Eguisheim in Alsace – Top sights of the medieval town (France)

Categories: Travel reports, Europe, France

The picturesque village of Eguisheim is located in the middle of the Alsatian vineyards, about 15 minutes from Colmar. Eguisheim, like some other towns in the area, is a true picture-postcard idyll: cobbled streets, narrow alleys, colorful half-timbered houses and numerous flowers awaited and impressed us here. Eguisheim was voted one of the most beautiful villages in France and even the favorite village of the French in 2013.

Eguisheim header image

Things to know about Eguisheim in Alsace

Eguisheim is located 6 kilometers southwest of Colmar and is a French commune with about 1,700 inhabitants. The area around Eguisheim is one of the oldest settlement sites in Alsace: in the 19th century traces of Celtic-Roman as well as Neolithic settlements were discovered here. The origins of the village date back to the 13th century – the year of its foundation is 1257.

In the history of the village, viticulture and wine trade have always been one of the most important economic activities. Today, Eguisheim is still a romantic wine village, home to many wineries and producing two of the best wines of the region, the “Eichberg” and the “Pfersigberg”.

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The medieval town was once built around an octagonal castle complex built in the 8th century and unfolds in a ring shape from the center. Eguisheim is a charming little village where you can discover some beautiful sights, such as the neo-Romanesque Byzantine St. Leo Chapel, the castle with its defensive walls, the old town with its half-timbered houses, and a 19th century parish church.

A map of Eguisheim

A free tourist map can be downloaded here. In it is marked a very nice circular route, where you can see all the highlights of the town.

Eguisheim Tourist Map, Plan

A tourist map of Eguisheim in Alsace (France)

Places of interest in Eguisheim

We drove our car from Colmar to Eguisheim and parked it in a free space on the Grand-Rue (location in Google Maps). However, just outside the city gates there is also a large paid parking lot that also has public restrooms. The parking lot is located very close to the town hall (Mairie de Eguisheim). We followed the Tourist Map when exploring the town and walked the path exactly as indicated on the map. We can therefore highly recommend the circular route.

The pigeon house

We started our tour at the pigeon house (Le Pigeonnier), probably the most famous photo motif of Eguisheim. Getting a photo here without other people in the picture is indeed a challenge – but doable with enough patience and time 😉 The pigeon house is located directly to the left when you enter the town via the east entrance in the east. The building is very narrow and is located at the fork between the inner and outer “Wallstraße”, which enclose the city. This is where the culinary pigeons were once bred – hence the name of the building.

Eguisheim, Instagram, photo spot, pigeon house

The dovecote in Eguisheim in Alsace

Circular path along the “Rue du Rempart”

From the dovecote we walked the circular route along the “Rue du Rempart Sud” to the western entrance and from here we continued along the “Rue du Rempart Nord” to the tourist information.

Eguisheim, places of interest, France

The circuit through Eguisheim

The colorful half-timbered houses line the cobblestone street – one more beautiful than the other. Everywhere you can find flower arrangements: on the street, on stairs or on the windows. Everything is just wonderfully colorful!

We were out and about in Eguisheim in the late afternoon and the later it got, the fewer people were out and about. This was of course perfect to experience the city in peace and without crowds and to take beautiful photos. We also imagine the ambience in Eguisheim to be particularly beautiful during the Christmas season, when everything is illuminated and decorated. Then there is also a Christmas market with accompanying activities that attracts many visitors.

Place du Château, Egisheim Castle & St. Leo Chapel

The tour continued to the Place du Château in the center of Eguisheim, where the main attractions are concentrated. On the one hand, there is Egisheim Castle, which originally consisted of an octagonal keep standing in the middle. The exact time of the castle’s origin is still unclear. According to stories, in the 19th century Egisheim Castle was considered the birthplace of Bruno of Egisheim, later Pope and Saint Leo IX (1002-1054). The plant has been listed as a historical monument since March 27, 1903.

From 1886, large parts of the castle complex, including the keep, which is also octagonal, were demolished. Instead, a neo-Romanesque-Byzantine chapel was built and elaborately decorated on this site from 1888 to 1894 in memory of Pope Leo IX: the Chapel of St. Leo.

Particularly striking on the Place du Château is the large Leo Fountain with a statue of Leo as well as his papal crown, donated by an Eguisheim family back in the 1830s.

In the immediate vicinity of the castle complex and chapel is the Roman Catholic Church of St. Peter and Paul, built in 1809 in the barn style and listed as a ‘Monument historique’. From a collapsed Romanesque predecessor building from the 12th century, only remains of pillars and vault ribs remained, as well as a tower, which can still be seen today. The outlines of the old basilica can still be seen in the paving stones. A special item of equipment is a listed wooden shrine Madonna with child from the 14th century.

The most beautiful Alsace Villages (France)

Half-timbered towns, wine villages, castles, medieval city walls and tarte flambée... we spent a few days in Alsace, France. Here you can find our travelogues of some of the most beautiful towns in the region.
Alsace Villages » Strasbourg - Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots
» Colmar - Top 15 sights in the old town
» Kaysersberg – Sights, Old Town & Castle
» Riquewihr - One of the most beautiful villages in France
» Eguisheim - Top sights of the medieval town
» Turckheim - A day trip from Colmar
» Ribeauvillé – Top Sights & Photo Spots
» Neuf-Brisach - own and Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage)