GETTING THERE: We spent five days driving the Route du Vin d'Alsace, but I would recommend allowing at least eight. There were a number of places we wanted to stop but couldn't because we didn't have time.
The easiest way to get to the wine route is to fly or take a train to Strasbourg from Paris and rent a car in Strasbourg. (For specific information, see Pages E3 and E9.)
By car, the trip to Strasbourg from Paris takes five hours on the Autoroute de l'Est. You will pay 150 francs (about $13) in highway tolls along the way.
The wine route starts about 20 miles west of Strasbourg. Take the N4 west to Marlenheim; from there it is a straight trip south following the signs marked "Route du Vin."
Once you get to Thann, where the route ends, you can either go south a few miles and take the Autoroute (A36 to A6) back to Paris, another five-hour drive, or go east to A35 and follow it north about 45 miles back to Strasbourg.
WHERE TO STAY: In practically every village along the route there are a few hotels or auberges (inns). All are clean, lovely places where you will rarely spend more than $20 a night for two people, breakfast included. During the height of the tourist season -- particularly this summer -- it's best to book in advance, but in the spring we simply phoned ahead each morning for a place to stay that night.
For a list of hotels and inns, consult the Michelin Red Guide or the French Government Tourist Office, 610 Fifth Ave., New York, N.Y. 10020, (212) 757-1125.
WHERE TO EAT: On almost every street corner in Alsace, you can find the regional specialities in winstubs (wine parlors). But you can also taste the best of France's nouvelle cuisine in one of the many gourmet restaurants.
At a one-star restaurant, expect to pay about $35 a person. We spent $70 for two people in a two-star restaurant, but more than half the bill was for the best local wines on the wine list. A three-star establishment will cost at least $50 a person, but as in most of France's best restaurants, you'll be pampered exquisitely.