0033 3 88 97 02 42
Price Band **
Here at last is the acknowledgements section of the book. In all our weeks on the road, Corinne Metzger is the only hotelier who has offered to transport our bags – she insisted on it – to the next stopover. The fact that this was only 10 miles away by the most direct route, instead of our usual sixty, may have had something to do with it, along with the dishevelled and distressed impression we may have given on arrival, late, at the end of a long and tiring day.
In a mountain region – the Vosges – more accustomed to hosting fitter and younger cyclists than us, she may have felt we needed any help she could offer. Anyway, after a token protest we accepted gratefully. Merci infiniment, madame. À la prochaine fois, we sincerely hope, because the Metzger is one of the stopovers we remember most fondly, and we would feel the same even if we had pedalled away weighed down by our usual burden. It is a super little hotel in a beautiful place, high above the Bruche Valley and Schirmeck, half way up the long climb to the Champ du Feu and la Route des Crêtes. The fact that it breaks the climb is not the least of its attractions.
Metzger means butcher in German, but there is no suggestion the family had anything to do with the atrocities carried out a few miles up the hill at the Nazi concentration camp known as Natzweiler, the only place of its kind in France. Now called le Struthof, it has been preserved as a monument, and makes a compelling visit.
Alsace invites stereotyping. A cliché waiting to happen, if it hasn’t already, is that the region combines French savoir vivre with German order. Good food and drink, sound plumbing. Flair and function. More than most other places, the Metzger seems to bear this out. The bedrooms are bright, modern and well-equipped and there is a crisp white spick and spanness to the entire place that may come as a surprise in a remote French mountain village. And Yves Metzger is a fine cook. We arrived on Sunday evening, when you expect French chefs to be relaxing with their feet up after the exertions of the lunchtime service. Not a bit of it. Madame Metzger was dressed for duty and the embodiment of elegance, her husband was busy behind the scene and the dining room was packed. Succulent young boar arrived with chanterelles and a good pinot noir on the side, followed by a chaud froid aux myrtilles. It was after we had adjourned to the bar for a fruit schnapps tasting with Yves Metzger, that his wife made us an offer we could not refuse.
Our only complaint is that we were sent back down to the entrance to the village – and it is quite a long way down – before continuing up the mountain in the morning. No doubt this would be the right course in a car. But on a bicycle you do not care to lose hard won altitude unnecessarily, and we felt sure we could have pushed our bikes up through the steep village to join the main road higher up.
Price bands: from * (B&B for less than 50 euros per person in a shared room) to ***** (expect to pay at least 175 euros)