Archive for the ‘9.9 Europe’ Category

Chateau D’Isenbourg, France

Day 5 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

One of the most memorable hotels I stayed at during my honeymoon trip through France was the Chateau D’Isenbourg. Although I stayed at a fair number of chateaus during the trip, Chateau D’Isenbourg struck me as being the most ornate and regal looking one. We got the most exquisite looking room and it was as spacious as could be.

Chateau D'Isenbourg (3)

Built on the foundation of 12th & 14th Century cellars, the Château d’Isenbourg is soaked in the turbulent history of Dagobert and Charlemagne, whose names still echo here. Located on the Alsatian wine trail, in the heart of the vineyards, several kilometres from Colmar, it dominates the old town of Rouffach, offering a magnificent panoramic view of the Vosges foothills, the Rhine Plain and the Black Forest in the distance.

Chateau D'Isenbourg (8)

Wouldn’t you just love to stay in a room like this? I love how the dark blue curtains blends so well with the warm orangey yellows of the walls. I feel like royalty staying in this room! Even the design of the chairs adds to the grandeur of the room, plus the ornate looking writing desk. I think if the bed hadn’t been there, and if I’d told you that this was the sitting room of someone from the British Monarchy, you might have just believed it, right?

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Obernai in Alsace, France

Day 5 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

Day 5 of our Honeymoon saw us driving from the Kloster Hornbach on the German side of the border back into France and moving on towards Colmar. The whole stretch is wine region and it’s just a straight long drive from North to South. There are many villages and old towns dotted along the way and we stopped at a couple of them while driving to Rouffach where our hotel the Chateau D’Isenbourg was.

Obernai was one of the historic old towns we stopped at, and I would highly recommend that you do a pit-stop in this quaint town too if you ever come to Alsace. The Obernai region, which was the property of the dukes of Alsace in the 7th century, is the birthplace of St. Odile, daughter of the Duke, who would become the Patron Saint of Alsace.

Obernai in Alsace France (16)

Once again, just like in Strasbourg, the architecture is very “German”. There is a reason for these stone foundation with timber framing upper floorings. One reason why wood features prominently is because of Alsace’s proximity to the Vosges, where much wood can be found. But I’m not the expert in Alsatian architecture so please click this link to read more.

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Kloster Hornbach, Germany

Day 4 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

Even before our honeymoon trip to Europe, Kloster Hornbach was one of the hotels I kept raving about to my friends and on Facebook, simply for the fact that the building dates back to year 742! Yes that’s 3 digits, not 4! Obviously back in 742 it wasn’t a hotel as we know it today, but the Monastery of Hornbach. Infact, there is still a working church just adjacent to what is now the hotel portion, which opened in 2000.

Hospitality is one of the key components of the Benedictine life-style. In his rule, Saint Benedict says “Let all guests that come to the monastery be received as friends. For, one day, he will say : "I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

There are thirty-three rooms and suites to choose from, each tastefully decorated and designed in different styles. The inspiration for the interior design is influenced  by Mediterranean, Shaker, Asian or African-design. Following the feedback of guests, Kloster Hornbach also has 2 rooms specially designed to look like the cell of a monk in a monastery!  I suppose there’s no worry about those rooms being too spartan, because a Bose sound system and CDs are still provided. I quite liked that several DVD movies were provided, for the benefit of guests who just want to laze in their rooms.

Kloster Hornbach (25)

As you can see below, we got the African themed room. I have to agree that the design is extremely tastefully and subtly done. The last thing I want is to have a huge lion or elephant staring down at me as I attempt to sleep after a hard day’s touring. I have seen such hotel rooms, mind you, they do exist.

Kloster Hornbach (4)

Kloster Hornbach (5)

I love hotel rooms with lots of windows. We got a room on the 2nd floor so when the windows were opened, it felt as if my room became extended! And as you can see from the pictures, each window has a heater beneath it, so no chance of you freezing under the covers at night.

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Day trip to Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

The Partner kindly agreed to produce the text for Strasbourg, after all, this being his honeymoon as well. I’ve added my own inputs, but you can tell when the paragraph exudes the Partner’s vibes, it’s where all the heavy history stuff appears….

Strasbourg is a lovely little city. We only had the afternoon to spend in Strasbourg after checking into our hotel, the Château de l’Ile, so we had to zoom to all the major tourist attractions in town. Did I mention that I love travelling in Spring? It only got dark around 9pm, so when I say afternoon, I really mean afternoon and evening, in the Singapore context. Smile

What to do in Strasbourg? Apart from Strasbourg being a pretty city at a comfortable size that doesn’t feel overwhelming, one good reason to visit Strasbourg is because Strasbourg is the seat of several European institutions, such as the Council of Europe (with its European Court of Human Rights, its European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and its European Audiovisual Observatory) and the Eurocorps, as well as the European Parliament and the European Ombudsman of the European Union. It sure sounds good to tell people you’ve been to such a powerful city.

Strasbourg (27)

If there’s nothing else that you see in Strasbourg, you must at least visit the Strasbourg Cathedral. The iconic Strasbourg Cathedral took nearly 300 years to complete, but once finished in 1439, it replaced the Great Pyramid of Giza to become the TALLEST BUILDING IN THE WORLD at that time! It makes my hair stand to think of it even as I am typing this. I feel a sense of wonderment how a building of such great history can coexist with modern economic interests such as the European Union offices.

Strasbourg (20)

It’s times like these that I wonder what it would be like not to live in Singapore, which has such a short history of only 48 years of independence (about 200 years if you include our founding years), and despite our short history, we have already razed away a significant number of buildings that our parents would have been familiar with in their childhood.

Strasbourg (3)-tile

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Gourmet de l’Ile – Strasbourg

Day 3 of 365days2play’s Honeymoon in Luxembourg, Germany & France

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - (2)

Day 3 – We were generously invited to dinner during our stay at Château de l’Ile & Spa in the Strasbourg/Ostwald region. Château de l’Ile has 2 restaurants. The Restaurant "Winstub de l’Ile " has all the charm of an Alsace brasserie with its typical welcoming decor: traditional benches, solid rustic chairs, decorated ceiling, and tinted windows. You can enjoy regional dishes at this restaurant.

The other restaurant, which we eventually chose as our dining venue for the evening was Restaurant "Gourmet de l’Ile". It is decked out to look like a 19th century bourgeoisie house and serves fine dining French cuisine.

We perused the menu and concluded that the Tasting menu at 74 Euros was the most value for money, yes even though 74 Euros doesn’t sound cheap on its own. The starters were already above 20 euros while the main courses were above 30 euros, so it made very good sense to get the Tasting menu, even if we had to take 3 hours to finish the meal!

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - Lentil soup with bacon

Lentil soup with bacon

As with all fine dining, you always get more than what you’ve ordered! There will be “surprises”, more “surprises”, “mouth washers” literally, and chocolates after desserts! Don’t be planning to go home early when you dine at a fine dining restaurant! This here was the appetiser of lentil puree soup with a stick of bacon in it. It was an amazing starter as the graininess of the lentils and smokiness of the bacon really gelled together very well, kick starting the whole meal.

Restaurant Gourmet de l'Ile - Pan-Fried Foie Gras, butter muesli, apple compote & Caramel (2)

Pan-Fried Foie Gras, butter muesli, apple compote & Caramel 27 Euros

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