Colmar. Where do I even begin?! This little town is STRAIGHT out of a fairytale. I heard a rumor that the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast was based on this town. It is that GORGEOUS! I spent three days in a town that was used as a backdrop for one of the biggest Disney hits of all time, pinch me! It’s a bucket list destination MUST for all of those wanderlusters out there. Colmar is in northeast France bordering Germany, and is also part of the Alsace region. I wanted to spend three days in this area in order to experience the Alsace wine trail as well as the town, but if you have limited time, Colmar can be seen in one or two days. But what is the rush when you’re living in a fairytale land?!
I arrived to Colmar by train from Paris. I stayed at Hotel Saint Martin and it was perfect! So cute and central, and the view out of my room was beyond my wildest dreams. (The picture above WAS the view from my room!) After checking in I walked across the street to eat dinner at Le Fer Rouge. So before I go any further I should let you know that because Colmar is close to the German border, it’s heavily influenced by German culture. I was told that everyone in France learns English as a second language; besides those that live in Colmar… they learn French as a second language. Colmar was the last town taken back by France from Germany after WWII. So again, heavy Germany influence. Most of the restaurants I went to in Colmar were of German origin, Le Fer Rouge being one of them. I am not one to love German food, but the atmosphere, location, and wine made the restaurant worth it.
Day two was spent biking the Alsace wine region. It. Was. Magical. You can rent bikes for cheap right by the only train station in town and they will give you a map of the route and navigate you on your way. I already had a plan mapped out… I was going to hit five separate towns in one day. Boy was I mistaken; once I got going, I ended up realizing how crazy I would have to be to bike to five separate towns! I only made it to two of the five towns. Each town was so unique that I wanted to spend as much time as possible in every place! I guess now I just have to go back and finish the last leg of my wine journey… no complaints here!
My first stop was to the town, Eguisheim. It was an incredibly charming town, however the wineries are closed from 1200-1400 so beware! Unfortunately I got there right at 1200 so I didn’t have the chance to taste any wines from that area. On my way to the next town I got lost and happened upon Stentz-Buecher and man am I glad that I did! A brother-sister duo own the winery and the sister was able to sit down and tell me all about the Alsace and what makes it so different than other wine regions around the world. Here are a few fun facts that I learned!
- There are only seven grapes in the Alsace region
- They do not typically blend their grapes
- The tasting rooms and vineyards are in separate places
- If a winery chooses to make three different kinds of Rieslings (for example), they get the Rieslings to taste different by placing the grapes in different grounds
- Instead of buying land in a certain region, they buy it all over so that they have different types of grounds to grow grapes and therefore make their wines taste different (see point #4). This is also why the tasting rooms and vineyards aren’t in the same place
Once I was back on track I found my way to Turckheim and if it is at all possible, the towns just become cuter and cuter! After my tasting at Turckheim I headed to Kaysersberg. Riding from town to town is just as enjoyable as stopping in the towns because of the beautiful scenery all around. You have views of both mountains and vineyards. The further along the wine route you traveled, the more picturesque things became.
My last day was spent exploring the charming town of Colmar. I happened to be there during Easter so they had Easter markets set up around the city center. Colmar also has Christmas markets, if you can, I urge you to plan your trip around these two holidays! After wandering through the Easter markets and indulging in crepes galore, I headed to Le Petit Canal for a boat ride! Colmar has a little river known as Le Petit Venice (the little Venice), that runs right through the center of town allowing you to see the main attractions from the boat. After boating I headed to L’un Des Sens for charcuterie and wine. It was so quaint and cozy! I suggest stopping by for a drink and appetizer before dinner. Next up was more wine tasting at Maison Jund, it was just like the rest of Colmar… charming and quaint. For dinner I made my way to Le Petit Tanneur for dinner. This cozy restaurant has more of a French influence and was thoroughly enjoyable.
That wraps up my 72 hours. It’s not a goodbye… it’s a see you later! Au revoir Colmar!