Allured by various Instagram posts, the little French town of Colmar definitely made it to my bucket list. For one thing, it looks darn pretty. For the other thing, its architecture is a pleasant reminder of the old houses back home in Shillong. Finally, while on a car trip to the Black Forest in Germany (there will be a separate post on this), we decided to drive down to Colmar as well.
What did we do?
It was a Sunday morning and as we arrived the town seemed to have woken up already. We located the nearest parking lot and headed to the old town straight away. The weather was great. There are plenty of alleyways to head to and you have to choose one, to begin with. We did that and ended up discovering a toy train service that takes you around the old town. Since we had very limited time in hands, this was the best thing to do. The seats filled quite fast and we were off into the winding lanes of Colmar. The toy train tour shows around the important landmarks and historic buildings of the town, and at €6 per person, it is good value for money.
What did we see?
Now here’s a thing. Colmar looks very quiet, sleepy, and laid back in most of the photos across different feeds on the web. On the contrary, Colmar was brimming with tourists. Whether it was the outdoor cafes or the pretty lanes, there were people everywhere, making the town more vibrant and lively, and crowded too. Ideal photography is a little challenging though. The charming cityscape of old-fashioned wooden framed houses gives a certain characteristic appeal to this old town, very similar to German towns probably because this region had been a German colony during the Second World War. Windows, doors, and entrances are embellished with intricate decorations and are a sheer delight to the passerby. The toy train also passes by the famous canal for which Colmar is called the ‘Little Venice’. However, I think it really has very little resemblance with Venice. There are canal rides available here, and I regret not having had the time to explore this area on foot. There are some extremely alluring pastry shops in the alleyways of the town. And then there a string of souvenir shops. Buying a tiny model of the houses here was on my checklist.
And some ‘Cheers’…
This was the last leg of our Black Forest trip and we had a long drive back home. But we couldn’t have left Colmar before soaking in some sun and reveling in some chilled beer. The visit was too short and I am not done. Plan to stay for a night at least. And hopefully, the next time around I would do that as well.
Good to know:
- Colmar is a town in the Alsace region, in the north-eastern part of France. Strasbourg (France) and Freiberg (Germany) are the nearest big cities.
- Strasbourg International Airport is the nearest airport to reach Colmar, followed by Euroairport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiberg. It can also be reached via Zurich and Frankfurt.
- Train connection from Paris is via Strasbourg; no direct connection.
- Best time to visit is May-October; we visited in late April and the weather was great.
- Communicating in English is not a problem at all and not knowing French is just about OK.