Craftsmen made the stained glass — which is, essentially, melted sand — using a recipe I call “Stained Glass Supreme”: Melt one part sand with two parts wood ash. Alsatian towns like Eguisheim are historic mosaics mixing flower-bedecked fountains, cheery old inns, and characteristic wineries colored in with half-timbered pastels. Steve: Hey, it's called "mine.". — you’ve created a picture. And all these centuries as a political shuttlecock between Germany and France have given the Alsace a hybrid culture. Venus’ classic beauty was seen as the ideal of female grace. Verdun offers a memorable chance to revisit World War I. This art moment — a sampling of how we share our love of art in our tours — is an excerpt from the new, full-color coffee-table book, “Europe’s Top 100 Masterpieces,” by Rick Steves and Gene Openshaw. And that’s what we see in the Resurrection panel on the right. see our FAQ. But the recovery of this village is remarkable. In our France guidebook, Steve and I recommend a splurge at Restaurant Le Rapp. And as her knee points one way, her head turns the other. Because of the events depicted on the Bayeux tapestry, England got a stable government, contact with the rest of Europe, and a chance to eventually grow into a great European power. Europe was already in the grip of a classical fad, and this statue was a hit. — Harold gets hit with an arrow, right in the eye. In Gothic you've got pointed arches, not round arches — this is a Gothic innovation — which sends the weight of the roof out rather than down therefore we need buttresses to support the walls. Some towns were spared, while others were destroyed. Chamonix is in the valley floor, the great city of Lyon's about an hour that way, and we're gonna see 'em all. The Latin titles reinforce the main characters and key events. The Normans now ruled England. Rick: Steve, thanks for joining us. Long popular with French and German tourists, this well preserved old town of 70,000 is often overlooked and underrated by oversees travelers. In 1429, a young and charismatic Joan of Arc stood next to a reluctant Charles VII to ensure he accepted the crown of France. The snails were excellent, and for the main course it's quiche, lamb, and chicken; all prepared with an Alsatian flare. The casualty figures were numbing as day after day heroes of 19th-century wars waved their swords and thousands of troops climbed out of their trenches and ran into the bullets of 20th-century machine guns. Before posting, please read our Community Guidelines. Put it all together, and — voilà! And for Schongauer, nature is more than a backdrop. We'll be in Reims in 31 kilometers: that's about 20 miles. Join Rick as he experiences the local culture, cuisine and fun in some of Europe's most interesting places: Sicily, England, Scotland, Portugal, and Greece — plus multi-country … Each individual scene is interesting, and the whole effect is overwhelming. With a few key phrases you can get an egg on top of your grilled cheese sandwich, or just the right salad. This is the oldest barrel in the cellar. While the French claim it helps the digestion, for us it's simply an opportunity to sample some of the world's best cheeses with great red wine. Vintners here insist their area is the only place entitled to call its bubbly by that name. The Alsace — that's the area in between. Louis came upon the crown in Constantinople while on Crusade. Our tour concludes with one more salute to French culture. The cathedral of Reims is a glorious example of Gothic architecture. Historically, the Germans thought the mountains were the logical border The French thought the Rhine River was. Rick: Steve, what's this called? It was purpose-built by King Louis IX — the only French king who is also a saint — to house Jesus’ supposed Crown of Thorns. Steve and I like to illustrate the structure of a Gothic church by building one out of tourists. The story begins in London. In the final paintings, he cropped the scene ever closer, until there’s no reference point for the viewer — no shoreline, no horizon, no sense of what’s up or down…leaving you immersed in the experience. The face, while realistic and anatomically accurate, is also idealized — like a goddess, she’s too generic and too perfect. He spent the better part of his life expanding and supporting this effort, and in 1952 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Fiat lux. According to historical accounts, Harold fell from his horse. Jesus has come down into the world — the real world — as seen by the castle in the background. Now even the survivors of that war have died and little remains to remind us of the carnage. From a shocking lesson in 20th-century warfare we make our way next to the cathedral in Reims for a visit to one of Europe's greatest gothic cathedrals. The cathedral of Reims is a glorious example of Gothic architecture, and one of Europe's greatest churches. Although Colmar was his home, he spent most of his career in Paris, refusing to move back here while Alsace was German. But we're here in June. Rick Steves France, the complete guide, offers more coverage of more destinations in a mostly black-and-white format, and is updated annually. Well...this glass is empty and our visit is over. In 1914, Monet, now in his seventies, began a water-lily project on a massive scale. To catch our sightseeing breath between blockbuster sites, we enjoy relaxing at French cafés. Rick Steves Classroom Europe; just search for Sainte-Chappelle. Thanks, au revoir, merci. The hospital's goal, long before the age of pain killers, was to remind patients that Jesus understood their suffering. The region's many castles remind us that Alsace has been a long fought-over crossroads. Who was this beautiful woman? Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read Rick Steves France … The Alsace — that's the area in between. Four ribs come together to make a pointed arch, which supports the spire. And on feast days, the priest opened the Crucifixion up at the seam, to reveal the panels on the inside of the polyptych. The story they tell is that around 1700, after lots of fiddling with double fermentation, one of the monks developed the first Champagne. From our Alsatian home base in Colmar, we'll drive to Verdun, Reims and finish in Épernay. In this travel talk, Rick Steves guidebook co-author Steve Smith describes scintillating Paris, Normandy's D-Day beaches, Loire châteaux, Dordogne cave art, fortified Carcassonne, Burgundy vineyards, Alpine peaks, hill towns of Provence, and the glitzy French Riviera — and teaches skills for traveling in France. Architecturally speaking, these are ribs...forget the elbows. M is Mandrace and the other M is Mongold, so my grandfather and the grand-grandfather. Historic beauty was rarely an excuse to be spared the ravages of World War II. Here’s one of my favorites. The Ossuaire de Douaumont is the thought-provoking culmination of any visit to Verdun. Each lily is a tangled Impressionist smudge composed of several different-colored brushstrokes: green, red, white, lavender, blue. The patients lying in this hospital needed some hope that their suffering had a purpose. It’s all perfectly realistic: As the left leg rises, her right shoulder droops down. His favorite subject of all was the water lilies. The museum offers interesting historical detail describing the creation of Lady Liberty and displays many of Bartholdi's sculptures. France is one of the largest countries in Western Europe. The Memorial Museum de Fleury shows reconstructed scenes and models of the trench warfare that raged along the western front for over four years. France. He’d created what many have called the first modern “art installation.”. Knights on horseback charge, swordsmen clash, and archers launch arrows, leaving the battlefield strewn with mangled corpses. Like a graphic novel, the Bayeux Tapestry tells the mesmerizing story of how William the Conqueror and Harold of England competed for the English crown. The small family-run vineyards of many villages like Bennwihr sprang back as large, efficient and successful co-ops. This proudly decorated 16th-century building was the home of a wealthy Colmar merchant. That's the summit of Mont Blanc. Visitors delight in the region's distinctive cuisine and superb wines. It's the only blended Alsatian white wine. His once-plain burial shroud is now the colors of the rainbow (painted, legend says, by Grünewald’s assistant, Roy G. Biv). Standing like a flower-child referee between Germany and France, the Alsace has weathered many invasions. We head to Verdun to walk the trenches of World War I before visiting Reims Cathedral to marvel at Gothic splendor and Chagall's stained glass. Here in the Alsace, wine is the primary industry, topic of conversation, and perfect excuse for countless festivals. “Let there be light.” From the first page of the Bible, it’s clear: Light is divine. And the church is filled with history as well as light. From manger scenes and mistletoe to wintry wonderlands, RICK STEVES' EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS celebrates the Christmas season throughout the European continent. Get the most out of every day and dollar with Rick Steves France guidebooks, Snapshot guides and Pocket travel guides The unique Gewürztraminer and the Alsatian cuisine are a perfect match. Down-to-earth details keep you “reading.” The narrative is framed by a border (top and bottom) with more eye candy — some related to the story, some mere decoration. On October 14, Rick Steves hosted a virtual event with KCTS 9, A Conversation with Rick Steves. Monet never lived to see the canvases in their intended space. Steves, who has made traveling his life's work, is currently homebound in Edmonds, Washington. It's a tradition upon which much of the local folk culture is built. This little museum recalls the life and work of the local boy who gained fame by sculpting America's much-loved Statue of Liberty. Even vacationers traveling on a shoestring should spring for a fine meal in Alsace. ©2020 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | But just a short walk away is another stunning Parisian church, with the best stained glass anywhere. Steve: Now, I think of snails as Burgundian…. The devastation of World War II was a hit-or-miss affair in the Alsace. 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