Walking Tour in France and Germany, Black Forest, Alsace and Champagne
Champagne is a world famous region, located in North Eastern France. The Champenois vineyards are planted only with Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay; grapes. These magnificent vineyards stretch as far as the eye can see over rolling hillsides, dotted with picturesque villages.
Behind these billions of bubbles is a long history; and it wasn't until the late 17th Century that the tart wines of Champagne became the sparkling wines that we all know so well today. Our walks take us through this lovely undulating countryside - past vineyards, gorgeous oak forests and beside swift flowing streams.
The Alsace region, nestled between the Rhine River and the Vosges Mountains, is one of France's most unique areas. It is blessed with a wealth of beautiful scenery, cultural sights and is famous the world over for its fine white wine and delicious cuisine.
The storybook villages with their Tudor style houses are an absolute delight. Our walks take us along the famous wine route and into the glorious deciduous forests of the Vosges. We learn about the areas Celtic heritage and visit some of Europe's finest old castles and monasteries.
The Black Forest has always been a region, which conjures up images of deep dark forests with winding romantic paths, picturesque valleys and cozy timber farmhouses. Discover a fairytale landscape as we walk our way through some of Southern Germany's most beautiful countryside. Its stunning beauty which includes pristine mountain streams, alpine meadow and hillsides ablaze with wildflowers allow you to step back in time and imagine what ancient Germany might have once been like.
Our Hotels and Cuisine
Our first hotel is directly on the border of Champagne and Burgundy; so we have the best of both these famous food and wine regions. Our hotel has been an absolute labour of love by the Vandendriessche Family during the last 10 years. Nestled in the tiny village of Courban is the enchanting Chateau de Courban.
This noble, classical mansion enclosed by ancient stone walls, has been rebuilt in 1839 on the foundations of a 17th century castle, of which is left a beautiful tower housing a dovecote. More recently the family have lovingly restored the chateau and have established a charming boutique hotel. Enjoy a delicious cuisine highlighting the specialties of two of France's most famous food and wine regions.
Our hotel in Alsace is situated in one of France's most beautiful villages - Obernai.; Our hotel was once the former manor house and wine cellar of the distinguished Baron de Gail Family and is now one of the premier hotels of the region. After a day of walking you will certainly look forward to relaxing in their brand new wellness centre. In the evening enjoy fine dining in their excellent restaurant where you can also sample some of France's premier white wines.
In the Black Forest we stay in the charming village of Menzenschwand. Our cozy family hotel is located on the edge of the village at the beginning of one of the most beautiful valleys in Southern Germany.
Typically German, the day begins with a healthy breakfast buffet. Before dinner enjoy a pre dinner drink in the cosy Black Forest bar. At night enjoy delicious home cooked meals as our hosts, Sabine and Sylvia, introduce us to the gastronomic delicacies of this region.
This adventure exceeded my expectation! Walkabout Gourmet has created a winning combination of sensational food, wonderful wine, exceptional venues and the opportunity to see and explore places not found along the usual tourist trails. I would now have no hesitation to travel solo after experiencing the inclusive and welcoming nature of the guides and my fellow adventurers. Despite Graeme's love of ascents and reluctance to take the most direct route, so as to not miss any of the exceptional vistas we experienced, we were gently guided to the finish line each day to be rewarded with a fabulous meal, a glass or two of wine and a comfy bed knowing that there was more to see the following day." Joanna from Sydney NSW, Australia 
This Walk was such a surprise for me, it was my fourth. I can honestly say a hidden gem. Yet again amazing scenery and interesting places to visit. The Michelin star Restaurant at our first hotel was a bonus. This would have to be one of my favourite walks done so far, but I seem to say that each time. Having Graeme as our Guide was special, he just makes everything seamless. His packing skills, very impressive. It's not just all of the above that make these walks great, but the people you meet along the way. Some great friends were made on this trip. Thank you Walkabout yet again." Robbie from Adelaide SA, Australia 
This was our fourth Walkabout trip and was in my view was the best. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the others but the format of just three stopping points and the chemistry of the group made this a very special time. I particularly liked the three locations we were based at; the quality of the accommodation and the meals was superb. Of course, the walks were special, hard on several days but that was part of the challenge. Superb weather was another feature. Our tour leader, Graeme was as always, a delight to be with. If I had a criticism it would be the food. It was superb in all ways, but three, four courses including cheese was at times just too much, but this is just a personal view. Our hosts at Mezenschwand deserve a special mention for the way they looked after us and especially their schnapps treat at each meal. They went that little bit further. Out visit to the Champagne vineyard was also a wonderful and informative time. As for the walks, without exception the scenery and quality was superb, although our tour leader's assessment of the degree of difficulty was questionable at times, but all part of the fun. Walkabout did themselves proud once again. Thanks for a memorable two weeks." Bruce from Christchurch, New Zealand 
This was our second walk with Walkabout Gourmet and was of the same high standard as our first, with the added bonus of staying 5 nights at 2 hotels. There was as much variety in the walks as you could wish for, the cool ambience of massive pine forests, open vistas through vineyards and rewarding scenery at the end of some challenging climbs. As well, the Gourmet expectations were more than met at each location, but special mention is deserved for Chateau de Courban, where the cuisine was a feast for the eyes. Thanks to Graeme's skills as a host and guide, our small group gelled for the duration of our Walkabout experience and we departed as so many of our fellow guests do, wondering which tour we'll do next. Peter and Joy, Sydney, 2019." Peter and Joy from Sydney NSW, Australia 
Taste of Europe was my first Walkabout trip and I loved every minute of it. The accommodation was excellent, and the organisation of the trip was outstanding. Our guide Graeme was both professional and friendly and really made the trip special. I loved the out of the way places we were taken to, places not normally seen when touring on your own, and the very special way we were treated by the hotels we stayed in. Will certainly be doing another trip in the next few years and would certainly recommend Walkabout to anyone who loves walking and travelling." Penny from Adelaide SA, Australia 
Graeme was the ultimate guide and host always. This was our 4th Walkabout and the hotels food and scenery were excellent. We managed 2 long days with pools to relax in afterwards. Our group of 11 included only 3 men but the women were a great credit to Australia generous, fun loving and caring. Only one-half day of rain. Grapes of all colours and excellent vintners to host us. Graeme reading to us of Renoir's life beside the river near Essoyes was special. One Michelin Star hotel with 5 Japanese chefs was superb. Nice having just 3 bases over the 14 days." Ruth from Christchurch, New Zealand 
Another memorable holiday with Walkabout Gourmet (our fifth). The three different locations provided a variety of walks and scenery, as well as delicious cuisine. After a long day's walking in Alsace, it was a delight to arrive at a little pâtisserie in the wine village of Barr, where we all enjoyed delicious treats such as 'tarte aux framboises'! The electric-bike ride in the Black Forest on the free day also provided an exciting diversion. Great group of fellow walkers - good company and lots of laughs! Special thanks to Graeme and Pascal." Jen and Barry from Sydney NSW, Australia 
A great holiday with probably the best company' we have experienced. Accommodation was great and staying 5nights at 2 hotels was a blessing not having to pack so much. The was excellent especially in France. The walks were very enjoyable despite being a little harder than I had expected but were quite manageable. All in a great holiday." Graham from Sydney NSW, Australia 
We loved our first WG tour. Graeme and Pasquale were wonderful guides: knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, discerning, patient! Food was great (especially at Courban). We loved the walks - they got better and better - and the scenery was all beautiful. Accommodation very good and we really enjoyed getting to know the group. Lots of drinks, food, conversations, great walks and laughter." Marian from Perth, WA, Australia 
The variety of walks was excellent across the three locations. It was great to complete in the Black Forest with improved level of fitness for us by then. The food experiences and bubbles in Champagne were not to be beaten. Such artistry in presentation and flavours each night was a definite treat. The flower villages in Alsace delightful too, not to forget the cakes to entice at the end of the longest days walks. Thanks Graeme and Pascal you were both fantastic guides, whatever happened to those goats? I wonder. It was good to be able walk at our pace even if slightly faster than some in the group. Good advice given re-use of poles. It was a great group, thanks to everyone for being so friendly and fun to walk with." Pamela from Taru, New Zealand 
Even some miserable weather could not dampen my praise for this journey. I think my fellow travellers will agree. They were a great group. There were so many highlights...but really I must single-out Graeme, for the organisation and management of the tour, and Pascal for his warmth and generosity at all times. The chateau and the food in Corban... amazing. A real taste of Alsace in beautiful Obernai. An amazing experience with Sabine & Sylvia at the hotel in Menzenschwand. Some of the walking was challenging but never more than the party could handle. The scenery and destinations were wonderful. Now where to next..." Chris from Bowral, NSW Australia 
My first trip with Walkabout Tours. What a wonderful experience... Would certainly recommend them to anyone. We would never have found our way along some of the tracks without our trusty guides, Graeme and Pascal. The views at the top of the mountains were spectacular... I just wish it had not been so hot. We did not need the heat wave that struck as we started the walk... Thank you for a great holiday!" Lyn from Brisbane, QLD Australia 
This was my first trip with Walkabout Gourmet but not my last! An exceptional experience! We were extended but not over extended. Graeme soon knew and understood each individual's capacity and we thrived on the attention and interest he gave (even with the wicked fibs he told to motivate us). We had just the right amount of walking, free time, eating, drinking and relaxing. Thank you fellow travelers and thank you Graeme" Gel from Lennox Head, NSW Australia 
Absolutely wonderful ! In every aspect..." Pat from New York, USA [ 2014]
Second walk with Walkabout Gourmet. Definitely a five star experience. We experienced places that we would never have found for ourselves. A highlight for me was walking alongside a shepherdess (with her crook), bringing her sheep down from the meadow. The extra litte bits of information provided by Graeme along the way just added to the overall enjoyment. Just fantastic and highly recommended" Shirley & Ted from Canberra, Australia 
Our fourth Walkabout tour and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Hoping to do more." Helen from Sydney, Australia 
We thoroughly enjoyed our walking trip, ''a little up and a little more down" was Graeme's catch-cry and so it was. We had great fun with Graeme and Pascal (who we introduced to Australian slang) and would recommend these trips to anyone seeking good company, food, wine and of course exercise. We hope to be able to enjoy another walk in the not too distant future. Thank you Graeme and Pascal, it was great. Sue & Keith from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia 
We enjoyed our walk. Great company and the best food and accommodation of all our four walks. Well done to our guides for answering the constant question...."are we there yet" and...."how many Ks to go"? Anthea & Hugh from Marcus Hill, VIC, Australia