When I was a child, I was living more North. But my mother always loved the colorful villages between Obernai and Eguisheim and several times per year parents and children were crushing into the little car for a nice day trip. Later, when I was a student in Strasbourg, the villages along the wine route and especially Riquewihr were on the top of my list for weekend escapes. At that time I could hardly guess that years later I would have the opportunity to undertake in Riquewihr all that exciting heritage renovation works …

Arriving by the Alsace wine route. The first glimpse you get is Riquewihr nested in a small valley at the foot of the Vosges mountains
Arriving by the Alsace wine route. The first glimpse you get is Riquewihr nested in a small valley at the foot of the Vosges mountains …

Riquewihr in Alsace, a fairy tale medieval city between mountain and vineyards

The OLD WINERY, LUXURY HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION facing the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr - Autumn
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The narrow Rue des Remparts in Riquewihr.
The narrow and picturesque Rue des Remparts in Riquewihr.
Riquewihr seen from the famous Schoenenbourg vineyard in September …
Riquewihr seen from the famous Schoenenbourg vineyard in September …

I found some quotations about Riquewihr from more famous travelers than myself.
Here they are.

Riquewihr main street
«Riquewihr is certainly the object of an enchantment which lasts for centuries. Its layout and structure have not changed since the Middle Ages, and every piece of architecture is miraculously preserved … Wine is everywhere and everything in Riquewihr and may be the cause of the enchantment.»
George Kassianos, wine expert Cyprus.
Riquewihr, a side street in December
«Within the town’s well-preserved walls, are tight alleys and uneven streets void of cars, with the exception of the few natives’ vehicles, town’s people who live in charming half-timbered homes, each one a different hue of the rainbow. Yes colorful dwellings not just the typical off white plaster straw and dark beamed homes of European medieval villages one sees on TV. Riquewihr‘s homes and stores range in light shades of baby blue, pale yellow, mauve, faded turquoise and light green.»
Michael J. Meese
Guided tour in Riquewihr
Guided tour in Riquewihr. «Alsace is in eastern France on the Rhine River border with Germany. It is unquestionably spectacularly beautiful. A very special combination of history, culture, scenery, and especially food and wine makes it one of the most delightful places to visit in all of Europe.» – John Egan.

The colourful main street of Riquewihr, a glimpse of typical Alsace

The fame of the village of Riquewihr is mainly due to its vineyards which – since the end of the Middle Ages – are producing some of the best and most famous white wines in the world…
The tall Dolder tower at the top of Riquewihr's main street.
The tall Dolder tower built in 1291 at the top of Riquewihr’s main street.
Park your car and forget about it! The main street (rue du Général-de-Gaulle) crosses the village and will offer you a festival of gorgeous medieval houses. No, this is not a Walt Disney movie scenery! It is just reality! Left and right, smaller streets will attract you for even more surprises. Step by step you will walk uphill until you will reach the impressive Dolder tower (built in 1291) and the picturesque ‘rue des Remparts’. Riquewihr, while being only a village with 1300 inhabitants, is the third city in Alsace for the number of National Heritage buildings (48), just after the large cities of Strasbourg and Colmar! This is the reason why Riquewihr is so popular worldwide.
Riquewihr upper fortified gate
Riquewihr upper fortified gate. The portcullis closing the drawbridge is the oldest in Europe.

Walks through the little side streets of Riquewihr

On each side of the main street of Riquewihr, there are quite a number of beautiful hidden little streets. The “day trippers” who are in a hurry hardly explore this part of the village. But if you are an adept of Slow Travel in Alsace and while staying in one of our holiday homes in Riquewihr, this part of the village will offer you a lot of interesting discoveries. Take some time to leave the main street beaten track and discover the hidden and secluded streets of Riquewihr. Lift your eyes and you will see so many wonderful architectural details…

Guided tour through the narrow streets of Riquewihr.
Guided tour through the narrow streets of Riquewihr: a good idea to discover a lot of hidden treasures.

Indeed there is more to do in Riquewihr than rushing with the tourist crowds in the main street! Open your eyes, look at the details on the old houses. Explore the side streets. And at the end of the afternoon, when the tourists of the day are gone, you will have Riquewihr for yourself. A very privileged feeling indeed. You will probably need a week or so to discover the main attractions within walking distance or with the local bus.

Riquewihr, rue des Remparts
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Hiking along the wine trails surrounding Riquewihr

Zellenberg, neighbour village to Riquewihr
Zellenberg, a close neighbour village, seen at sunrise from the Schoenenbourg vineyard in Riquewihr.

Visitors can easily explore the heart of the vineyards of Riquewihr and the nearby villages like Hunawihr, Zellenberg, Beblenheim or Kientzheim. You will walk along numerous vineyard paths, or wine trails, leading to the crest of each slope, where signs explain the work of the winegrowers and the diversity of the grape varieties grown. There are several of these wine trails around Riquewihr, winding their way through the heart of the vines and the picturesque landscapes.

For a two-hour walk, at most, each wine trail offers a view of the local colours and flavors, as well as a connection with the personalities of the growers that bring them to life. The tourist office in Riquewihr carries the detailed maps of the wine trails / paths around Riquewihr.

Wine tasting in Riquewihr

Historical shop sign at Hugel wine estate in Riquewihr
Historical shop sign at Hugel wine estate in Riquewihr
For centuries, Riquewihr made some of the most beautiful wines of Alsace and the world. The area between Colmar and Sélestat enjoys some of the lowest rainfall in France (just 400-500mm or 16-20 inches per year) and Riquewihr is right in the middle of the driest area.
Many good and even very famous winemakers are in our village Riquewihr and in the villages around Riquewihr. There are some important wineries but most of them are small family run estates. The bigger estates are running wine shops in the village where you may step in at any time during the day. In the small family estates, the winemaker himself or his wife will let you taste their wines. Unless you are a very big buyer / client, there is no real need to book a long time in advance. Just phone the day before. The weather and the work in the vineyard come first anyway. This means that even if you had an appointment a long time ahead, it might not work when the day comes because of the vineyard needing urgent care.
Historical cellar of Maison Zimmer in Riquewihr
Historical cellar of Maison Zimmer in Riquewihr. Open all year round. Excellent wines.

What is the best season to visit Riquewihr?

Winter is the season for the wine lover

Yes, I know, the weather might be cold. Alsace is neither Florida nor the French Riviera. In Winter, the winemaker has got more time for you to let you taste the wonderful wines of his cellar and introduce you to the mysteries of the wines from Alsace. The restaurants, inns and taverns that are open in winter are those frequented by Alsatians themselves, a guarantee of quality and authenticity. In winter, the treasures of medieval architecture, the picturesque streets of Riquewihr, the crown jewels of the museums in Colmar belong to those who know how to choose a different approach for their stay in Alsace.
Here are some more ideas for your stay in Winter.
Winter hiking in the vineyards around Riquewihr.
Winter hiking in the vineyards around Riquewihr. When there is snow (not all the time), the landscape is magnificent.

Spring – time for the vineyards to get ready for the new season

Spring is the season of trees in blossom. End of April the vegetation is exploding: it is a festival of flowers and leaves everywhere! The asparagus tips show their nose. The activities also start again: flower festivals, flea markets and local products … The terraces in the main street of Riquewihr are taken by storm when the sun shines. In the spring, the weather lends itself to hiking: the temperature is pleasant without being too warm.
Spring in Riquewihr, Alsace
Spring in Riquewihr, Alsace. The season when trees are in blossom. A wonderful time to visit Alsace.

Summer – The winegrower is anxious about the weather …

The winemaker is watching the sky and the vineyards. Is the weather too dry or to cold and humid? The weather has also an important and direct impact on the vineyards and the riping grapes. While the tourists are happy when the weather is warm and sunny, Summer can be a stressful season for the winegrower.
Summer days in Riquewihr
Summer days in Riquewihr …

Autumn and grape harvesting in Riquewihr

September (sometimes as early as end of August) and October are the season for grape harvesting. Then there is a very special atmosphere in the village. The winegrowers and their people are busy with taking in the grapes. End of September it is usually possible to taste the new wine. The “neuwe sisser” (which means the “new sweet” in the local Alsatian language) is actually a kind of sweet grape juice with low alcohol. The sugar of the grapes did not yet turn into alcohol completely. This “neuwe sisser” is a nice aperitive with wallnuts which can only be tasted locally since the new wine cannot be bottled since the fermentation is still going on.
Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill.
Grape harvesting in Riquewihr on the Schoenenbourg hill. Domaine Marcel Deiss.

Joseph Ward, an American wine specialist writing in the Washington Post said: “Alsace is a region apart. German in appearance and character but French in spirit and fact, it has captured the best of both”.

Finally, the year summed up in some sentences:

Practical hints & tips

As you may imagine, Riquewihr is a successful tourist destination in Alsace, France. But most of the tourists are only coming to Riquewihr for the day. At 6 o’clock in the evening, most of the visitors are gone and this beautiful village will be yours until late in the morning of the next day. The next pictures below are taken at approx 9:30 am… And finally, there is hardly any car traffic allowed in the narrow and picturesque streets of the historical village of Riquewihr. This means that your vacation rental apartment is in a priviledged place.

Riquewihr main street at 08:30 am in September
Riquewihr main street at 08:30 am in mid-September

Although in a very preserved area, Riquewihr is only 7 miles from Colmar and minutes from other famous alsatian villages like Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr, Eguisheim or Kaysersberg.
Simply walk out of your holiday apartment and go for beautiful walks in the forest and mountain or through some of the most famous vineyards in Alsace, the choice is yours!

Riquewihr, your headquarters to explore Alsace and the Upper Rhine valley

In Riquewihr, Alsace, this old winery built in 1580 facing the famous Schoenenbourg vineyard is now converted into outstanding holiday apartments.
In Riquewihr, Alsace, this old winery built in 1580 and facing the famous Schoenenbourg vineyard is now converted into outstanding holiday apartments.
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From the small studio to the large luxury apartment, the “Remparts de Riquewihr” is a collection of 14 charming holiday gites superbly located in one of the most beautiful villages of France.
Jewel on the Alsace wine route Riquewihr will be your headquarters to discover all the Alsace, the Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.
Click to visit our holiday apartments