Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

Fountains and flowers, neatly swept alleys, French sentences flowing into Alsatian German and back again, plus the inevitable choucroute, all combine to make Wissembourg one of Europe's most appealing small towns.

article summary —

The perfect September day in Wissembourg might start with a coffee or two sitting at one of the little tables outside La Vignette and end with a glass of wine at L’Espérance — best enjoyed on the lawn by the stream that runs in front of the café. The hours in between might profitably be occupied by doing nothing more demanding than strolling the streets of Wissembourg, exploring the town’s ramparts and the vineyards, meadows and forests beyond. The small town in the French département of Bas-Rhin is Alsace pure and simple. Choucroute and flammekueche come as standard fare, Wissembourg’s cafés are awash with tempting Alsace wines, and you are never more than a minute’s walk from running water.

Wissembourg is a place over which armies once fought.

This is just an excerpt. The full text of this article is not yet available to members with online access to hidden europe. Of course you can also read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 28.


Nicky Gardner is editor of hidden europe and also the principal author of the magazine. Where a text is not specifically attributed to an author, it is the work of Nicky. Below, you’ll find a small selection of her articles in hidden europe magazine. Nicky also writes regularly for other media. She is co-author (with Susanne Kries) of the book Europe by Rail: The Definitive Guide, the 17th edition of which was published 2022.

Nicky Gardner was liberated from a life enslaved to performance indicators and business plans to become a travel writer. She gives thanks for that daily. Nicky writes about culture and communities, about memorable landscapes and also about journeys. Over the years she's picked up a thing or two about product life cycles, the book trade and publishing, ticketing APIs, how libraries work and the high theology of grant giving.

Nicky reads geography books, railway timetables and maps entirely for pleasure - and lots of real books too! She loves nothing more than a slow meander by public transport around some unsung part of Europe. Nicky is particularly interested in issues of identity and culture in eastern Europe and the Balkans, in linguistic minorities and in island communities. Her pet loves are public libraries, Armenian food and anything coloured purple. Nicky cannot abide suburban sprawl, supermarkets and fast trains. Nicky has since 2007 been a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Nicky is especially keen on historical travel writing: Edith Durham, Gertrude Bell and Isabelle Eberhardt are among her favourites. Nicky can be contacted at editors [at] hiddeneurope.eu.

This article was published in hidden europe 28.