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A magnet for wine lovers

Updated: 2012-08-02 10:32
By Mao Ning (China Daily)

The Alsace Wine Route is 170 km long and was inaugurated in 1953. It crisscrosses vineyards from north to south along the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. Designated as one of France's most beautiful tourist routes, it features wonderful landscapes, with more than 100 towns and villages dotting the vast Alsace vineyards.

The Alsace Wine Route is a magnet for wine lovers. The route leads to the doors of wine cellars and tasting rooms, most of which are open all year round to visitors. For the majority of tourists, perhaps, the charm of the trip lies in the exploration of picturesque medieval towns and villages.

Like many wine producers in the region who are showing a developing interest in the growing Chinese market, Alsace is making more efforts to attract Chinese tourists to the area.

According to Jean-Christophe Harray, an official from the Alsace Tourism Committee, most tourists to Alsace are from France and other European countries. Even so, Chinese tourists have increased significantly in recent years, with 20,000 nights recorded in the region in 2011, a 76 percent increase over the previous year.

Harray says while most tourists previously preferred to visit big cities like Paris, "now many have turned their eyes to small cities and towns with unique features".

The Alsace Wine Route is easily accessible by car from Alsace's main cities of Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse. The TGV, or high-speed train, takes just over two hours to travel from Paris to Strasbourg and has a stop in Colmar, the center of the Alsace Wine Route.

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