When visiting Alsace, you’ll find that the most essential thing to read is a book of road maps. Driving is the best mode of transportation here, and maps serve the dual purpose of getting you from point A to point B and pointing out all of the worthwhile stops along the way. AA Road Maps publishes a tour map book for Alsace and Lorraine; another solid choice is Michelin’s Local France maps series.

Next you may want to invest in a guidebook. While there are several that focus on the region of Alsace, including Barbara Mandell’s France: Champagne & Alsace-Lorraine , it may be better to get one for France as a whole. The Eyewitness Travel series is reliable and contains helpful illustrations.

What about local newspapers? Unfortunately, most of the Alsace publications are in French only. If you’re fluent, or willing to rely on translated web pages, take a look at the Journal L’Alsace and the Dernieres Nouvelles d’Alsace (DNA). English speakers, don’t despair - there is a web portal just for you. AngloINFO Alsace provides news, weather, radio broadcasts and various other services.

Finally, get a feel for the flavor of Alsace by reading The Pâtissier: Recipes and Conversations from Alsace, France . A collaborative project between a visiting American and the French chef who lived next door, this is pure travel lit at its best, with recipes as an added bonus.

There's a nice guide book written by a local tour guide on Strasbourg and Nothern Alsace. I believe it's only available on her website, not on other sites like Amazon. It's a bit different than the usual books because it's written by someone who knows the area quite well.