We slept great in this privileged location that is theSaint-Martin Hotel (COMPLETE ARTICLE ABOUT THE HOTEL HERE), so with the first rays of light we have set a route in search of a good breakfast.
What to see in Colmar on a day at any time
You already know what we like to design routes. Today we have not risen too early, when the light has begun to enter through our window and we have noticed the snowfall that has fallen again with the announced drop in temperatures, we have gone to breakfast (9 EUR) outside (in the Hotel costs 12 euros per person, maybe more to deter than anything else).
The route we have taken (map included for any traveler to be oriented) has been similar to the following ...
Very close to the hotel we haveMaison des arcades (1) or also known as the former Protestant parish house, a building built in German Renaissance style in 1606, consisting of three floors
But our first stop is in the Church of San Mateo (2) or Eglise Saint Matthieu, which although originally belonged to the Franciscans (1292), since Lutheran reform is available to Protestants (1575).
Undoubtedly, the most surprising thing about walking through its streets, is to breathe that medieval atmosphere mixed by that Christmas spirit that we will breathe more at night.
Colmar was born from settlements on the banks of the Rhine of immemorial times, of struggle between Romans and Germans until reaching the status of imperial city in 1266 under the mandate of the Carolignios, in the Medieval era, an atmosphere that still retains
Today, at the end of the Christmas market season, it looks like a true story including every detail in each frame, door or window of the, already in itself, beautiful medieval houses, restaurants, shops or city squares
The ride takes us to the Unterlinden Museum (3) located in a convent of Dominican nuns of S.XIII, one of the most visited in all of France, and that preserves pieces of incalculable value, although these days it is under renovation and has moved to the Church of the Dominicans that we will see later.
We, however, who know that we are not from museums, go to Rue des Tetes, where the famous Maison des Tetes (4) o Casa de las Cabezas, dated from 1609 - Renaissance style - and a true architectural marvel with its more than 150 heads carved on the facade. Today is a hotel
Is it cold Paula? It is snowing and does not stop. The temperature touches -10ºC with the cold wave that has entered tonight. However, seeing the little town with snow makes it even more charming and makes all the shops are also illuminated
Very close we have the Church of the Dominicans (5) of endless construction from 1283 by order Rodolfo I of Habsburg until well into the fourteenth century, although as it is used as a museum, what we like most is its Christmas market through which we passed last night.
It is curious to understand how opulence and power gave way to the strictest poverty until the French Revolution gave it the utility of grain storage throughout the nineteenth century until returning it to its cult in 1898
The excellent atmosphere and atmosphere become agglomeration around the St-Martin's Cathedral (6), possibly the nerve center of Colmar, in the Gothic style (often a hodgepodge of styles).
We will not get bored with detailed information that you can find in wikipedia but tell you that its interior is really impressive, especially its stained glass windows of the 13th century with scenes of the ascension of Elijah, the last supper, or the life of Abraham and Isaac. What we take advantage of to do is have a warm coffee in a nearby place and recover heat (6 EUR)
Looking for a small stop on our route, we move away a little from the center and we fall down the Place Rapp (P), a very different area of Colmar where we can see the statue of Jean Rapp, a famous French general, a staunch protector of Emperor Napoleon and the Champ de Mars. The winter decoration, between fir trees and Christmas stalls, gives way to a great skating rink to delight ... Paula!
This green area of Colmar (the largest park) is completely white today and is beautiful. We assume that when we all think of Christmas, trees, ornaments, Magi, Pope Noel and the snow come to mind! What is missing in Colmar? We believe that nothing
It is definitely not an area that reminds us of the fairytale town we have been looking for, so we return to Rue des Marchands, the one of beautiful traditional buildings that has kept its charms over the years, its historic center and its districts more old.
The Colmar of Tanners and Fishermen
To get off Rue des Marchands, is to enter the Colmar of the most picturesque houses that makes it really special and more little shops that make us stop every bit
Especially a kind of boutique that stays all year (and not only at this time) that could have perfectly gone to our collection of "7 Christmas shops to decorate the tree"
The Pfister House, the Koifhus House, the Police House or Adolfo House join the already visible "Casa de las Cabezas".
Leaving aside the Bartholdi Museum (7), we can see the other Corps de Garde (8) or Police House, built in 1575 and leaving a narrow passage that connects with the Cathedral Square and Mercaderes Street.
TheSchongauer House (9) or "Zum Schwan" It stands out for its viewpoint and its carved lintels and is known for hosting the workshop of artist Martin Schongauer who performed his best works in this villa. The sizes of the house opposite are not bad either
But for color tastes, and for us the winner to the most beautiful is thePfister House (10), of Renaissance architecture and built in the first half of the 16th century by the hatter Ludwig Scherer, for its impressive frescoes. !!A marvel!!
The end of the Rue des Marchands puts us inOld Customs Square or Ancienne Douane (11), where the river appears and the bridges are full of flowers so typical of the Colmar postcards and where everything is now transformed again into an atmosphere of magic and fantasy. There is also the Schwendi fountain, today intermingled with the markets.
This area is also called the Tanners' district, appearing and disappearing the river as we walk. It is called that because it was the place where they were installed in the city, a house with typical wooden frames on a background of pale or white tones.
Almost unintentionally, we arrived at another of the best known postcards and we saw yesterday illuminated after visiting other villages like "Eguisheim, a charming village in France". He Fisherman's district (12) or La Petite Venise (Little Venice) It is a neighborhood of little houses that compete with each other at the foot of the Lauch River, where many people go by boat at this time (a pleasant walk, what if?)
We are in an old neighborhood where fishermen exercised their activity, between beautiful channels that today reflect the fantasy of the place, crossed by famous bridges, such as the Swans, where they say that couples should kiss.
A boat ride Paula? Today there is none left, although neither does the day lend itself to it. What is provided is to go back to the area of our accommodation through the Covered Market or the "Mercado de San Miguel de Colmar" (saving distances).
It is a fruit market, all kinds of food and other products that have been transformed to offer corners where "tapas" (there is even one called "tapas") and taste Alsatian wine
The city is full of life, joy and color at this time and we, with our route finished (whoever wants to get an idea, can quietly visit it in 4-6 hours stopping a lot) we look for something to eat and finally today we opt for some puppies and hot soup down the street and "take one of those Spanish naps" that we need so much after a hard year.
At 17 it starts to get dark and it will be time to see "the other Colmar"
What to see in Colmar at Christmas
Night falls on the city of Colmar and, again, everything is transformed. What until now was a medieval environment of all kinds of buildings and architectures, now becomes one of the best places on the planet for the Christmas lover.
The streets have a great atmosphere, although far from what we have read of agglomerations (at this time you walk very pleasantly, possibly differently from what the December bridge is, and perhaps because we are in the last days of street markets )
- Dates: From November 21 to December 31
- Hours: From 10am to 7pm from Sunday to Thursday, from 10am to 21pm from Friday to Saturday (except 24, 25 and 31, see schedules)
Similarly in the morning, Colmar has changed, and our route too. We will visit the Christmas Colmar on a route similar to the following ...
He Market place Jeanne d'Arc (1)It is perhaps the smallest, and the most oriented to gastronomic themes. Even so, we can find numerous shops and details that allude to Christmas
He Market the Dominican Square (2), prior coffee (6 EUR) is more oriented to the world of textiles, clothing and even scented candles. It is quite large and continues on one side of the Church.
Before continuing on our market route, we cannot avoid going back through the morning skating rink, full of people despite the cold, and with many attractions (children's roller coaster, roundabout and food stands) to your around. It is not a market, but it is worth considering
The roads of the old town of Colmar now look like others, as if they had changed the script, if possible even more beautiful and magical, with a multitude of lights and ornaments that compete with each other even in the oldest and most famous houses
He indoor market du Koïfhu (3) It is completely different from others, not only because it is indoors, but because it is more focused on valuable pieces, jewelry, art and even antiques.
For us the best (another potricol for Paula for 16 EUR), without a doubt, and the most lively is the l'Ancienne Doudane street market (4) as well as the most oriented to Christmas objects combined with food stands of all kinds (wine and hot soup, sweets and cakes, snacks, puppies, ...)
Finally, we finish the tour with the temperature going down to -10ºC in the Petite Venise flea market (5) It combines attractions for the little ones with a little of everything.
This area is also possibly the most attractive for night photos because its restaurants with terrace and its illuminated "Venetian" channels are very scenic
The cold and the call of the "dinner" has taken us to a place right in front of our accommodation, the Saint-Martin Hotel(COMPLETE ARTICLE ABOUT THE HOTEL HERE)(!! an excellent recommendation for future travelers !!) called Brasserie Schwendi, of the few that can be entered without reservation
It usually has a waiting line but it goes very fast (we have only taken 5 minutes) and it is a curious tavern that reminds a lot of those of Central-Europe where in addition to Alsatian specialties there are all kinds of Rosti. We have opted for a chicken scallop with cream, a flambée cake and a dessert that combines vanilla, chocolate and biscuit typical of here (do not ask us to reproduce the name - it is highlighted in the letter -). That, and some beers for 38 EUR
Today we tried a kind of pizza also called Flammekuecha, with a very thin base of bread made with flour and water on which the desired foods are placed (such as pizza). It is seasoned enough and usually takes bacon, raw onion and liquid cream, to bake for 10-15 minutes
Colmar is a fairytale town. Yes, definitely. It is magical, trickster, pure fantasy. It is an extraordinarily preserved town of German Gothic buildings during the Renaissance or picturesque Alsatian traditional houses. A villa of canals that bathes the river Lauch, of mountains that surround it and in which, when night falls, its most charming atmosphere appears. Colmar says goodbye to us another night ... What are you waiting for to enter your own Christmas story?
Isaac and Paula, from Colmar (France)
EXPENSES OF THE DAY: 75 EUR (and GIFTS: 21.50 EUR)