I still have France on my mind. So today, let’s explore a recent trip to Colmar, France; a small town in the Alsace region of north-eastern France. It is a wonderful day trip from Basel, Strasburg or Paris. We did just that during our most recent visit from Basel.
Colmar is very beautiful and easy to get around. Its cobblestone streets running next to canals lined with half-timed houses decorated for the holidays. A note that many of these houses date back to the 14th century. You feel like you are walking back in time. This little town near the German border is a must see on your trip to Alsatian wine region of France.
We took a train from Basel, Switzerland. The train look about 45 minutes. Booking in advance isn’t necessary (we did though), but you may have to wait a while in the afternoon. Ask about holiday or weekend specials as we lucked out on this train trip and always like to get a deal.
We stay just one night in Colmar at the Colmar Hotel just around the corner from the train station. The decision to stay here was due to our mid-morning flight from Basel, but next time we would stay in the pedestrian friendly center of town. The location is on a busy street.
We walked around what is known as Little Venice in Colmar. If you wish, you can take a 30-minute boat ride along this short, but very attractive canal. We chose to walk around to explore more of what this fairytale of a village has to offer.
In Little Venice, you will find some great choices for french delicacy. Restaurants are quite expensive and as the local cuisine isn’t ideal for vegetarians.
If we had more time here, we would have explore Colmar for another day or two and these other Alsace wine villages: Ribeauvillé, Riquewihr, and Kaysersberg.
For those who wish to explore a bit of shopping, Colmar’s centre will not disappoint. The centre is full of classy boutiques and shops selling local gourmet products—white wine, cheese, sausages, chocolates, salted caramels, jars of sauerkraut, and bretzels (salty or sweet pretzels).
There are several options to get to Colmar via the easy to use train system in Europe. We chose to leave from Basel (about a 45 minute commute).
Other options include:
From Paris (about 2 hours 20 mins. on the TGV. **Most trains require a change over in Strasburg—another city not to miss while in France…. more on this one in another blog post.
From Strasburg (about 30 mins.)
I am sure there are other options, but these are the main ones… (feel free to share your thoughts).
As we were there for only one day, we did not take advantage of any tours, but the best option is the following:
- Check out the local tourist office as they will often have a free daily walking tour
- Visit Viator