The town of Riquewihr, an official listing amongst Les Plus Beaux Villages de France ‘ The most beautiful villages of France’, was a delight to visit and like Kayserberg, one of the few villages of the area not to be badly damaged during WWII. We were delighted with more houses en colombage (with wooden supports) and even an iconic clock tower decorating a gateway through the old ramparts. Riquewihr has a double set of fortifications: not because it needed the extra defense, but primarily to allow the village to expand without compromising security, by building housing between the two sets of walls. Another highlight of the visit was Féerie de Noël ‘ A Christmas Fairyland’, a store specialising in Christmas decorations. The store truly was magical- each section was laid out with a different style, and you passed through the store following a path through each section, just as you do at Ikea. My favourite toys on display were the multi-tiered merry-go-rounds which had many parts which moved as the tower turned. The decorations are very fragile though: I learnt my lesson when I tried to pick up a snow globe by the base. Unfortunately the base was not attached to the globe. Result: shattered glass and shattered pride. I was ready to fork out the hefty sum I owed (artisinal decorations aren’t cheap), but the salesperson kindly overlooked my clumsiness and let me walk free with nothing but my painful guilt to carry and the age old adage ‘Look but don’t touch’, ringing in my ears.
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