Exploring the Alsace with kids

In our 2 years of travelling around Europe in our motorhome, we have spent the majority of that time exploring France. A quick look at our route maps for 2018 and 2019 will show you that we’ve travelled extensively around this beautiful and diverse country. However, there has been one part of France that I’ve long felt a pull to that we hadn’t been – the Alsace.

Located in the far east corner of France, where it meets Germany and Switzerland, the little I’ve known of it – storks and fairytale buildings – has called to me. A good friend of mine spent some time living in the Alsace and her list of recommendations continued to draw me in. So finally, when I’d decided to take this solo journey with with my two daughters, it became clear to me that it was the Alsace I was aiming to reach.

La Petite Venise, Colmar

After a lovely long weekend in Switzerland when Nick visited us, we made our way north into the Alsace. Our first day way challenging as we were in need of water for our motorhome tank, but every aire we went to (Hartmannswiller, Eguisheim, Kayserberg, and Trois-Épis) the water was turned off for the winter. After we hit a snow flurry in Trois-Épis, we headed to Munster, in the hope of water.

In hindsight, I am so pleased for all those water dead-ends, because it led us to Munster, a town which we thoroughly enjoyed and would definitely return to. I am going to write a separate post on Munster and the storks, because it deserves a space all of its own.

As we were staying in Munster, we visited a few other towns in the Alsace that I wanted to share. I’ll include all the practical details at the bottom of the post. Here’s some of the places and things we loved when visiting the Alsace:


Ribeauvillé was a place my friend had mentioned as a place to visit, but we ended up there one late afternoon unexpectedly. We had gone to the motorhome parking in Riquewihr, where we planned to stay the night, but due to the way the parking costs worked, I had an hour and a half to ‘do something’ before the night tariff started. So off we trundled to Ribeauvillé, thinking we’d have a quick snack and drive back to Riquewihr.

After parking we wandered into the main bit of the town, which was our first experience of those iconic fairytale Alsace buildings. All higgeldy-piggeldy, lots of timber framed buildings and in different colours. There are beautiful ornate signs that hang outside shops, and so many fun ancient details to be discovered if you just stop to look.

We just enjoyed wandering around the streets as dusk fell, stroking friendly cats and spotting interesting details on buildings. After scoping out the local cafes, we settled on one that had some very tasty looking beignets. For anyone not knowing, a beignet is a doughnut. I had no idea they were a ‘thing’ (along with Bretzels – no I haven’t mispelt it) in the Alsace – but was very pleased they were!

In our experience of tasting lots of beignets in our short visit to the Alsace, they are not all created equal. There are some that look like what I’d describe as they kind you’d find in a supermarket – kind of pale and pasty looking. Then there were those, which were a dark caramel colour, the kind that reminded me of the very best bakery made jam doughnuts I used to get as a child in the Cotswolds. They – in my opinion – were the ones to seek out.

The Boulangerie Pâtisserie Confiserie Vogel in Ribeauvillé had big platters of these beignets, and that’s why we went there. We had hot chocolate and beignets and warmed up. The beignets came either ‘nature’ (natural, no filling) or with fillings such a raspberry jam, or ‘quetsche’, which I believe is damson jam.


Riquewihr is another of the ‘must visit’ towns of the Alsace, and I can appreciate why after visiting myself. We stayed in the motorhome car park outside the old part, and walked in on a Friday morning before anyone else had arrived. Our stay in the car park hadn’t prepared us for what we’d discover through the arch entrance to the old town.

Cobbled streets, tiny alleys, and timber-framed buildings of every kind, all painted in glorious rainbow shades. Yes, a lot of the shops are catering to the tourist trade, but for me it really didn’t detract from the beauty of this place. It hardly feels real, almost more like you’re on a film set. But knowing that it’s a genuine old town created this way makes it feel very special.

We walked all the way up to the top, and out the other side of the old walls to discover a playground. On the way up we stopped for breakfast in a cafe – obviously this consisted of more hot chocolate and pastries. Like many French bakeries and patisseries, they also made chocolate creations, and this one had lovely chocolate storks!


I hadn’t planned to visit Colmar, as it’s a bit large for the kind of place I’d ordinarily go with two kids on my own. But I had been wanting to eat flammekueche in the Alsace, and hadn’t yet had one. (Flammekueche is a kind of cross between a pizza and a very thin tart, topped traditionally with creme fraiche or sour cream, onions and lardons). My friend said I needed to head to Petite Venise in Colmar and eat flammekueche down by the river.

A place that seemed to come highly recommended was called the Fleur de Sel, so the day we left Munster we headed into Colmar in search of flammekueche. After a short walk from our parking place we were greeted by more of the beautiful and quirky old Alsace architecture. Then we were on a pretty bridge and it was like we were back in Venice!

Unfortunately the Fleur de Sel was closed, and we went wandering around the old town in search of somewhere else to eat flammekeuche. We did find a busy cafe that sold flammekeuche, which had a lovely atmosphere with it’s wood panelling, but the flammekeuche wasn’t anything worth writing about.

On the streets in Colmar we kept spotting these brass triangles with the Statue of Liberty engraved into them. A quick internet search told me that the man who created the Statue of Liberty was born in Colmar – hence these metal plates on the streets. There is also a mini Statue of Liberty to be found on the middle of a busy roundabout on the way in/out of Colmar – we drove past it out of curiosity.

We finished our brief outing in Colmar with a play in the playground, and a ride on the beautiful carousel that’s also situated in the park.


I didn’t have any expectations of Rosheim, as I’d only chosen it as a good stop off point on our journey north into Germany, but it turned out to be quite charming.

Again, where the motorhome parking was, we didn’t have any idea what the old town was like. Motorhomes aren’t allowed through the middle, so all we’d seen were these striking tower entrances, with an archway through which the road ran. On our walk in through the backstreets, we discovered more beautiful old details – carvings in stone on buildings and painted shutters, even a wooden clog on the home of a clog maker!

The central road that runs through the old town of Rosheim is one long straight road, lined with old buildings, churches, and more towers and archways. In the local bakeries (yes, we tried three!) we discovered a local specialty called Ropfkuche – it’s a brioche topped with a glorious sticky mixture of nuts and cinnamon. It was delicious!

Top Tips for Visiting the Alsace

We visited in February 2020.


  • Where we parked in a motorhome: I parked on Route de Bergheim next to the cemetery. It was free but I put out my blue French parking disc.
  • Cafe: Boulangerie Pâtisserie Confiserie Vogel (on the Grand’Rue).


  • Breakfast: Pâtisserie Salon de Thé Vilmain (on the Rue de Général de Gaulle).
  • Playground: Kids playground on Avenue Méquillet.

Where we stayed in a motorhome

  • Address: 11-12 Avenue Jacques Preiss, 68340 Riquewihr, France.
  • Found: via Park4Night (details here – Riquewihr).
  • Cost: €4 over night (6pm to 9am). Otherwise €2/2hrs or €3/4hrs.
  • Facilities: I think there were the normal facilities, but that they weren’t working over the winter.
  • Site: Just spaces in a car park. Quiet the night we were there. Bit sloping. Motorhomes under 7m long only.


  • Where we parked in a motorhome: Rue Camille Schlumberger (between Rue Messimy and Rue Bruat). Apologies can’t remember the exact cost, but it was only a couple of Euros.
  • Playground: In Parc du Champ de Mars.
  • Carousel: Carousel 1900 in Parc du Champ de Mars. €5 for 5 goes.
  • Mini Statue of Liberty: Can be found on a roundabout on the Route de Strasbourg near the Aérodrome de Colmar-Houssen.
  • Food shopping: Bio Coop and Grand Frais both on Route de Rouffach.


Where we stayed in a motorhome

  • Address: 36-40 Av. Clémenceau, 67560 Rosheim, France.
  • Found: via Park4Night (details here – Rosheim).
  • Cost: Free.
  • Facilities: No services.
  • Site: Nice flat spaces on the outskirts of the town. Some noise from cars passing.


We also stayed in Hartmannswiller, which is a village.

Where we stayed in a motorhome

  • Address: 25-27 Grand Rue, 68500 Hartmannswiller, France.
  • Found: via Park4Night (details here – Hartmannswiller).
  • Cost: Free.
  • Facilities: No services that were working over the winter.
  • Site: Nice flat spaces on the outskirts of the town. Some noise from cars passing.