I think I have a kind of obsession with Maison de colombages (half-timbered house) in France. Here, if you wish to see this kind of house, you can easily find both in Normandy and Alsace region. Luckily, I am living in one of those regions, it is in Normandy~ I will tell you more about Normandy region later, but now we will talk about another beautiful town that we found, besides Strasbourg, in the Alsace region, namely Colmar.
Talking about the region, it is probably one of the most beautiful regions in France which has a lot of fairytales spots that you absolutely will love! We went to Colmar, during our stay in Strasbourg, which located just at the heart of the Alsace region~
A little bit about this town, Colmar is a city and commune located in the Haut-Rhin department and Grand Est region of north-eastern France. It is well-known with its La Petite Venise, which has the same nickname given to the city of Annecy, another town in France, but located more in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of southeastern France.
Just around 70 kilometres or 30 minutes by train from Strasbourg, you will arrive in this town. The town is situated on the Alsatian Wine route which makes them considers as ‘the capital of Alsatian wine’. This town is probably the most Instagrammable place for you to visit in Alsace region.
Basically, you just need a whole day to stroll around the town and explore the Petite Venise, the heart of this town. Last time we just visit Colmar for a whole day and it was more than enough to spend our time in the centre of this town, but if you prefer to stay a little bit longer and want to enjoy your time, I think 2-days stay is more than enough and you can easily find a hotel in the town, it depends on your budget.
When we went there, it was the end of August and was very nice, but also very hot and dry! If you wish to visit during winter, you can visit their famous Christmas market in the region, after Strasbourg.
From the train station, you just need to walk around 15 minutes or 1 kilometre to reach the heart of the town, La Petite Venise. Here you will see a series of medieval half-timbered and colourful buildings, also typical with its cobblestone streets along with beautiful flowers-lined canals.
Passing through Turenne street, first, you will see the Roesselmann fountain and after you will cross the bridge just above the small river La Lauch with beautiful half-timbered houses along the river, which most of them were transformed into cafes and restaurants. From there, you will find easily the Poissonnerie street (Rue de la Poissonnerie), the famous street where you can find beautiful and colourful half-timbered houses along with Quai de la Poissonnerie, that you usually find it whether on Instagram or Pinterest. It is where the most beautiful cafes and restaurants in Colmar are located, to be exact in the Krutenau quartier.
But actually, there is also plenty of choices to eat with your partner, family and friends. Beside those restos along the river, we also like to eat in their covered market just located across the Poissonnerie street and reserve a table just on their terrace to see beautiful half-timbered houses across the river or just waving hands with other tourists which doing a small boat tour in the river.
Oh yes, I almost forget to share that you absolutely can do a boat tour along the river La Lauch with the small wooden boats, which fits around 7 – 10 people. The price itself around 7 – 10 euros for 30 minutes of boat trips. But watch out with your head, as you will pass under the very low bridges. It is absolutely a must to do activity while you are visiting Colmar~
Afterwards, you can continue to visit the charming of their Old Town which lies into three famous streets; Rue des Têtes, Rue des Clefs, and Rue des Marchands. It is located just in the heart of this city. One of my favourites is to stroll around the Quartier des Tanneurs (the Tanners’ Quarter), simply because it has beautiful and colourful half-timbered houses.
Other interesting spots in the centre are; the Maison des Têtes, the Pfister House, the Schongauer House, the Old Customs House (Koifhus), the Dominican Church, Saint-Martin’s Collegiate Church, the Maison de la boîte à mouches (the smallest house in Colmar). The unique one here, you will find Maison des têtes or the head house. Why the head house? Because in all facades of this house you will see there are around 100 human heads and now becoming a historical monument in Colmar. It is so detailed and beautiful! For you who will be going with your children, you can also visit the Musée du Jouet or Toy Museum.
Here, you will also easily find some places, a restaurant, a museum, some artworks or some souvenirs which show the name of Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculpture. Maybe some of you still does not know or just slightly heard about him, but I guess all of you knows about the Liberty Statue of USA, right? Yes, the statue was one of his most famous masterpieces. He made the Statue as a gift from the French to the Americans in honour of American independence 0n 4 July 1880. He was born in Colmar, so he transformed his first house as his museum now. Not only that, but he also made a lot of statues in some different cities in France and abroad. The rest of the information about him, Google, please!~
Besides the Quai de la Poissonerie, my second favourite places to take some pictures for Instagram is in Au Vieux Pignon. It is the souvenir shop which decorated beautifully along the year, does not matter what the season is. It has massive cute dolls, colourful flowers and cute stuff around the windows and facades. In this street, you will find a lot of souvenirs shop to buy things for your family and friends.
Because France is not only about Paris, Versailles or Disneyland but beyond all of that~ So I highly recommend you to go to the Alsace region for your next trip to France!
I also wish to go back and explore other towns in the Alsace region again hopefully very very soon, but this time I would love to visit Kaysersberg, Ribeauvillé, Mullhouse, Eguisheim, Sélestat, Dambach-la-Ville, etc. And I also wish you can visit France at least once in your life, which of course, after all this pandemic over.