The village of Mittelbergheim, surrounded by vines on the hillside at the foot of Mont Saint Odile on the Route des Vins, is definitely worth a visit. There are no half-timbered houses here, or not many, but Renaissance buildings of local red sandstone instead. Every stone, every building tells the story of this village which has retained its character over the centuries. Vineyard owners’ houses opening onto large courtyards are a delight to behold and don’t forget to go to the Renaissance Hotel de Ville (town hall) to see the « Weinschlag », a precious collection of information about vineyards and wine dating back to 1510. The remarkable architectural heritage of the village has led to its classification as one of the « Loveliest Villages in France ». It was also voted France’s 2nd favourite village in 2018.
Finally, follow the Route des Potiers around the Haguenau Forest (one of the largest in France) to Betschdorf, where potters have been making world-famous stoneware vitrified with salt and decorated with cobalt blue patterns since the 18th century. Round off your visit at the Pottery Museum which traces the history of this ancestral craft.
Further on, in the village of Soufflenheim you can discover the work of clay potters who make cookware decorated with traditional coloured patterns like Kugelhopf moulds, sauerkraut and Baeckeoffe casseroles. The first traces of this ceramic activity date back to the Bronze Age. Around 15 potteries are open every day and offer free tours of their workshops.