ALSACE - BASEL

Ronchamp - Colmar - Ribeauvillé - Stradbourg - Basel

April 24 to May 7, 2020

A beautiful area of France with an interesting past having been switched between Germany and France 4 times in 75 years from the war of 1870 to the end of WWII.

Alsace has enchanting villages and some of the best white wines of the World.

It has also some great museums of arts, fascinating historical museums, beautiful architecture

and one of the greatest medieval cathedral, Notre-Dame-of-Strasbourg.

Next door is one of the best Swiss city, Basel, with some great art museums

and collections of Contemporary Arts. 

DAY 1 - Apri 24 - Friday - leave USA.

Everyone should arrive at the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Airport, that is the airport for a town in Switzerland (Basel), a town in France (Mulhouse) and a town in Germany (Freiburg). It is situated on French territory.

DAY 2 - April  25 - Saturday - RONCHAMP

From the airport we will go to Ronchamp to visit the extraordinary Notre-Dame-du-Haut Chapel by Le Corbusier. We will stay around there one night.  

DAY 3 - April 26 - Sunday - COLMAR

We will drive to Colmar through the area known as the Ballons d’Alsace, a series a small beautiful mountain that are rounded and not sharp like the Alps or those around Como, hence their names Balloons. On our way we will see some beautiful Alsatian villages too.

We will stay in Colmar for 3 nights.

DAY 4 - April 27 – Monday - COLMAR

Colmar is a beautiful city, with a great charm. Little canals and a great art museum as well as the house of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi who designed the Statue of Liberty.

There is also the Musee Unterlinden, a very interesting museum housed in a 13th-century Dominican religious sisters' convent and a 1906 former public baths building. It is home to the Isenheim Altarpiece sculpted and painted by, respectively, the Germans Nikolaus of Haguenau and Matthias Grünewald in 1512–1516. It is Grünewald's largest work, and is regarded as his masterpiece. It was painted for the Monastery of St. Anthony in Isenheim near Colmar, which specialized in hospital work. The Antonine monks of the monastery were noted for their care of plague sufferers as well as their treatment of skin diseases, such as ergotism. The image of the crucified Christ is pitted with plague-type sores, showing patients that Jesus understood and shared their afflictions. The veracity of the work's depictions of medical conditions was unusual in the history of European art.

The museum features a large collection of local and international artworks and manufactured artifacts from prehistorical to contemporary times. It is the museum most visited in Alsace.

We will also have a guided walking tour of Colmar.

DAY 5 - April 28 - Tuesday - COLMAR 

Colmar is on the Alsace Wine Road, which has without any doubts some of very best white Riesling and Gewürztraminer wines in the World. Even a little fuzzy one that Jacqueline will like as much as Prosecco

This morning we will pick up a Guide and Chauffeur and a

1957 Bentley S1  and a 1951 Citroen Traction Avant Familiale (the favorite car of gangsters because of its exceptional road handling),  and go along the Southern Wine Road to the Cave Cattin à Voegtlinshoffen, a very good winery, where we will taste 6 different wines while having a lunch of local products.   After, still following the wine route, we will stop to visit on foot, Eguisheim, ranked among the Most Beautiful Villages of France. Eguisheim is known for its propensity to give much importance to flowers, which are everywhere. Perfectly preserved, Eguisheim is thus one of the most beautiful medieval cities of the region. In the villages, there will be more opportunities to taste more wines. You can drive the car on the way to lunch and the wine tasting, on the return, we will be driven.

At around 16:45 we will be at the Cité de l'Automobile, the world largest car museum in the World to have a guide visit, and then at around 18:00, we will go back to Colmar after deciding if we want to have dinner in a small village or in Colmar.

Eguisheim

La Cité de l’Automobile in Mulhouse. In the huge 170,000 sqft hall, lit by 800 lamp posts identical to those on the Alexandre III bridge in Paris, 243 cars that have marked their era tell the story of the motorcar from 1878 to the present day. In the Racing Cars area there are a two-seater Panhard-Levassor race car from 1908, a Mercedes W125 from 1937, a Maserati 250F from 1957 and a Lotus type 33 from 1963 and the famous Bugatti type 32 from 1923. There 123 classic Bugatti in the museum plus the last model the Bugatti-Veyron. But my favorite is the displays of 80 of the most beautiful cars from the 1930s in a midnight blue setting, with their chrome still glistening as new: Panhard-Levassor X26, the Delahaye 1935 to 1949; Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost from 1924; and the famous Bugatti Royales, including the Bugatti Royale Type 41 and the 1930 Coupe Napoleon which belonged to Ettore Bugatti. Even for people who do not like cars, it is an experience about the history of the automobile, but also a visual pleasure when looking at the Bugatti Royale.  

DAY 6 - April 29 - Wednesday - RIBEAUVILLE 

We will move to Ribeauvillé, a small town of almost 5,000 inhabitants with a strong historical heritage, as seen from the three castles now in ruins, built by the Ribeaupierre family, of which Ribeauvillé was the seat of the lordship. Castles that are in tune with other monuments or the remains of the ramparts.

 

From there we will go to visit some fabulous village while tasting their wines:

NEUF-BRISAC:  must-see, the city that was commissioned to Vauban by Louis XIV. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the pride of the region and more widely of the country. Member of the network of major sites of Vauban, Neuf-Brisach is remarkable at all levels but more particularly for its star-shaped fortifications, for its Arms Square, for the Vauban canal and the museum .. An Alsatian must. 

Sebastian Le Prestre de Vauban was an officer and a military engineer who perfected the defense of more than 150 strongholds and had

33 new ones built, including Neuf-Brisach.

There, the fortifications are Vauban's final work, he was 66 years old,  and the culmination of his 'Third System'. There are two lines of defense, an inner enceinte de sûreté, the bastion wall around the city, and an outer enceinte de combat, a system of concentric star-shaped earthworks. The curtain wall was largely octagonal, with each flank separated roughly into three and the outer bastion projecting slightly, so as to flank the centre of the walls. Each corner had a raised outwardly projecting pentagonal bastion tower, the highest points of the system. The outer earthworks were deep and occupied a greater area than the city itself. The inner walls were surrounded by tenailles before the centres of the curtain walls and counterguards before the bastions. In front of the centre of each curtain face was a large tetrahedral ravelin, those in front of the gateways also being topped by a reduit to the rear. Outside all of these earthworks was a covered way.

Neuf-Brisach_-_plan-relief_1706.jpg

RIQUEWIHR: With its origins dating back to Roman times, the medieval city of Riquewihr is renowned for its historical value and for the perfect state of conservation of its buildings and other monuments. With its typical narrow streets, this village, ranked among the most beautiful in France, serves as a jewel, in a region that definitely has a lot to offer.

KAYSERSBERG: A city that has largely earned its title of Favorite Village of the French in 2017, given all that can be found there is remarkable. The charming cobblestone alleyways, the finely adorned half-timbered houses, the Jean Ittel square, the Oberhof Chapel and the famous church of the Invention-of-the-Holy-Cross.  Lots contribute to the magic of the place, which is also the birthplace of the Nobel Peace Prize, Doctor Albert Schweitzer.

DAY 7 - April 30 - Thursday - RIBEAUVILLE

CHÂTEAU DU HAUT-KŒNIGSBOURG:  Located in the Vosges mountains just west of Sélestat, situated in a strategic area on a rocky spur overlooking the Upper Rhine Plain, it was used by successive powers from the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years' War when it was abandoned.

The ruins had been listed as a monument historique of the Second French Empire since 1862 and were purchased by the township of Sélestat (or Schlettstadt) three years later.

After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 to 1871 the region was incorporated into the German Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine, and in 1899 the citizens granted what was left of the castle to the German emperor Wilhelm II. Wilhelm wished to create a castle lauding the qualities of Alsace in the Middle Ages and more generally of German civilization stretching from Hohkönigsburg in the west to (likewise restored) Marienburg Castle in the east. He also hoped the restoration would reinforce the bond of Alsatians with Germany, as they had only recently been incorporated into the newly established German Empire. The management of the restoration of the fortifications was entrusted to the architect

Bodo Ebhardt, a proven expert on the reconstruction of medieval castles. Work proceeded from 1900 to 1908. On May 13, 1908, the restored Hohkönigsburg was inaugurated in the presence of the Emperor. In an elaborate re-enactment ceremony, a historic cortege entered the castle, under a torrential downpour.

Ebhart's aim was to rebuild it, as near as possible, as it was on the eve of the Thirty Years' War. He relied heavily on historical accounts but, occasionally lacking information, he had to improvise some parts of the stronghold. For example, the Keep tower is now reckoned to be about 14 metres too tall.

Wilhelm II, who regularly visited the construction site via a specially built train station in nearby Saint-Hippolyte, also encouraged certain modifications that emphasized a Romantic nostalgia for Germanic civilization. For example, the main dining hall has a higher roof than it did at the time, and links between the Hohenzollern family and the Habsburg rulers of the Holy Roman Empire are emphasized. The Emperor wanted to legitimize the House of Hohenzollern at the head of the Second Empire, and to assure himself as worthy heir of the Hohenstaufens and the Habsburgs.

After World War I, the French state confiscated the castle in accordance with the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.It has been listed since 1862 and classified since 1993 as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2007, ownership was transferred to the Bas-Rhin département.

For many years it was considered fashionable in France to sneer at the castle because of its links to the German emperor. Many considered it to be nothing more than a fairy tale castle similar to Neuschwanstein. However, in recent years many historians have established that, although it is not a completely accurate reconstruction, it is at least interesting for what it shows about Wilhelm II's romantic nationalist ideas of the past and the architect's work. Indeed, Bodo Ebhardt restored the castle following a close study of the remaining walls, archives and other fortified castles built at the same period. That is where a great movie by great movie director Jean Renoir (Grand son of painter Auguste Renoir) shot portions of his fabulous movie “The Grand Illusion.”

Back in Ribeauvillé for the night.

DAY 8 - May 1 - Friday - STRASBOURG

Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grand Est region of France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located at the border with Germany in the historic region of Alsace, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. 

Strasbourg is one of the de facto three main capitals of the European Union (alongside Brussels and Luxembourg), as it is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines most commonly known in French as "Pharmacopée Européenne" its European Audiovisual Observatory), the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union.

Strasbourg's historic city centre, the Grande Île (Grand Island), was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988, the first time such an honor was placed on an entire city centre. Strasbourg is immersed in Franco-German culture, and although violently disputed throughout history has been a cultural bridge between France and Germany for centuries, especially through the University of Strasbourg, currently the second-largest in France, and the coexistence of Catholic and Protestant culture

Guided visit of the city. 

  • The Musée archéologique presents a large display of regional findings from the first ages of man to the sixth century, focusing especially on the Roman and Celtic period.

  • The Musée alsacien is dedicated to traditional Alsatian daily life.

  • Le Vaisseau ("The vessel") is a science and technology centre, especially designed for children.

  • The Musée historique (historical museum) is dedicated to the tumultuous history of the city and displays many artifacts of the times, among which the 'Grüselhorn, the horn that was blown every evening at 10:00, during medieval times, to order the Jews out of the city.

  • The Musée vodou (Vodou museum) opened its doors in November 2013. Displaying a private collection of artefacts from Haiti, it is located in a former water tower (château d'eau) built in 1883 and classified as a Monument historique.

  • The Musée du barreau de Strasbourg (The Strasbourg bar association museum) is a museum dedicated to the work and the history of lawyers in the city.

DAY 9 - May 2 - Saturday - STRASBOURG

Must be at the Cathedral at 11 at the latest, to see the Astronomical Clock moving. Then visit of the cathedral, which was the tallest building in Europe until the 1870s.

Visit of an other part of Strasbourg and visit the Tomi Ungerer Museum, a ferocious and cynical illustrator and political satirist, who also illustrated children books. The museum is also the 1st museum in France about illustrations from the 20th Century, considered as a minor art form for too long.

DAY 10 - May 3 - Saturday - STRASBOURG 

The Petite France neighborhood is where we stay. This is the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg. Fishermen, millers and tanners once lived and worked in this part of town where the streets have been built level with the waterways.
The magnificent half-timbered houses date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Their sloping roofs open out onto lofts where hides were once dried.

DAY 11 - May 4 - Monday - BASEL

The city is known for its many internationally renowned museums, ranging from the Kunstmuseum, the first collection of art accessible to the public in Europe (1661) and the largest museum of art in the whole of Switzerland, to the Fondation Beyeler, plus the fantastic museum for all people with still a child inside them, the Museum Jean Tinguely designed by Italian architect Mario Botta.

Basel is a great city for lovers of Contemporary Art.

Basel  (French: Bâle) a city ion the river Rhine is Switzerland's third-most-populous city with about 180,000 inhabitants.

Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany. The initiative Trinational Eurodistrict Basel (TEB) of 62 suburban communes including municipalities in neighboring countries, counted 829,000 inhabitants in 2007.

The official language of Basel is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local Basel German dialect.

The University of Basel, Switzerland's oldest university (founded in 1460), and the city's centuries-long commitment to humanism, have made Basel a safe haven at times of political unrest in other parts of Europe for such notable people as Erasmus of Rotterdam, the Holbein familyFriedrich Nietzsche, and in the 20th century also Hermann Hesse and Karl Jaspers.  In 1897, Basel was chosen by Theodor Herzl as the location for the first World Zionist Congress, and altogether the congress has been held there ten times over a time span of 50 years, more than in any other location. 

In 2019 Basel, was ranked among the ten most liveable cities in the world by Mercer together with Zürich and Geneva.

We will visit the Vitra Factory and Campus in Weil am Rhein in Germany , about 5 miles from Basel.

Vitra is a manufacture of modern furniture and the re-editor of classic early 20th Century furniture.

They have the World's largest collection of Modern Furniture starting in the 19th Century with the bent chairs by the Thonet Brothers to today contemporary furniture, not necessarily only their own.

Their factory is covered with buildings designed by some of the biggest architects of our time. Seven of them received the highest prize for architecture, the Pritzker Architectural Prize.

Nicholas Grimshaw, 1981 & 1983, one the great British architects.

 

Frank Gehry, 1989, 2003. Frank Gehry's first building in Europe. 

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1989.

 

Tadao Ando, 1993 -  His first building outside Japan

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1995

 

Zaha Hadid, 1993 Her fire station at Vitra was her first ever building.

She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2004.

 

Álvaro Siza, 1994, 2014

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1992

Herzog & de Meuron, 2010, 2016 - 

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2014 

 

SANAA (Azuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa) 2012 - 

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 2010

 

Renzo Piano, 2013 -  

Pritzker Architectural Prize in 1998

 

Lots of modern works of arts are on the Vitra Campus:

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, 1984 great 20th C artists.

Elément de Cloche - 24 Stops: Tobias Rehberger, 2015 / 2016 - 

A German sculptor who design a 6 Km walkway between Vitra Factory/Campus and the Beyeler Fondation, connecting Germany and Switzerland

Blockhaus: Thomas Schütte, 2018 - German artist

Ring et Ruisseau: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, 2018 French industrial, architectural & furniture designers.

Geodesic Dome: Buckminster Fuller, 1975 

Gas Station: Jean Prouvé, ca. 1953 / 2003

Bus Stop: Jasper Morrison, 2006  English product & furniture designer

Vitra Tour-Toboggan: Carsten Höller, 2014  German artist

Airstream Kiosk,1968

Day 12 – May 5 - Tuesday – BASEL

The Fondation Beyeler is an extraordinary museum that has a fantastic collection of artists from the 20th and 21st Centuries. The building was design by Renzo Piano and the setting is embedded in the Berowerpark in the Basel suburb of Riehen. The building features a glazed façade largely looking out onto the corn fields and vines covering the Tüllinger Hills. The two perimeter walls of the original garden site inspired the idea of the museum’s layout. Four 350-feet-long supporting porphyry walls running from north to south and standing 22ft apart define the plan of the building. Resting on top of the solid foundation walls, the lightweight glass roof, white enamelled on the reverse, admits northern light but screens off light from the east and the west. 

Also a Walking guided tour of Basel.

 

Day 13 – May 6 - Wednesday – BASEL

A continuation of discovering that interesting city and its galleries,

including the Museum of Contemporary Art, which opened in 1980 as the first public museum in Europe exclusively dedicated to the production and practice of contemporary art from the 1960s to the present. And then, the Kunsthalle Basel, a place for innovative contemporary art exhibitions of an emerging generation of artists. Nicolas Krupp GmbH,  founded in autumn 2000 focuses on international contemporary artistsin a variety of media including painting, drawing, sculpture, objects, photography, video art, performance and and works in new media.

Day 14 – May 7 - Thursday – leave from Basel-Mulhouse-Freiberg Airport

INCLUDED IN THE TOUR:

  • 1 night in or near Ronchamp – 3 nights in Colmar

                2 nights in Ribeauville – 3 night in Strasbourg

                3 nights in Basel

                

  • 10 Dinners – 12 lunches – 12 breakfasts

  • All entrances to whatever we visit

  • Books and map

  • Guides’ fees

  • Pick-up and drop-off at Airport or Train Station

  • 9 seats mini-van

  • Accident & Medical Insurance

 

$6,155.00 per person in double occupancy

$ 550.00 Deposit per Participant