In Altkirch, in the Sundgau (southern Alsace), the Christmas period is the occasion to discover a forest of tales and legends. The Enchanted Forest of Altkirch is different from the traditional Alsatian Christmas markets and allows you to live a Christmas experience with your kids. There is also a Christmas village, an ice rink and storytelling tours!
But where exactly did the idea of presenting tales and legends come from? In the Sundgau, legends have an important place in local traditions. And yes, at that time, the night and the omnipresent cold gave rise to many legends, sometimes quite dark.
Tales and legends of Sundgau…
We chose to discover the different tales by participating in a storytelling tour. Their staging alone is worth it: it is not lacking in humor. But it’s even better with a passionate storyteller who will make you live the tales and legends presented. The children, yes even they, remained particularly attentive. The theme of the year in my little loulou’s class is… storytelling! He listens carefully to the storyteller, especially during the story of Hansel and Gretel.
The tour lasted an hour and a half. We have “crossed” a dozen tales, from the Sundgau or more widely known, including :
- The damsel and the fountain
- Hansel and Gretel
- Les Fouletots (with a game to win a trip!)
- At the Farm with geese and rabbits
- The Ogre of Bombach
- The 2 Fir trees of the Sainte Aurélie church
We came at the end of the period so the village of the craftsmen was already closed. Note that there are also exhibitions every year at the Sundgauvian Museum and at the CRAC (Regional Center for Contemporary Art).
Take advantage of your winter walk to discover the street-art frescoes: the city of Altkirch is full of them!
The Fireflies Cave
A little further in the village, we stopped at the surprising “Grotte aux Lucioles“, a place created by a private couple. Here, several spaces follow one another: we start with the cave all illuminated with fairies, elves, trolls… Then we arrive in front of a window that protects… a huge model train! The kids love it. And in the meantime, parents can observe every detail and character in the scene. Layout artists are often great pranksters! We then go to the lair of the… Lord of the Rings! The couple collects the characters of size life of an orc in Frodo Saquet while passing obviously by Gandalf or Gimli. A final room is filled with old-fashioned porcelain dolls and automaton sprites. Santa’s elves? The mystery remains…
The visit takes about 30 minutes but it is an unusual little detour before leaving Altkirch.
- The captivating stories of the storyteller
- Research in the staging of stories
- The tale “Les Fouletots” staged in the form of a game: it keeps the children busy if they do not visit the Enchanted Forest as part of a storytelling tour.
I liked less
- The cold… but no one could do anything about that!
- The fact that you have to take the car to go to the different places of animations
My photos of the Enchanted Forest of Altkirch
3 € per person for the guided tour
4 € for the Grotte aux Lucioles
Consult the website of the Sundgau Tourist Office for the schedule of the different events (village of craftsmen, exhibitions, ice rink…)
Altkirch is located in:
- 20 kms from Mulhouse (about 30 minutes)
- 64 kms from Colmar (about 55 minutes)
- 136 kms from Strasbourg (about 1 hour 30)
By public transport
By TER : from Strasbourg and Colmar with a change in Mulhouse. Direct from Mulhouse.