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Online Program

Adventures Online: The Best of Alsace, France

Program No. 24228RJ
If you’re a Francophile, join us for a live, virtual learning adventure in the heart of Alsace that shares the very best of this historic and beautiful region of France.

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At a Glance

Nestled along the border between France and Germany, Alsace has an essence that is truly its own. Discover the very best of Alsace and its environs on this online learning adventure, live from France! With local experts, enjoy lectures and presentations on the history of the region, its abbeys and cathedrals, and get insight into the French and German border. Embark on virtual field trips to explore Alsace’s main cities of Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse, explore quaint medieval villages, and trace the history of the world wars as you gain insight into trenches, the Strutthof concentration camp and the Kaysersberg cemetery along the border. Throughout your virtual journey, get to know your fellow Road Scholars as you learn about wines and Munster cheese, marvel in castles and learn more about the people who inhabit this truly beautiful region of France.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Get to know the three main cities of Alsace — Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse — during a virtual exploration of their picturesque streets and museums.
  • Journey back to medieval times during a virtual field trip to Eguisheim, a village known for its medieval remains, as well as the villages of Kayersberg, Riquewihr, Ribeauville and Obernai.
  • Learn more about the border between France and Germany during a virtual field trip that offers a look at mountain peaks, castles and iconic landmarks from the world wars.

General Notes

You’ll enjoy 2-3 hours of daily instruction, discussion and/or field trips, which includes sufficient breaks throughout the program. This online program is through Zoom, an easy-to-use web video service that includes closed captioning. All you need is an Internet connection and your computer. We’ll provide a how-to guide to make sure you’ll have a hassle-free experience. In keeping with our Traditional On-Site programs, ALL ADVENTURES ONLINE MULTI-DAY PROGRAMS (INCLUDING THIS PROGRAM) ARE PRESENTED LIVE; THESE PROGRAMS ARE NOT RECORDED. Please review the daily itinerary for start and end times to ensure you won’t miss a minute of this live experience. All times are listed in the EASTERN time zone. If you live in a different time zone, please adjust your schedule accordingly.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A World Lit Only By Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance, Portrait of an Age
by William Manchester
Organized into sections on the Renaissance, Reformation and Discovery, Manchester's popular history evokes in vivid detail the great figures and daily life of the 16th century, including Henry VIII, Magellan, Borgia, da Vinci and Martin Luther.
The Food of France
by Waverly Root
An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).
The Age of the Cathedrals, Art and Society 980-1420
by Georges Duby
French scholar Duby, writing very accessibly, describes both the great cathedrals and the philosophical, religious, and political climate that enabled them to be built in this classic.
Wine and War, The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
by Donald Kladstrup
This thrilling account of how the vintners of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached, focuses on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.
Michelin Green Guide Alsace, Lorraine, Champagne
by Michelin Travel Publications
A guide to Alsace, Champagne and Vosges in the classic Michelin style.
Cathedrals and Castles, The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages
by Alain Erlande-Brandenburg
This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a brief chronology.
Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer's Tour of France
by Kermit Lynch
A delightful and warmly anecdotal book, highly recommended for anyone touring the wine regions of France. Lynch brings the domains and appellations of French wine to full-blown life, and his portraits of the grand personalities who make the wine are priceless.
A Traveller's History of France
by Robert Cole
This fast-moving survey covers the conquests of ancient Gaul through the heady days of revolution to modern times.
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3 days
Orientation, Introductions, Alsace History, Three Cities
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and end at 5:30 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Welcome, Orientation, Introductions. Our Group Leader will greet everyone and review the program theme, the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, Zoom meeting protocols, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions. We will then say hello to our fellow Road Scholars and our Study Leaders. 2:30 p.m. Lecture. We’ll learn about the history of Alsace, once considered too German to be French and too French to be German. Habitation has been traced back over millennia. It was settled by Celts around 1500 BCE and more than 1,400 years later by the Romans. The region’s fertility and strategic location resulted in many invasions and changes of hands right up through the 20th century. 3:00 p.m. Break. 3:05 p.m. Virtual field trip. The three main cities of Alsace are Strasbourg, Colmar, and Mulhouse. With our Study Leader, we will see charming streets, visit museums, and learn more about the distinctive histories of each city. 5:00 p.m. We’ll have a Q&A session following by wrap-up and notes for tomorrow. 5:30 p.m. Today’s session will end.

Abbeys & Cathedrals, Eguisheim, Architecture, Wine & Cheese
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time and end at 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Lecture. The cultural heritage of Alsace includes hundreds of abbeys, churches, and one of the world’s most extraordinary cathedrals. We will learn about the of devotion age that led to their construction. 2:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. Among the charms of Alsace are villages that retain characteristic elements of other ages. Highlights include Eguisheim, designated as one of Les Plus Beaux Villages de France — Most Beautiful Villages of France — as well as Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Obernai. We will see some of the castles and picturesque medieval architecture that make Alsace exceptional. We’ll also “meet” a wine producer who will tell us about the wines of Alsace and iconic Munster cheese that has been produced here since the 7th Century. 4:30 p.m. Break. 4:35 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up, and notes for tomorrow. 5:00 p.m. Today’s session will end.

Between France & Germany, Monuments & Memorials
From the comfort of your own home.

Activity note: Today’s session will start at 2:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: 2:00 p.m. Lecture. France shares borders with Belgium, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and — most significantly in relation to Alsace — Germany. The original inhabitants were conquered by Rome in the 1st Century BCE. They, in turn, were overrun by Germanic peoples who were later conquered by the Franks. In the modern era, the last change of nationality was after World War II. We will learn about this tangled skein of borders and identities over the centuries and how they have affected those who live there. 2:30 p.m. Virtual field trip. Our exploration today will help us understand more about the “border” concept as we examine some of the most significant monuments, memorials, and significant places. We’ll reach the summits of the Grand Ballon — Großer Belchen in German — the highest peak in the Vosges Mountains; Mont Sainte-Odile — Odilienberg in German — with its renowned abbey and enigmatic pagan wall; and pause atop Donon, the “sacred mountain” that was the site of heavy fighting between French and German troops during World War I. We’ll also see other fortified places of the past overlooking the Rhine, among which the most sensational is the Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg, built in the 12th Century. We will mark the memory of two World Wars in Alsace as we see Le Linge, with its remains of German trenches; the necropolis of Kaysersberg; the Memorial of the Ligne Maginot in Markolsheim; and the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in Schirmeck. We will end our field trip at the Memorial d’Alsace Moselle, a fascinating museum exhibiting the history and memories from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870 to the present day. 4:30 p.m. Break. 4:35 p.m. Q&A, wrap-up, and notes for tomorrow. 5:00 p.m. This concludes our program.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.