France/Alsace again voted most welcoming region in France by Booking users
For the fourth year in a row, Alsace is at the top of the list of the most welcoming regions in France, according to users of the Booking.com website. Three Alsatian towns are also at the top of the Traveller Review Awards top 10.
Alsace won the title of most welcoming region in France for the fourth time in a row on Thursday, February 2, according to the online booking website Booking.com. The ranking is based on the comments expressed by users of the Dutch travel platform. In this 11th edition of the Traveller Review Awards, apartments are the most popular accommodation, ahead of vacation homes. Next in order of preference are bed & breakfasts, hotels and guesthouses.
"I would like to take my hat off to the accommodation providers who put a lot of effort into their work and to the municipal services that maintain and decorate our towns. They do a great job. Thanks to them, Alsace is a pleasant place to live", says Laurianne Gross, director of the Pays de Riquewihr Tourist Office.
Alsace is ahead of Hauts-de-France and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, as was the case for the previous three years. The region also stands out for its ranking of municipalities: among the ten French cities judged the most welcoming are four Alsatian municipalities, Kaysersberg, Eguisheim and Riquewihr coming out on top. The mayor of Bergheim, Elisabeth Schneider, a village in the Haut-Rhin region, was delighted to be named the French people's favorite village in 2022. "This is a pleasure. It is the fruit of a work that we must greet".
According to travelers, Alsace is recognized for the quality of its welcome. This makes it a very attractive region. This is confirmed by the attendance figures for the year 2022, published on the website of the tourist development agency of Alsace (ADT): 22.4 million visitors, 30.8 million overnight stays. All the indicators are green. After the covid period, the clientele is back. Compared to 2019, the number of French tourists is up 26%, that of foreign visitors, 49%.
These results are the result of a promotional action, especially from the ADT at the regional level. At the local level, "the tourist office is one of the cogs in the wheel of this quality of welcome", says Laurianne Gross. A promotion that relies on the rich cultural, architectural and historical heritage of the region, as well as the diversity of the landscape. Here is a list of the tourist assets available in Alsace that can explain this success:
Highlights that punctuate the year
Alsace is famous for its Christmas markets, a real institution in the region. There is something for everyone, from the most traditional to the most original, with decorations, music, entertainment and of course, gastronomy. The best known, Strasbourg and Colmar, attract an international clientele.
In summer, the Vosges mountains, with their numerous marked trails, attract a clientele focused on green tourism, in search of hiking.
A rich architectural heritage
A series of medieval castles, more or less well preserved, dominate the plain of Alsace from the heights of the Vosges mountains. Among them, the most famous, the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, on the commune of Orschwiller, is enthroned at an altitude of 757 meters. It is the most visited medieval castle in France.
The cathedral of Strasbourg, considered as one of the most beautiful in France, is a jewel of Gothic architecture. With more than 4 million tourists per year, it is the most visited after Notre-Dame de Paris.
Half-timbered houses, cobbled streets, old ramparts, the French and foreigners are year after year more and more seduced by the charm of the typical villages and the historical city centers of Alsace. Colmar is one of the favorite destinations for tourists.
Four communes have been elected favorite village of the French: Eguisheim in 2013, Kaysersberg in 2017, Hunspach in 2020 and Bergheim in 2022. For these villages, this means an important influx of tourists. An influx that some communes may find themselves overwhelmed. This is the case of Eguisheim (Haut-Rhin), which was awarded a prize in 2013: "The day after the program was broadcast, we were completely overwhelmed," admits the mayor, Claude Centlivre. We saw a tidal wave of unruly tourists parking anywhere, in front of houses, shops ... Impossible then to absorb them with our parking that amounted to 50 spaces and our tourist office of barely 30 m².
To complete the picture, six communes have acquired the label "Most Beautiful Villages of France", including Riquewihr, Hunawihr, Mittelbergheim.
A culture of the table
With its wine route, lined with great wines and its starred chefs, Alsace is a land renowned for its cuisine. From north to south, on a strip of about a hundred kilometers at the foot of the Vosges, the Alsatian vineyard enjoys an exceptional exposure. Large estates cultivate the grape varieties that have made Alsatian wine famous, notably Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer.
Half a dozen chefs are considered to be of high level by the gastronomic guides and press. Among them, we can mention Marc Haeberlin in Illaeusern or Olivier Nasti in Kaysersberg.
After the crisis of the covid which had plummeted tourism, here is something to cheer up the actors of the activity, in Alsace as in France. This one arrives only in third position behind Spain and Italy.