The Alsace region with all its beauty is a real place for connoisseurs, but above all, it causes tourists to be amazed. The town of Colmar, is arguably the most delightful city in France! While staying in the Black Forest, I left one morning after breakfast to drive to Colmar on the French side.
About 45 minutes West from Bad Krotzingen, where I was staying with friends, is this wonderful, picturesque town surrounded by the most beautiful vineyards in Alsace. Colmar, the third largest city in the region, is no longer a real small town with its almost 67,000 inhabitants. The town is often regarded as such due to its intimacy and its enticing small town charm. My expectations were rewarded visiting this magnificent city.
Colmar was granted the status of a free imperial city by Emperor Frederick II in 1226. In 1354 it joined the Décapole city league. As a result of the Franco-Prussian War, Colmar, with the rest of Alsace, was annexed by the newly formed German Empire in 1871. It returned to France after WWI at the Treaty of Versailles, annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940 and then reverted back to French control after the Battle of the “Colmar Pocket” at 1945.
Colmar, a city with Charm
I went to explore the surroundings of the town and saw many old half-timbered houses decorated with flowers. As I read in the brochure, these homes have largely been spared by a miracle in the WWII war. But there is so much more that amazed me that gave me an all-round feel-good factor.
The old town of Colmar is considered one of the most beautiful places in all of France due to its location along the Lauch River, but also because of its well-preserved half-timbered homes. When I strolled through the narrow cobble stone streets along the small cozy cafes and restaurants looking inviting to linger and feast, I quickly was overcome with a happy feeling.
According to tradition, the color of every house at that time had to reflect the profession of its owner: yellow for bakers, green for vegetable growers and textile manufacturers, red for butchers and farriers … and blue for fishmongers.
Picturesque Old Town and “Little Venice”
Once I arrived in the Old Town, I just let my first impressions float. It started with a small sightseeing tour on a trolley train near the Information centre “Place des Unterlinden”. With a brochure in hand, I departed through Colmar’s narrow streets, and from here I saw the most important sights of the city.
Martinsmünster (left), the Cathedral or Main church in the city of Colmar
My walking tour included the popular Pfister house, the former Koifhus customs post, Martinsmünster (Cathedral), and the Maison des Têtes, which is decorated with 100 heads and masks. It continued with the Petersbrücke, from where I could enjoy a wonderful view of what is probably the most beautiful district of Krutenau, located on the River name Lauch.
Here is the famous Little Venice, in French “Pétite Venise”, with its picturesque houses and beautiful bridges. The boat launch is a particularly popular spot. There I saw a lot of enthusiastic people that took selfies on the bridge.
I took an idyllic boat trip on the river, with wonderful views of the most beautiful corners of the city. Little Venice: This district is the absolute highlight of every visit and is not without reason the most popular place to take pictures.
Little Venice in Alsace offers a unique flair. Picturesque half-timbered houses in bright colors line the leek and its canals. But there is much to suggest that the Quai de la Poissonnerie was far less colorful before the great fire of 1706.
There is hardly not a nicer way to get a first impression of the city and its famous sights. The price for a boat trip on the Lauch River was 6 € per person.
Most of the houses were inhabited by fishermen who were members of a powerful guild. To this day, a simple sign with the inscription “Poissonnerie” (Fish shop) adorns the facade of number 20. I discovered blue shutters pierced with a nail while strolling along the quay. Legend has, that behind these windows young brides are jealously guarded by their husbands.
I really enjoyed Colmar’s medieval flair when strolling through the streets for several hours. I enjoyed a delicious coffee, a crepe, and a glass of Alsatian wine in one of the many inviting cafés. I returned back to my friends home with some cookies from a bakery and unforgettable memories.