Riquewihr is a small village located in France’s Alsace region. It lies amidst the lush banks of the Rhine River, along the border of eastern France and Germany. Though smaller than most other French getaway destinations, this village charms people with its tussled elegant outdoor spaces and unique medieval houses. It is noted for offering a blend of historical significance, aesthetic designs, cultural showcase, gorgeous natural scenery, and gustatory delights. In fact, Riquewihr is among the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France Association, which means “association of the most beautiful villages of France”.
The town of Riquewihr became an established settlement around the late 13th century through the efforts of the lords of the city of Horbourg. When the power of these leaders waned during the first quarter of the 14th century, all their position, including Riquewihr, was sold to the Wurtembergs, who held the village until the late 18th century. It was under the counts, then the dukes, of Wurtenburg’s ownership that the village underwent a rapid transition between religious beliefs—first with the arrival of Calvinism, then Zwingli, and then Lutheranism. It was also under their watch that the village attained much economic and political power through the sale of its wines, still a source of pride for the village up to the present. This era of unprecedented prosperity in Riquewihr lasted through most of the 16th and 17th century, cut short only by the Thirty Years’ War. It was annexed to France through the Treaty of Paris in 1796.
While Riquewihr has not quite achieved the same political power that it enjoyed three centuries ago, it still remains as one of the most beloved places in France, annually drawing millions of tourists to its well-preserved treasures. It is a key place from which to launch tours of the whole Alsace region, as well as of nearby regions of Germany and Switzerland.
Another inviting things about this village is that it invites visitors to take a slow stroll through its side streets while viewing buildings and establishments that seem to take visitors straight back to the sixteenth century. Riquewihr, after all, has the almost fifty buildings listed as National Heritage. Some of the must-see destinations in this village are the Dolder medieval tower, the Rue de Rampart. Rue du General-de-Gaulle and St. Nicholas Street. A museum about Alsace in World War II, with its La Salle de Torture, is a popular site to visit, as well as the Freland Forest in the northern part of the village.
Riquewihr is also home to some of the best spirits in the Alsace. Rooted in a 500-year-old tradition, its wine industry has perfected blends of white wines that are known internationally. Among these are the Riesling, Alsace Sporen and Alsace Schoenenburg. In fact, one of the strongest aspects of its tourism industry revolves around its vineyards, wine estates, wines, and food pairings. Throughout the year, Riquewihr’s vineyards offer various sights and activities, such as the freshness of the vineyards during spring, harvesting of grapes in summer, fall colors during autumn, and the Christmas celebrations in winter. Tourists who seek good wine can also visit some of the wine caves around the village, as well as the Gustave Jung Haec and Sons establishment.