Andlau, a picturesque, medieval village that traces its origins to the foundation of its Abbey by Ste. Richarde in 880. Repudiated by her husband Charles le Gros, the truculent ruler of France, she returned to her birthplace and to the monastery she had founded previously. The fountain in the village square is capped by a statue of Ste. Richarde and her bear and there are several other references to its founder throughout the village and inside the abbey.
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Our apartment is situated in a "classified" building that forms part of the Abbey complex. Originally constructed in 1740, it was gutted about 22 years ago and completely rebuilt using modern materials and methods on the inside, while maintaining its historical exterior. Because the three gabled windows overlook the Abbey and its courtyard, the hourly chiming of the church bells clearly contributes to the ambiance of the apartment, although it takes a little time getting used to them.
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There is so much to write about the Alsace that we cannot do the region justice on this web page. The food and wines are simply superb! The medieval villages, castles, museums, cathedrals and myriad other attractions make it a wonderful region to visit for one who indulges in history. The people share many of the finest qualities of their French and German ancestry, and despite their recent turbulent history (or perhaps because of it), one senses a gentle "joie de vivre" which permeates throughout the region. You can't visit the Alsace quickly. Relax, take a big breath and enjoy!
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The Andlau Abbey was founded in 880 by Ste. Richarde, wife of the truculent Charles le Gros, grandson of Charlemagne. She had befriended a female bear and determined to establish an abbey where the bear pawed the ground. The tower is the most recent structure dating to the 18th century. The crypts are 12th century. The abbey is most famous for the Roman Frieze on its exterior, the earliest such sculpture in the Alsace.
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