Where to base ourselves (where to drive) from Stuttgart in the (rough) direction of France?

I've been enjoying and learning from the comments and suggestions here ... and I fully expect to do my own detailed research, not ask others to do it for me. What we're seeking are key suggestions for best base(s) for day driving trips on smaller, interesting roads, starting from Stuttgart and generally heading to France.

We are two experienced European travelers (60s) who have not spent much time in Germany as yet. Like a few others here we are picking up a new car (Porsche Boxter) at the factory in Stuttgart, then driving for about two weeks before returning the car to the factory and taking off for Italy and Greece.

During these two weeks we also plan, if time allows, driving into France to explore the Lorraine and Alsace regions.

Germany so far is a mystery I'd like your collective help in unraveling!

Posted by Pamela
New York City, NY, USA
4389 posts

Many years ago than I care to think about, I was a student south of Stuttgart. The Neckar River Valley is quite beautiful although not well known. We were in a small town, Eningen under Achalm. It's smack dab in the middle of the Schwabishe Alb. The area is basically a plateau that has been cut through by rivers. Here's the Wikipedia link. Here's another link that may be useful.

I did do a weekend in Strasbourg, so that's a great idea. Ulm might be a place to explore. Also, Tubingen is an interesting University town. We saw the Fasching parade there. Heidelberg is not far.

If you happen upon my little town of Eningen, (near Reutlingen) go to Der Wolf gasthof and eat the Wurst Salad. Dinkelacker was the most common beer when we were there. Climbing the Achalm was something everyone of us did at least once.

Pam

Posted by Kathy
Germany, Germany
813 posts

My suggestion is to head to Colmar or Mulhouse on the German 5 (autobahn is better on this side) or French A35 (cross over into France on the 500, at Iffezheim it's so much easier than Kehl) directly. Then take the wine route road (smaller road) back north through Riquewihr, Obernai, Strasbourg, Soufflenheim, Speyer, then over to Heidelberg and back down to Stuttgart. You could easily do that in a week and go at your leisure.

To make it a 2 week trip I suggest two alternates:
First, head straight from Stuttgart down to Zurich or Lucerne, stop in Meersburg, too. Maybe down to Lausanne/Montreux, up through Basel and back to the route suggested above. OR go Zurich, Lucerne, Interlaken to Basel (watch your speeds in Switerland in that new Porsche!). Then connect up to the wine route above. It is some driving, but you're testing out the new car, so cut short the driving or lingering as you please.
Second choice is do the above STR, Colmar, but after heading back north at Strasbourg, turn off west to Metz, go through Luxembourg, Trier, a few other cutesy Mosel river towns, then continue down to Heidelberg, back to Stuttgart.

Don't forget to leave time to see Stuttgart, including Ludwigsburg and Esslingen! Enjoy!

Posted by Wil
IJzendijke, The Netherlands
545 posts

Molsheim, 30km west of Strassbourg you can drive over the D392 along the Bugatti factory and to see it from a distance, and Bugattiā€™s house Le Chateau Saint Jean, no visit allowed though.
In Mulhouse not to miss the Bugatti museum there.

Posted by Susan
Columbus, USA
104 posts

I know you might already have this on your agenda, but make time to visit the Porsche Museum. They have a lot of cool cars! I was also really really impressed with the Mercedes Museum. I loved the way they integrated what was going on in the world with the development of the car. When we were finished I couldn't believe we had spent 4 hours there.

We really enjoyed Tuebingen. I think we would have enjoyed it regardless that my husband's family is from there and we were there to attend a family reunion:) I would like to go back and explore the nature around Bebenhausen too.

We also visited St Avold France and the American Military Cemetery. Again we visited for family reasons, (My great uncle is burried there) so I am not sure if it is of interest. It was crazy how many white markers there were.

I wish we could have spent more time around Bregenz Austria and Lindau Germany on this past trip too.

Lake Constance also has many things to do. In high school, we visited Minau and the botanical gardens there. It was so beautiful. I think I would have greater appreciation for in now though:). We also visited the Clock Museum in Furtwangen.

Posted by Antony
Caspar, CA, United States
23 posts

Great suggestions, all, thank you! I'll be plotting these and making up some routes. As it turns out we're starting (without a car) from Zurich, spending a couple of days in Switzerland, before taking the train to Stuttgart, so we don't plan to drive that far south once we have the car. Visiting the Porsche museum is part of the deal. We both are classically trained musicians, so we also want to keep an ear out for chamber music, orchestras, festivals, etc. Plus photography, castles, and twisty roads. Sounds good, doesn't it!! Thanks again... still looking for more suggestions.

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
10654 posts

"Plus photography, castles, and twisty roads" Once you pick up the car, head north to Heilbronn, and near there, head towards Bad Wimpfen. Follow the course of the Neckar River Valley to Heidelberg. That should fit your criterea quite well.

Posted by Wil
IJzendijke, The Netherlands
545 posts

Some 60km south of Stuttgart Schloss Lichtenstein (not Liechtenstein the country) and Schloss Hohenzollern near Hechingen. With Ludwigsburg Kathy means the Residenzschloss there I think.