After a long two-day drive from the UK, we spent our first morning in Alsace chilling in our little rented house. But by the afternoon we were ready to start exploring and decided to find out just how close we were to the German border. We crossed the Rhine at a nearby hydro-electric power station, before driving a few miles up the road to Breisach-am-Rhein.
Breisach-am-Rhein is a pretty town on the banks of the Rhine, dominated by St Stephen’s Munster, which sits high on a rock overlooking the town. It was a gloriously hot and sunny day and on arriving, we immediately headed down to the river. The blue-green river, which was glistening in the sunshine, looked very inviting as I watched, somewhat envious, all the people swimming on the French side of the Rhine. I was surprised by just how busy the river was, it was packed with people jet-skiing, swimming and sailing.
After a brief amble down to the water’s edge, we decided to climb a series of steps that wound around the side of the hill up to the cathedral. Having reached the top, we stopped to take in the beautiful views of the Rhine below, the mountains of the Black Forest to the south and the Vosges mountains to the north-west. But the object of my attention was St Stephen’s Munster, which was situated in a small square opposite the Town Hall. We walked around it to get a better look at the attractive and intriguing brown stone cathedral we’d been admiring from afar, before heading inside.
I ventured through the cathedral’s large wooden doors, passing some very old, faded frescoes on the walls near the entrance. The cathedral had high-vaulted ceilings, an ornate wooden altar and pretty stained glass windows, awash with reds, dark blues and yellows. Before the altar, I joined the crowds of people admiring an incredibly ornate silver chest on a golden board held up by four golden lions, which is said to hold the bones of St Gervasius and St Protasius, the patron saints of Breisach.
After wandering around the cathedral, we stopped off at a cafe-bar overlooking the river before heading home. We had a nice afternoon in Breisach. It’s a charming town and was a great place to spend a relaxing laid-back afternoon in the sun.