic Renaissance (1610).
Thieves’ Tower Museum -This old defensive tower used to be a prison where you can now visit the torture chamber, prison cells and guard’s room.
Dolder -This former defensive gate, built in 1291, is now home to the Dolder Museum which relates local history.
Office de Tourisme du Pays de Ribeauvillé et Riquewihr en Alsace : http://www.ribeauville-riquewihr.com/