Everyone knows Paris & London, yet there are too many small villages in Europe that offers a unique & unspoilt glimpse of ancient Europe, untouched by modern development tracing back to Medieval Period.
Today, I’m introducing Colmar, a colorful & charming small town. I would say that it’s really look like a fairly tale town. Someone saying that it is a storybook town and some even describe as hidden gem of France.
Colmar, a beautiful half-timbered town along the Alsatian Wine Route, Alsace’s most beautiful city. The town’s distinctly French shutters, combined with the German half-timbering, give Colmar an intriguing ambience.
What to do in Colmar? Come on, although it is a small town, but there are a lot of things & place to explore. Trust me, the beautiful scenery of this small town will make you hard to say goodbye later.
1. Boat ride through Little Venice (aka la Petite Venise)
It will take you about 30 minutes for the boat ride along the canals of Little Venice. Half of the boat ride goes through a quiet residential area shaded by trees while the second half takes you through more of the old town and offers stunning views of Colmar’s half-timbered buildings from the water.
2. Covered Market (aka le Marché couvert)
You can find all sorts of delicious French goodies in the stone and brick Neo-Baroque covered market: flowers, fruits, veggies, bread, cheese, meats, jams, you name it. I don’t know how I resisted the sugared pretzels that looked like pretzel-shaped donuts…
3. The Statue of Liberty @ Colmar
Colmar is also the birthplace and hometown of Frederic Augusta Bartholdi, famous sculptor and designer of the Statue of Liberty.
If I’m not mistaken, it is about 19 of small copies of the Statue of Liberty exist throughout the world. Of course, one must be located in the hometown of its designer.
4. Unterlinden Museum, Religious Art
The Unterlinden Museum in Colmar, France, established in 1849, is housed in a 13th century Dominican convent and contains some wonderful religious art.
One of the most dramatic and spectacular altarpieces of the Renaissance, The Isenheim Altarpiece painted in 1512 – 1516 by the mysterious painter, Mathias Grünewald on the eve of the Reformation. It is a cycle of huge paintings full of agony and exhilaration.
5. Saint Martin’s Church
Originally constructed for a college in 1234 – 1365, St. Martin’s is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. The patterned, colorful roof tiles are striking!
6. Maison Pfister @ Pfister House
The Maison Pfister or also knowns as Pfister house, a symbol of Old Colmar, was built in 1537, for the hatter Ludwig Scherer, who made his fortune with money trading in the Val de Liepvre.
7. Fishmonger District
The fishmonger’s district is the place where most of the professional fishermen and boatmen of Colmar lived. The caught fishes were stored in fish ponds or sold.
8. Train Station
The architecture was beautiful, such a neat old train station
9. Stroll around the Old Town
Colmar is the perfect city to stroll through. Soak in the quaint atmosphere, pop into a café for a quick lunch and window shop to your heart’s content. The pace is relaxed and you’ll find yourself at ease as your wander down the narrow alleyways soaking in the unmistakable French vibe.
9. Enjoy the local specialties
French food is the stuff dreams are made of. Éclairs, macarons, baguettes, pains au chocolat – you’ll find it all in Colmar. Try some local Alsatian cuisine, including Tarte flambée (something like the pizza of Alsace) – the classical recipe includes a thin, crusty dough topped with cream, onions & lardons (or chopped bacon), whcih is then baked in a wood-fire oven.
Also don’t forget to try some Munster, a strong-tasting, soft cheese from Alsace. Almost each French region has its own cheese; Alsace’s is this delicious, strong tasting, soft cheese made from cow’s milk. Better yet, try a Tarte flambée with Munster on it!
One of the most most unforgettable cake – Kugelhopf that you must eat during the trip. It is a traditional Brioche bread or cake from Alsace. A yeast cake with raisins and almonds baked in a crown-like earthenware dish.
10. Visit a French grocery store
Shopping for groceries in other countries is kind of the interesting experience. You could easily spend countless hours walking through the aisles admiring unfamiliar food products.
1. Try to avoid visit Colmar on Sunday & Monday morning as everything is closed. Also the indoor market is closed completely on Monday.
2. All of Colmar’s attractions are concentrated in its old town. Therefore the best way to get around Colmar is on foot.
3. It is 3 hours away (by TGV train) from Paris & only 30 minutes from Strasbourg.
4. The location map