Alsace, located on the eastern border of France, is just minutes away from the west bank of the upper Rhine, adjacent to Germany and Switzerland. With dozens of international organizations and bodies, Alsace is politically one of the most important regions in the European Union. Indeed, the name "Alsace" can be traced to the Old High German Ali-saz or Elisaz, meaning "foreign domain." Another interpretation of its etymological roots comes from the Germanic Ell-sass, meaning "seated on the Ill," a river in Alsace.
Populated since prehistoric times by nomadic hunters and later by Celts and Romans, Alsace has a rich patrimony of sites to visit. Famous for its picturesque villages, churches and castles that survived severe destruction throughout five centuries of wars between France and Germany, Alsace is a breathtaking region of beauty. From the cities of Marlenheim to Thann, vineyards checker the route, adding a luscious landscape to the Vosges mountains, lakes and thick forests in the background.
Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, the region was gradually annexed by France in the 17th century, under Louis XIII and Louis XIV, and later named one of the provinces of France. However, from the end of the Roman Empire (5th century) to the French annexation (17th century), Alsace was politically part of the Germanic world.
The German influence is felt heavily in the region, from the historical language of Alsace, Alsatian, similar to the German dialects spoken across the Rhine, to the gastronomical delights. Indeed, France and Germany exchanged control of Alsace four times in 75 years. Germanic traits remain in the more traditional, rural parts of the culture, dominating architecture, whereas modern institutions have assimilated the French culture. Most inhabitants of Alsace speak French, the official language of France, along with the regional dialect.
Stay at the many Campanile hotels in the Alsace region to fully explore the eastern border of France!