At the top of its peaceful valley, under the guidance of attentive and efficient owners, the whole hotel now has modern, clean lines: gone are the traditional Alsatian frills. Food is important here, and good. Éric is the chef. Trained with France’s best and chef at Château d’Isenbourg for some years, he uses local, biodynamically-grown ingredients whenever he can. Clémence does the colourful garden and can also advise on what to do between the Vosges hills and the Alsace plain: there are typical villages and wine-growers to visit, excellent hiking, bike rides and good fishing places (they also have mini-golf on the spot, and a spa with hammam). The ferny woods are full of paths and burbling brooks and there’s skiing in season. Rooms, quietly elegant and comfortable, are of two kinds: in the main house they are big, sometimes in rich, dark colours, and come with smashing bathrooms and the odd balcony; in the separate building behind, they are smaller, with a shower each – and cheaper! A great place for nature lovers and gourmets, the Saint Barnabé is completely quiet – bar the birdsong – and carefully eco-friendly.