10 parks and gardens to discover in Alsace

temple-weiterswiller-garden

There's no shortage of parks and gardens in Alsace. Impossible to list them all, but here's a selection of parks that the team particularly enjoys. We've selected parks and gardens all over Alsace in a wide variety of styles to suit all tastes. In any case, these are pleasant places where you can take a breath of fresh air, fill up on greenery and disconnect for a stroll...

Laurène
Laurène
Laurène is the blog's creator. Originally from Brittany but now living in Alsace, she has fallen in love with her adopted region and loves exploring its every nook and cranny to unearth great ideas to share with you!

1. Parc de Wesserling in Husseren-Wesserling

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Located in Husseren-Wesserling in the Saint-Amarin Valley, Parc de Wesserling is a multifaceted site steeped in the industrial and cultural history of Alsace. Originally a hunting lodge in the 17th century, it became a major royal canvas factory in the 18th century, before declining from the 1930s onwards. Bought by the Regional Council in 1986, the site has been brilliantly restored and is now a unique industrial heritage site in France.

The park offers a variety of attractions, from remarkable gardens to a textile eco-museum and artistic creation spaces. Events and activities, such as dramatized tours and demonstrations of antique textile crafts, are organized on a regular basis. It is also home to creative boutiques and workshops, as well as a craft brewery. The tour will appeal to visitors of all ages: children love this park, and so do their parents! For more information, please see my article dedicated to the Parc de Wesserling.

  • Take a leisurely stroll in the park
  • Visit the textile eco-museum
  • To be able to buy vegetables from the garden
  • Partner of the Pass Alsace
  • NoĂ«l au Jardin is another way to experience Christmas in Alsace, complementary to the Christmas markets.
  • See the wonder in the eyes of the kids and the adults too!
  • The conviviality of the chalet at the end of the walk
  • Be sure to inquire in advance, not everything is open (especially designer workshops)

2. Mulhouse Zoological and Botanical Park

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Mulhouse Zoo is often first thought of as an animal park, but the park is actually a zoological and botanical park. It’s a veritable institution in Alsace, combining flora and fauna in a 25-hectare green setting. Located in the heart of the city, this park is not only a place for environmental education, but also a place for families to relax and enjoy themselves.

Botanically speaking, the park is a haven of biodiversity. It is home to over 3,000 species and varieties of trees and plants, in themed gardens such as the English Garden, the French Garden and the Tropical Greenhouse. These spaces offer an educational and sensory walk through a variety of exotic plants, century-old trees and colorful flowerbeds.

  • A wealth of plant and tree species
  • Very nice place for a walk
  • Park open every day of the year
  • Partner of the Pass Alsace
  • I always feel a little sad when I see animals locked up. But at the same time, it allows certain species to continue to exist…

3. Weiterswiller Zen Temple garden

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Nestling close to La Petite Pierre, the Ryumon Ji Zen Temple in Weiterswiller is an unusual Buddhist monastery in Alsace. Founded in 1999, it is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of a small village on the edge of a large forest. Not only is it inhabited by a community of monks and nuns following the precepts of the SĂ´tĂ´ Zen school, it is also open to visitors and laypeople.

As soon as you walk through the front door, the temple ‘s soothing atmosphereenvelops you. You are free to explore the garden, which is a natural setting including a vegetable garden, a herb garden and a stone garden. The Buddhist chapel is also open to all for prayer, meditation or simple relaxation.

In addition to self-guided tours, guided tours are organized on request on Saturdays for groups of at least 5 people. The temple also organizes meditation retreats every 15 days and welcomes those wishing to live in the community for varying lengths of time. The community’s warm welcome makes the place even more inviting, making the Weiterswiller Zen Temple a true source of inspiration and rejuvenation. Read my article on the Weiterswiller Zen Temple for more information.

  • Beautiful and soothing place
  • Gardens and chapel in free access
  • Community welcome on site
  • Village of Weiterswiller
  • Nothing!

4. Domaine de la LĂ©onardsau, Obernai

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I discovered the Domaine de la LĂ©onardsau by chance, when I came to Obernai (at the foot of the Mont Sainte-Odile), in the place called Saint-LĂ©onard to visit the Marqueterie d’art Spindler. The place looked great, so I decided to go for a walk after my visit.

Good thing I did, I discovered a beautiful place although it is not well known. The Leonardsau estate includes a castle and a park of 9 hectares. The castle is unfortunately closed, but there are plans to rehabilitate it as an exhibition space. For the moment, we can only admire it from the outside, which is already appreciable considering the beauty and originality of the building. The park is open to the public and it is therefore possible to walk around freely.

On a foggy autumn day, my walk was nonetheless pleasant. The Domaine de la LĂ©onardsau is a true haven of peace! This is the kind of garden I prefer: structured but not too much, leaving room for the natural beauty of the landscape. On a beautiful summer day, we would like to sit on its large lawns with a book or to have a picnic with the family.

  • Beauty of the castle and the park
  • Quietness of the domain
  • Closed castle

5. Sekitei Japanese garden in Mulhouse

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This garden was visited by LĂ©a and Vivine – Not far from the downtown MulhouseA place that’s simply incredible… A place that’s simply incredible… A place that’s simply incredible… A place that’s simply incredible. traditional Japanese garden ! It has been fitted out by Éric, a passionate amateur who has become an expert in 15 years. one-and-a-half-hour guided tour to discover this universe.

It is important to know that a Japanese garden cannot be visited alone because everything has a meaning and a symbolism: the layout of the stones and the patterns of the “dry garden”, the tsukubai (fountain to purify oneself), the lanterns, the orientation of the pond where the koi carp swim…

As soon as you enter the gate, you can feel that a change of scenery is imminent. Nothing is left to chance between the mineral and the vegetable. “There are a lot of fences because the goal is not to show everything right away but to reveal as you go along, to guess,” explains Eric, who welcomes you in traditional garden shoes. Don’t expect to find a lot of flowers, the Japanese garden plays a lot on the shades of green. There are about thirty varieties of maple trees.

Without being experts, we can only marvel at the beauty of the details, the strong symbolic emphasis of the hardwoods and stones. Eric’s passion is benevolent and communicative, it makes us want to learn more and more by looking. It is a living canvas before us, full of materials and colors that are particularly beautiful in spring and fall.

We came out of it simply soothed, disoriented and without having taken the plane! Since in Japan what is beautiful is hidden, come and explore and leave Zen 🙂

  • To be transported into another culture by the power of plant art
  • Discover the symbols of the Japanese garden with an enthusiast
  • Nothing!

6. Stair garden in Brumath

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This garden was visited by LĂ©a – Visiting a splendid Japanese garden in Mulhouse gave me the urge to green walks ! That’s how I discovered the garden of L’Escalier de Brumathlabelled Remarkable garden and located 10 minutes from Strasbourg by train or 20 minutes by car. Michelle, the very nice owner of the place, has imagined different atmospheres on 2 900 square meters.

More of an art gallery or a garden?

We are welcomed by a tokonoma, a small alcove with plants and Japanese decoration, then an alley lined with Mediterranean species. Then you have the choice of visiting the art gallery, whose exhibitions change regularly, or passing by the garden.

We really enjoyed meandering between the rose bower or the thematic squares inspired by medieval gardens, admiring the beautifully trimmed fruit trees or coming across the chickens roaming free at the bend in the path!

The Japanese space in the garden of L’Escalier

At the end of the garden, a Japanese-inspired space allows you to sit in the shade of the bamboo and enjoy the sound of the fountain. The garden of L’Escalier also includes several ponds and facilities to rest and take time to admire the many varieties of trees, shrubs, vegetables, climbers, herbs….

Last space: the solarium and the tea house, unfortunately not accessible to our visit. All in all, it was a very nice and quiet time, and we had a lot of fun finding the decorative finds, sculptures or insect trees scattered in the garden 🙂 I also like the idea that Michelle maintains her garden without chemicals and practices permaculture and compost.

I would gladly come back at another time of the year or to try the brunch. My only small regret: the explanation sheet with the map, given for the free visits, was not very detailed and precise! Maybe we should have opted for the guided tour. Finally, if you are not from the area, you should know that Michelle also has rooms and a table d’hĂ´tes.

  • The different moods of the garden
  • Being able to sit back and take your time
  • The garden is maintained without chemicals
  • Accessible by train from Strasbourg
  • The explanation sheet given for the open house is not very clear

7. Charles de Reinach Park in Hirtzbach

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Here’s ClĂ©mence’s experience of this park – Hirtzbach is in the Sundgau region of southern Alsace. It is in the heart of this small village that we took our quarters, in the De Reinach park, for a summer picnic with the family! Sometimes, there is no need to go far to feel different! The proof? 20 minutes from my home, we wanted to try the Charles de Reinach Park in Hirtzbach, discovered in a leaflet of the Sundgau Tourist Office dedicated to families.

The village of Hirtzbach

What a nice surprise! Hirtzbach is a cute little village south of Altkirch in the Sundgau. Following the stream that crosses it, we see some pretty half-timbered houses with, as was the custom, the date of construction and the name of the owners inscribed above the front door. There is also an 18th century castle surrounded by a park. It still belongs to the De Reinach-Hirtzbach family who occupy it all year round. Even though the castle is clearly visible through the gates, it is not open to the public.

But, by the way, what is this park?

We arrive at our subject: the park Charles De Reinach, lent by the family of the same name to the municipality in 1982, is a bucolic park, with bodies of water, very raised and flowered. It is an English garden that Charles De Reinach had laid out in the 19th century. There are a few curiosities: several chalets straight out of the Swiss Alps that were used to store logs, hay or carts… And above all, the last ice house in the Sundgau that you can get into. Its very thick stone walls and no windows isolated it completely from the outside world and allowed the ice collected from the pond in winter to be stored there until the following autumn (does this remind you of a Disney cartoon, perhaps? Yes, the Snow Queen!).

What to do on the nature side!

Most of the gardens give the impression of being natural, but that’s the charm of English gardens: an impression of letting nature take over, when in fact they are very well thought out and maintained.

Of course, there is no playground but, with the children, you can take the time to observe the animals of the park: the blue dragonflies and the colorful butterflies which are numerous in summer or the ducks which waddle at the edge of one of the three water bodies. There are also panels to learn more about the birds and trees of the park, some of which, which have been around for several generations and are rare to find in Alsace, are classified. It is under their leaves that we choose to rest to picnic after the discovery of the park!

And art as a cherry on top of the cake…

In the gardens of the park are also hidden some modern works of art that decorate the gardens. Among them, we met little leprechauns and witches who made a strong impression on our little loulou (for reminder, he is not yet 4 years old!).

In short, a real haven of peace for 2 to 3 hours: count on a 45-minute walk and then, it all depends on how long your picnic and… your nap last! And you, do you have a “favorite” park where you feel out of place every time you stop there?

  • The colors! Those of the flowers, the trees, the dragonflies…
  • The variety of gardens in this not so large space
  • Old buildings: whatever their condition, they have charm.
  • Modern works of art
  • There are no games for children, even though the sights of the park have already kept them busy!
  • We would like this park to be at least 3 times bigger to spend even more time there 🙂

8. Fort Uhrich in Illkirch-Graffenstaden

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This park was visited by LĂ©a – I love it when Strasbourg has surprises in store, don’t you? The most recent of these is Fort Uhrich, a lovely green oasis almost right in the middle of the city, as it is located in Illkirch-Graffenstaden, on the outskirts of Strasbourg. It is one of 14 former military sites, located in the Strasbourg region and in Germany, which can be reached by bike thanks to an 85 km loop called the Trail of the Forts . Don’t worry: you don’t have to do the whole route, you can reach Fort Uhrich directly by taking the beautiful Rhone-Rhine Canal.

After walking around the outside of the site on a pleasant shady path, we reached the entrance of the fort. We discover the place thanks to multiple small paths and views of the old ditches filled with water, where ducks splash and water lilies grow. Several explanatory panelsinform us about the fauna, flora and history of Fort Uhrich.

Built between 1873 and 1876 by the Prussians, it was the victim of a fire in 1944. It has never been rebuilt or restored. That’s what makes it so charming. Some constructions, such as the entrance or the fortifications, were less affected by the fire. Others remain as remnants, only visible through the vegetation. Or how nature has taken over!

The trees are particularly beautiful, Fort Uhrich is a green setting that gives the impression of being in the countryside. It is an original idea for an outing with family, friends or as a couple. Moreover there are picnic tables for the beautiful days. Just pay attention to the opening hours: the site is open every day from 8am to 8pm but remains closed in winter. Thanks to my colleague VĂ©ro for this great discovery!

  • Discover an original place where nature has reclaimed its rights
  • The explanation panels well
  • The fort is not open all year round

9. Jardins de GaĂŻa, Wittisheim

Les Jardins de GaĂŻa is an Alsatian company specialized in organic and fair trade teas. It is located in Wittisheim, in the ried of Alsace, 10km from SĂ©lestat. You can also visit the company’s headquarters, where you’ll find Japanese gardens and a tea room. For tea and Zen garden lovers, this is the place for you!

Les Jardins de GaĂŻa garden and tea house

I have already been to Les Jardins de GaĂŻa Tea House several times. The tea room is a nice place, very soothing. The interior room lacks a little charm for my taste, but the whole point of this tea house is its long, shady terrace surrounded by Zen gardens.

Six plant and mineral gardens surround the tea house. These are Karesansui gardens, i.e. without water: concentric shapes in crushed granite represent the water. These gardens are contemplative gardens: it is impossible to enter them, as tradition dictates that you observe the gardens from a different angle from each corner of the Tea House, without ever entering them…

On the menu, a huge choice of teas and herbal teas from Les Jardins de GaĂŻa, all of very good quality, and some cold drinks. Black tea, green tea, roiboos, herbal teas… You may spend some time choosing, I warn you!

Attend a Japanese or Chinese tea ceremony in Alsace

Have you ever attended a tea ceremony? This is the experience offered by Les Jardins de GaĂŻa several Saturdays a month, by reservation only. Depending on the dates, it is possible to choose between a Chinese or Japanese tea ceremony. I attended a Japanese tea ceremony, conducted by a Tea Master from Hiroshima. It’s an experience I’d definitely recommend, as it’s original, exotic and soothing!

  • Contemplative gardens: another way to discover gardens!
  • Large, soothing outdoor terrace
  • Huge selection of excellent teas
  • The interior room lacks charm
  • I wish I had a bigger teapot!

10. Strasbourg parks

An article dedicated to Strasbourg’s various parks is currently being written and will be available soon!

Other parks and gardens in Alsace

Here are some other parks and gardens that we haven’t (yet!) tested, but have already spotted and are certainly worth a visit:

Parks and gardens map