Let me start by saying I love France. As soon as you cross the border driving in over the Rhine river toward the Alsace wine country from Germany to France, the air feels different. The scenery changes to rolling hills, fields, vineyards and cypress trees. There are visible castles or ruins along the way at every peak.
Colmar is under 3 hours and makes a great weekend getaway. The area is beautiful. Hotels are hard to find in town with parking included especially when booking at the last-minute as we do. We ended up about a 15-20 walk from the historic part of the old town. It wasn’t bad since it’s now Spring time, but we would never walk that far in the winter. Our hotel included breakfast, but that didn’t stop us from stopping to gawk at the patisserie shops too.
Walk Little Venice and Old Town. The buildings are maintained to be as original as possible. No two houses can be the same color in a row when repainting occurs which is also required and partly funded by the city to keep up appearances of the buildings and tourist areas. It was explained to us that the more elaborate wood work on the structures represented the home of a wealthier family that wanted to show off their status.
Ride in a Boat: For 6 euro per person there are 2 tour companies that run 30 minute guided boat tours of the canal scenery from Little Venice.
Shop: There is a large market hall in Little Venice and another craft market set up in the Koifhus (Old Custom House). There are wine shops, souvenirs and a large main shopping strip on the way to the tourism office with designer fashion stores and the usual H&M’s. It was our usual luck that it was a local holiday during the Monday we were there, so almost everything was closed except for restaurants and souvenir shops. Look out for your postcards in the mail!
Walk the historic map trail. The map you get at the hotel has red dotted lines with numbered icons. Each line is a trail of different historic stops, all marked with a plaque in French, German and English throughout the city for important buildings, statues and sites. There is a green city sight-seeing train that goes around and follows many of these sites as well.
Alsace Nougat and Spiced and Honey Breads: Expensive by the pound (kilo) at over 20 euro, but you will never taste a pound cake bread like this anywhere else made with honey, liquors, spices, nuts and chocolate options.
Tarte flambée or in Germany it is referred to as a Flammkuchen as noted the earlier post in Riqewhir France which is not too far from Colmar on the French Wine Road. Winstub La Krutenau is the spot to be to sit outside and watch them cook up your Flambee right there in the outdoor fire oven for under 10 euros.
The Beer: Le Trois (3) Singes bar is our favorite place we just happened to stumble upon. They by far had the best crafty selection of beer varieties in Colmar with sidewalk seating. There was always one local beer or wine option available at almost every restaurant we tried. Let me repeat, we love France.