Palatinate: our 5 favourites

OUR TRAVEL: 2 days from 1 to 3 June 2022

WHERE? In Landau, in the Palatinate region (20 km from the French border)

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get there is by train. From Paris it takes 4 hours: the TGV goes through Strasbourg and Karlsruhe where you have to take another train to reach Landau. During our stay, it is still compulsory to wear a mask in Germany, so don't forget it when leaving!

WHEN TO GO? The peak season for the Südliche Weinstraße (Southern Wine Route) is between September and early November, when the golden colours of the vineyards can be enjoyed. 

WHY GO THERE? An undiscovered region with endless vineyards in the heart of Germany's largest forest!

ACCESSIBILITY : Find all our addresses on our map Mapstr !

After two days in Dijonwe continue our Franco-German stay by crossing the Rhine. 

Apart from Berlin and Munich, we know very little about Germany. Kim and Lorenz live just outside Mannheim and they have been telling us about the Palatinate and the beauty of its hills. 

The Southern Wine Route is full of surprises so we have selected our 5 favourites... Let's go!

Annweiler and Landau, two palatine cities

In contrast to Dijon, the towns of Annweiler and Landau are in the heart of the vineyards. Although close in terms of distance, they have had a very different history over the centuries.

Since the Middle Ages, Annweiler has developed around the river Queich, which runs through the middle of the village. The remains of this period can still be seen today with the paddle mills and the many half-timbered houses. Some of the houses still have traces of the tanners who worked there on their facades. 

Landau, on the other hand, has had a somewhat eventful past. Between two periods of German rule, it became French at the end of the 17th century during the reign of Louis XIV. For more than 100 years, military garrisons were stationed just outside the town centre. Today, this space has been completely redesigned to create a park and allow everyone to enjoy it. 

Right next to the town hall square, a mural has been painted to honour the town and the famous pram. It was here that these taller-than-life horse-drawn carriages with a removable canvas were first made! Their design also inspired the pram we know for our little ones!

Landau is also the birthplace of Thomas Nast. This name may not ring a bell, but he is the man who drew the world's most famous character... Father Christmas!

A little further on, the violet colour of the front of a grocery shop stands out against the grey of the adjoining walls. Anna and her husband created Annas Landpartie a few years ago with the aim of promoting Palatinate producers. Whether it's sweet (chocolate balls...), savoury (chestnut pesto...) or drinks (pine gin...) everything is there to fill your cupboards with goodies!

Bernhard Koch, wine producer from father to son

The Bernhard Koch family vineyard operates 47 hectares of vineyards in and around Hainfeld. They work with many different grape varieties to produce Riesling and sparkling wine. Close to Burgundy, they also produce wines that can be found around Dijon.

The tour follows the different stages from the vine to the bottle. Just behind the building we enter the heart of the matter with Bernhard Koch's first vines. We go inside to discover the first vats before moving on to the basement where the oak barrels filled with the family's concocted blends are stored. Each stage of the tasting is accompanied by a glass of wine or sparkling wine and its presentation.

Our favorite? The Grauburgunder "Vom Löss", a Pinot Gris with notes of hazelnut!

Before you leave, be sure to stop by their terrace to try one of the local dishes. The whole menu is delicious!

The storks of Bornheim

The village of Bornheim is not famous for its vineyards, but for its rather unusual inhabitants... At first glance, you might not notice them, but as soon as you look up, you can see them enjoying the warm air above the houses. These inhabitants are none other than storks! This is the first time we have had the opportunity to see them up close. There are no less than 30 nests spread over the roofs or in places built especially for them. At this time of year, the nests are all occupied while the chicks take their first flight!

A preservation centre was created a few years ago to both educate and care for the storks. A remission centre has been set up in the centre of the village to take in injured or sick storks while they recover. They are fed several times a day to regain their strength but unfortunately some have been there for many months and will not be able to leave. 

As you walk through the streets, have fun looking at the tops of the lampposts: objects have been placed there to indicate the occupations of the former inhabitants!

Hiking in the Palatinate Forest

Between Dijon and Landau, wine tastings and local specialities are going well! You are beginning to know us, when we spend several days in the city thecall of nature is felt! We leave Landau to reach the Palatinate forest which makes us dream so much since our arrival. In just half an hour the landscape changes completely. The smell of the pines invades us, nothing like it to make us feel fully in our element!

After a short stop at the Forsthaus to get some strength, we set off on the 2 km long path to the Kirshfels. The vegetation is dense, we can't see what is waiting for us on the other side... What a joy to be there, we are alone. The branches that have fallen to the ground creak as my wheels pass over them, Myriam pushes me up the few slopes that come up. At the top of the last one, after about an hour's walk, we discover an incredible 180° panorama of the surrounding hills!

Picnic in the vineyards

To end our stay in the Palatinate in style, we indulged in one of the local customs... Hidden in the heart of the vineyards, picnic tables are made available to walkers! We can't hide the fact that we were immediately enchanted by the idea. You're going to say to me, but how do you prepare a picnic without shopping? Nothing could be simpler: most of the hotels on the Southern Wine Route offer a take-away formula, for lunch and dinner, with raw vegetables, cold sausage, cheese and of course wine! In this particular context, it is not uncommon to mix your wine with sparkling water to give it an even fresher and more summery feel!

Once everything is set up, all you have to do is put your feet under the table and enjoy the view! 

Parkhotel Landau: Ideally located within walking distance of the train station on one side and the centre on the other, this hotel is the perfect spot to radiate in the Palatinate! Rates: From €115 per night in a comfort room and €160 per night in one of their new rooms. Accessibility: The common areas (we did not test the spa and pool) are all accessible. We stayed in the new part of the hotel. The room is very large and comfortable with plenty of space to move around. Unfortunately the bathroom is not very practical. The room is small and there is no shelf to put your things on during your stay. The toilet is surrounded by a system of armrests that can be removed if necessary to facilitate your transfer. In the shower, the seat can be moved if necessary and there is a non-slip mat. Two disadvantages: the curtain is very close and sticks to you during your shower. The shower head is fixed quite high and if you are alone you may have to ask for help at reception.

Jugendstilhotel Trifels: At the foot of Trifels Castle, come and dine in this Art Deco hotel which offers a wide menu of typical dishes from the region. Prices: from €16 for a dish Accessibility: it is fully wheelchair accessible with a lift. The toilets are located in the basement.

Brasserie Wine & Dein: The restaurant at the Parkhotel Landau makes it easy to fill up after a long day in the vineyards. The terrace overlooks the town's lake, which is great! Prices: start at €5 for starters and €15 for main courses. Accessibility: The hotel is fully accessible (including the toilets). A ramp is installed to access the terrace.

Annas Landpartie: In the heart of Landau's city centre, this grocery shop offers a wide range of products from local Palatinate producers. If you wish, you can enjoy a coffee with some sweets on their terrace. Accessibility: The entrance to the shop is on one level. 

Forsthaus Annweiler am Trifels: At the start of the Kirshfels hike, the perfect place whether you want to eat just before setting out on the trail or to refresh yourself on the way back! Prices: from €9 for a dish. Accessibility: The establishment is fully wheelchair accessible, as are the toilets.

Picnic in the vineyards : The perfect spot with 2 tables facing the vineyards. Find here all the information about this place. We went through theHotel Castell to get our lunch. Accessibility: it is possible to park on the grass right next to the tables. You may need a little help to get to them, depending on your ability. 

Bernhard Koch : At sunset, come and enjoy the sun's rays on the surrounding hills during a tasting or a meal! Prices: the 2-hour tasting costs 20€, including several wines along the way. To eat on site, count between 5 and 8€ for snacks and around 10€ for a dish. Accessibility: the venue is fully wheelchair accessible, as are the toilets.

Palatinate Stork Centre: Make a stop at this centre to gain a better understanding of the life cycle of storks. Prices: Admission to the centre costs €3.5 per person. Accessibility: They install a ramp to enter the centre. Access to the floor is via a mobile platform along the staircase. The toilets are accessible and equipped.

Kirschfels hike : If you like nature, this short hike is for you! The view from the top is magnificent! The starting point is here. Accessibility: with the many roots, it is preferable to have a 3rd road to facilitate your progress on the rocks and branches. Kim didn't have one and Lorenz was able to give her a hand in the most difficult moments: slopes with a relative degree but long enough or in the presence of rocks for example.

Our stay ends in the heart of the vineyards. We have only discovered a small part of the Palatinate and it is with pleasure that we will return! Why not in autumn to see the valleys set ablaze in the sunset?

This trip was realised in cooperation with theGerman National Tourist Board and thetourist office of the Southern Wine Route.

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