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Talking Location With author Julie Stock – Alsace, France

23rd March 2017

#talkinglocationwith… author, Julie Stock who shares with us the delights of Alsace, France.

I first went to Alsace in 1993 when my husband and I did a wine tour around France. We already loved the Gewürztraminer wines of the region by then so it was the wine that drew us there but we soon discovered all the other delights the region had to offer. So, when I was thinking of where in France to set my new romance novel – The Vineyard in Alsace – whose story was to take place on a vineyard, Alsace was the obvious choice for me.

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Luckily, I’ve been back many times since that first time when I fell in love with the region. If you don’t know Alsace, you might be surprised at the secrets it holds. First and foremost is the fact that Alsace is shaped by its complex history of being shunted back and forth between France and Germany since the days of the Holy Roman Empire, its ownership decided often by strategic politics and war. Since the end of World War II, thankfully, Alsace has enjoyed a long period of stability as part of France but as a result of its chequered history, its culture is a lovely mix of French and German influences.

This means that its towns and villages are picture postcard places with charming half-timbered painted houses alongside rivers and canals, and often with a backdrop of vineyards on the mountainsides nearby. The whole area is home to one magnificent castle after another and there are lots of beautiful churches to see too. You have the sophisticated charm of Strasbourg in the north of the region, leading to the more intimate town of Colmar, with its flower-filled window boxes and pretty canals, and then finally, the more industrial town of Mulhouse in the south.

There’s so much to see and do but no visit would be complete with a wine tasting, and there are hundreds of vineyards to choose from and you will always receive a warm welcome. The traditional cuisine may not all be to everyone’s taste (choucroute anyone?!) but there are plenty of lovely foods to choose from and truly gastronomic restaurants as well. Alsace is also famed for its Christmas markets and that’s definitely on my list for my next visit.

Talking Location With author Julie StockMust Sees

Château de Haut-Koenigsbourg

Built in the 12th century, this medieval fortress can be seen from all around the local area, perched as it is at over 700m high. Originally of course, it was important as a defensive fortress because it was ideal for observing the main routes in and out of the region. Today, it is an exciting and interesting place to explore and learn about the history of this amazing region.



This romantic town is possibly my favourite place in the whole of Alsace and it’s where I chose as my main character’s home town in my book. Right in the centre of town is ‘La Petite Venise’ where you can wander alongside the canal that runs through the heart of Colmar. You can also take a boat trip along the canal and admire all the picturesque houses from the water. There is a permanent covered food market and there are regular food and wine festivals, which everyone is encouraged to participate in!

Talking Location With author Julie Stock


The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Strasbourg (and everything else!)

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The Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Strasbourg

You can easily spend a day in the European capital of Strasbourg and not run out of things to do. The cathedral is actually a gothic minster and the stone is said to have a pink hue to it depending on the position of the sun. Inside, there is the most magnificent astronomical clock which is worth waiting for to see do its magic.

The Schlumpf Collection Automobile Museum at Mulhouse

You might think that a car museum isn’t really your cup of tea, but honestly, this museum is great. It’s been renovated since the last time we went and it’s all interactive and glossy now with hundreds of beautiful prestigious cars on display. It’s a great way to while away an afternoon with children.


Wine tasting in a winemaker’s cellars on the Alsace Wine Route

Well, you can’t come to Alsace and not taste the wine. Most villages will have wine tastings on offer somewhere but the one I’d really recommend is the Cave de Turckheim, a winery located just outside the village of the same name. You can tour the wine cellars and taste the wine, and then indulge yourself by buying some in the shop afterwards!

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In my book, my main character, Fran, gets a job setting up a Visitors’ Centre at a vineyard and it was places like this that gave me many of my ideas and references.

julie stock 6Thank you so much to Julie for sharing her love of Alsace with us.

You can follow Julie on Twitter, Facebook and connect via her website and buy her novel – The Vineyard in Alsace – here





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  1. User: Kate Field

    Posted on: 27/03/2017 at 5:58 am

    This post has brought back happy memories of a long ago holiday to Alsace. The whole area comes alive in the novel, but it’s great to see the pictures too – I’d forgotten how beautiful Colmar is. I want to go back now!


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 27/03/2017 at 12:17 pm

      Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment, Kate. It’s such a wonderful place that I think it would be hard to take a bad photo actually. There are so many lovely places to visit that you have to go back a fair few times to make sure you see them all! You’ll have to go now 🙂


  2. User: Kirsten Hesketh

    Posted on: 26/03/2017 at 10:14 pm

    I really enjoyed this post – it’s not a region I know but now I’d love to visit it. Best of luck with the book xx


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 27/03/2017 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks for reading, Kirsten. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and I hope you will get to Alsace one day soon. Thanks for your good wishes too xx


  3. User: Gabrielle

    Posted on: 26/03/2017 at 5:33 pm

    Great pictures and a nice blog.


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 26/03/2017 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks for reading, Gabrielle. I’m glad you enjoyed my post 🙂


  4. User: Ros Rendle

    Posted on: 26/03/2017 at 11:21 am

    Great post. I recognise many of the places in your photos. We have a couple of sets of local wine glasses too.
    I’ve recently registered with this website and posted one of my books too. It’s a lovely site.


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 26/03/2017 at 6:02 pm

      Thanks for reading, Ros. It is such a lovely part of France and the Alsace wine glasses are a must if you’re visiting the area. We still have some from our first trip in 1997! I will head straight off to look up your book after this 🙂


  5. User: Susanna Bavin

    Posted on: 24/03/2017 at 7:52 pm

    Very interesting post – thank you. Julie’s knowledge and love of this beautiful area are very much in evidence in her novel. Perfect for the armchair traveller!


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 25/03/2017 at 8:55 am

      Thanks for reading my post and for your comment about my book too. So glad you enjoyed ‘travelling’ with me 🙂


  6. User: Sam Russell

    Posted on: 24/03/2017 at 6:57 pm

    A lovely post which, like Julie’s novel, takes you right to the heart of Alsace ☺


    1 Comment

    • User: Julie Stock

      Posted on: 25/03/2017 at 8:53 am

      Thank you, Sam and I’m so glad to know you’re reading my book too!