Riquewihr is a village in the east of France, quite near the German border and according to Wikipedia is officially one of the most beautiful villages in France.
When organising to stay with my brother and his family at Malsburg-Marzel, we left all the planning to him. I figured he knew far better of what to see in his local area than I did, and Riquewihr was at the top of his list.
It was around 90 minutes from Malsburg-Marzel to Riquewihr, and our first real taste of driving on French Highways, whose speed limits go up to 130km/h.
Parking at Riquewihr
There is a large parking lot outside the village walls. When we arrived, it was already full so we waited until some spots opened up.
The cost was a couple of Euro per hour for parking.
Be aware that many Winnebago type buses take up a lot of space in the parking areas of the tourist towns in these parts…
Riquewihr weekly market
When we arrived, there was a market on, with locals selling everything from cheese to ice cream as well as clothes and souvenirs. A large section of fresh fruit and vegetables were also on display, giving the impression that this was actually a market for locals to do their shopping, as well as for tourists like us to marvel at the authentic fromager.
The town of Riquewihr is beautiful, with entry to the old town through a series of old town gates in the large clock and watch towers.
My brother and I read A LOT of Asterix and Obelix books when we were kids, and we both remarked that we felt like we could have been walking through the wares of Unhygienix the fishmonger, Fulliautomatix the ironmonger or Metallurgix the sickle maker. I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d seen Chief Vitalstatistix being carried along by his shield-bearers.
On the day we went (6 May 2016), it was incredibly crowded. My brother noted that they’d been to a few of these original French villages over the previous year or so, and had not seen any with quite so much bustle as we saw here today. The weather was clear and warm, and almost too hot!
We wandered about and got some gelato (Clarrie’s second round after Venice a few weeks ago) before we decided leave my brother and his wife to explore the town further. We found some quiet cobbled back alleyways for Clarrie to practice his newfound walking skills.
Riquewihr with a toddler
Unfortunately, we didn’t get as much out of the day as we could have, mainly due to the tiring day yesterday in driving up to Malsburg from Switzerland.
One massive lesson to be learned is that when traveling with a toddler, you absolutely need to have rest days in between travel days. Spending the majority of a day in the car, and then doing it again the following day is not going to enhance your travel experience.
This is a lesson that I started to cotton on to while we were in Switzerland, but our Riquewihr experience has cemented it for me. I think we all would have gotten a lot more from this wonderful French village had we waited another day before trying to conquer it. We (I) will know better for next time.
Parenthood is certainly a stage of life full of lessons that sometimes take a long time to learn….