Ribeauvillé, Alsace – Top Sights & Photo Spots (France)

Categories: Travel reports, Europe, France

The charming town of Ribeauvillé is located on the Alsace Wine Route, about 18 kilometers northwest of Colmar. As part of a day trip, we explored Ribeauvillé and were very impressed by the medieval monuments and the numerous half-timbered houses.

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Things to know about Ribeauvillé in Alsace

Ribeauvillé is a small French town with about 4,700 inhabitants, located about 25 minutes drive from Colmar in a scenic area – the eastern edge of the Vosges Mountains – at an altitude of 185 meters. Due to its historical heritage and medieval architecture, Ribeauvillé is a popular destination for tourists. Tourism and gastronomy are therefore one of the most important economic factors for the city. But viticulture is also important and has an old tradition. On the territory of the commune there are three famous ‘Alsace-Grand-Cru’ vineyards: the Geisberg, mainly planted with Riesling, the Kirchberg and the Osterberg.

❖ Hotel deals for Ribeauvillé

The history of the settlement site goes back to the Roman times – this has been proven by numerous coin finds. Ribeauvillé was first documented as a town in 1290. Gradually, different parts of the city were created: two upper towns and two lower towns; fortifications with four city gates were also built. In the Middle Ages, the place acted as the seat of the Lords of Ribeaupierre. They ruled in and around Ribeauvillé from 1038 to 1673 and had three fortified castles built during this period: Ulrichsburg Castle (ancestral seat of the Lords of Ribeaupierre), Girsberg Castle and Hohrappoltstein Castle (Haut-Ribeaupierre). The ruins of the three castles still tower over the town and the surrounding area and can be reached via a hiking trail.

In Ribeauvillé, the so-called ‘Pfifferdaj’ takes place every year on the first Sunday in September. This festival of the Town Musicians is the oldest festival in Alsace and commemorates, with a parade and brass bands, the numerous town musicians and minstrels who gathered in Ribeauvillé since the 14th century.

A map of Ribeauvillé

A free tourist map can be downloaded here. In it is drawn a very nice discovery tour, where you can see all the highlights of the place.

Sights & Photo Spots in the Historic Old Town

We drove our car from Colmar to Ribeauvillé and parked it in a free parking lot on the western edge of the Jardin de Ville (location in Google Maps). From here it was a stone’s throw to the old town: we reached the tourist office after only about 200 meters. While exploring the city, we followed the discovery tour recommended in the map and were able to see some of the most beautiful sights of Ribeauvillé.

Ribeauvillé can be easily explored on foot. But if you want to have some interesting additional information about the city… we recommend you to take part in a free guided tour of the old town and the town hall. These are offered daily from May to October (except Mondays and Saturdays) by the local tourist board ‘Alsace Destination Tourisme’.


The Grand’ Rue is the main street in the historic old town. About one kilometer long, it runs from east to west across Ribeauvillé. It is very worthwhile to stroll through the street in a relaxed way and also to take a look into the side streets. On the Grand’Rue you will find numerous flower-adorned old (half-timbered) houses from the 15th to 18th centuries, inviting cafés and restaurants, wine stores, small stores as well as places to linger.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville & Butcher’s Tower

The Grand’Rue is repeatedly flanked by small squares, such as the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, where the city’s town hall is located. The building, dating from 1778, houses a remarkable collection of solid silver ceramics and has been registered as a historical monument since 1932.

Our path led us a few meters further along the Grand’Rue to the 29-meter-high butcher ‘s tower (French: Tour des Bouchers), which today is considered the landmark of Ribeauvillé. It owes its name to the slaughterhouse and butcher’s stalls that were once built in front of the tower. It was built in the 13th century (1260) between the Upper and Lower Towns as a gate tower and part of the medieval fortifications, and was raised in 1536. Particularly striking is the clock tower, which to this day still houses a bell. In the Middle Ages, the ringing of bells served the townspeople as the beginning of the nightly curfew.

Place de la Sinne

Walking further along Grand’Rue, one comes directly to the Place de la Sinne, which is adorned by the beautiful Frederick Fountain dating from 1862. The female figure on the fountain is meant to symbolize trade, agriculture, viticulture and the forests of Ribeauvillé. We liked the place very much, because the surrounding houses look really picturesque and you can sit here relaxed on one of the benches and just let your mind wander.

Place du Bouc

A perfect refreshment for us on this warm summer day was the small city stream with cold, clear water at Place du Bouc, which was the meeting place of numerous washerwomen until 1965. The yellow corner half-timbered house from the Renaissance period with spiral staircase, applied collar stones and carved corner posts is particularly striking.

Place de la Republique

A few meters further to the west we came across the Place de la Republique, which, like many other squares in Ribeauvillé, is decorated with a fountain from the Renaissance period. Built in 1899, the fountain stands on a 1576 fountain stick, originally from the fountain of the Place de la Sinne, which was moved here.

At the Place de la Republique there are beautiful colorful houses that offer great photo opportunities. From here you also have a beautiful view of Ulrichsburg Castle above. To the right, in the Jeannelle Passage, you can see very nicely that from the medieval fortifications, a part of the city wall and some of the defense towers – like here the Witches’ Tower – have been preserved until today.

Other photo spots in the old town

During our walk through the old town of Ribeauvillé we saw many other squares and medieval monuments. A particularly striking structure is the 13th-century Roman Catholic Church of Saint-Grégoire, located off Grand’Rue and listed as a Monument historique. It houses the burial vault of the Lords of Ribeaupierre. Today the chapel is used as an exhibition space.

We really enjoyed our exploration of Ribeauvillé and highly recommend it as a day trip from Colmar.

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)