At the edge of a national road, lined with dark green fir trees Julien and Yvette had opened a small truck stop. A simple restaurant that turned out the best, the carriers with fine noses crossing the region to Germany or Luxembourg did not fail to stop there. Little by little, the couple completed with a few rooms which already welcomed Belgians: during the Second World War, Julien had created solid friendships with some of them who gladly visited him: conviviality and good food already reigned. on the spot. On the early death of Julien Goetz, his son Gérard, who dreamed of being a traveler, comes to lend a hand to his mother.
He married Marylène who joined him…The young couple threw themselves body and soul into catering and then the hotel business. The family will grow with the birth of two little girls, blonde as wheat!
Hélène Goetz, the eldest, now works with her sister Eléonore with her parents in the hotel named Chez Julien in memory of her grandfather. Today the hotel has 14,000 m² including a spa, two large swimming pools, large restaurants, 72 rooms but it has not lost its welcome and familiarity. A few days ago, the young woman also offered a teddy bear to a couple to celebrate the arrival of a grandchild, a couple who had known her since she was very young! These first memories are tinged with the generosity of the place: everyone talked to each other, told their day and we ate what we wanted there: mom like dad cooked to please them”.
It must be said that the Goetz sisters were born in Fouday. The hotel is their home. I remember large tables at noon with truckers, sales representatives. And mom in the kitchen, in the dining room, in the bedrooms, running everywhere “explains the eldest. Their father, who brought out the dishes during the day, turned into a construction worker at night: “ He wanted to increase the hotel from 5 to 10 rooms. Luckily for him, a passing Belgian who was good at it helped him all week to destroy walls on the ground, he became a friend by the way! laughs Eléonore.
Chez Julien is growing and wants to make itself known. “ At the time, tourist institutions were almost exclusively focused on Germany The problem is that the couple does not speak German. So Gérard Goetz decides to go to Belgium where ties have already been forged with a few families. In the end, he finds himself alone to represent the Alsace stand at the Brussels Holiday Fair! Full house… Since then, the boss has almost never missed an edition, hosted on the Alsatian tourism stand, he is more than requested, taken by storm one could say! You have to imagine the extent of the Julien phenomenon in Belgium: nearly 22,000 greeting cards are sent for the end-of-year celebrations in our country, to a loyal clientele “and always so warm” according to the Goetz girls.
Today, the truck has become a spa, the evening frichti a 5-course menu served half-board and concocted by a chef who has worked for a long time in the region’s 2-star restaurants. The little blond girls who loved to go on excursions with the customers have become mothers in turn: 3 boys and a little Louise have strengthened the close-knit family clan. Sisters who grew up under the gaze of more and more customers coming to Fouday, this small village lost in the Bas-Rhin, in the foothills of the Vosges. “Today, these customers who saw us as children, who took us with them to the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle, have grandchildren and now they meet our children.“, smiles Hélène, mother of two boys.
Bocuse, Résimont, Rigolet, Schillinger like to spend a short stay there to rest and… eat well. Big names but yet no one here takes the big head. The Goetz girls work like their parents from morning to night, bringing with them 80 employees, it’s impressive to see… Eléonore Goetz has worked in very large hotels across the Atlantic but she has returned: “Here we always have testimonies of kindness, it’s really rare and it boosts”, “We know people and vice versa, I don’t have the impression of working“, completes Hélène who preferred at the time to drop a promising internship at the ex-Conrad from Brussels to stay at Fouday.
Everything changes, nothing changes… The first “Bruchoise” rooms still have their cocoon appearance of the 80s, the corridors are made of wood and red carpet and full of paintings and photos, the large dining room is warmly kitsch… before major transformations which should be completed by the end of 2024. For more space and comfort. At the maneuver, Gérard Goetz, again and again. But the chef is very proud to have been able to entrust all the decoration and design to his daughters for a few years, who thus bring a contemporary, soft and elegant touch. And intends to hand over to his daughters and sons-in-law with confidence in the years to come.
In all seasons, the Belgian clientele comes and comes back: “ We are not the most active on Trip Advisor “, admits Eléonore, “ But we did such a job upstream that for the moment, we are still doing well with word of mouth “. The average stay is 3 to 4 nights, “ The idea is to stop, take a break and enjoy nature and good food. We park the car and we let ourselves go! », concludes Hélène Goetz. The ideal place to recharge your batteries in all seasons, between spa, massage, walks in the forest and delightful gastronomy. Prices start at 133€ for half-board (5 courses) per person from 2 nights… And 190 euros for the mountain design rooms, large and cozy…
Alsace from Chez Julien
If the spa, the indoor/outdoor swimming pools always heated to 33° and the walks in the fir trees around Chez Julien are no longer enough to keep you happy, there are hiking trails that take you up to the Vosges. The Bruche valley where the hotel is nestled is magnificent!
Some 25 km away begins the Alsace Wine Route with visits to cellars such as the Eblin-Fuchs estate in Zellenberg (biodynamics), the Ginglinger cellars, the Burghartt-Spettel estate in Mittelwihr, a wonderful little village known for its hill with almond trees. And the famous estate of Joseph Gross.
The Alsatian villages look like doll houses, we think of Riquewhir, Mittelwhir, Obernai, Colmar, …
The castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg is dazzling, a fortified castle built on a solid mass of stone, one still feels there in medieval times.
We also discover the charm of Alsace through its craftsmen: Climont jams, Alélor mustards, Météor beer (and its Villa to discover the oldest brewery in France in activity) or even the Pretzel factory. ..
And then there are these landscapes of thick forests, crystalline streams and snow in season with the passes of Perheux, Schlucht, Donon, …
History is also very present with, not far from Struthof, a locality lost in the mountains where the Nazis set up the sinister Natzweiler concentration camp. Having become a place of history and memory, the place is filled with strong emotions, in respect for the men who have gone through absolute horror there. We will also go to Mont-Sainte-Odile, a convent and spiritual high place in Alsace located at an altitude of 753m which also suffered a tragedy: an Airbus A320 on the Lyon-Strasbourg Air Inter flight 148 crashed on the Bloss Mountain, near Mont Sainte-Odile, causing 87 deaths and leaving 9 survivors. A remembrance clearing, accessible on foot, has been set up in part of the area deforested during the accident.