Colmar is yet another charming town in France that is part of the Alsace region. It sits along the German border together with Strasbourg and literally has the “feels” of a fairy tale creation. No wonder, the small village square in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was inspired by this whimsical place.
The entire Alsace region has exchanged rule between Germany and France throughout the course of history. This resulted into a unique blend of cultural and architectural style that is both German and French, and one of the reasons why people are drawn to this little town.
Colmar remained considerably untouched for centuries. Since it’s treated as a protected area, it has benefited from careful restoration to keep the town as genuine as it is in the past centuries. What makes the town interesting is that the bright-colored paint of the houses actually have meaning and is used to indicate the line of work of the family living in the house — blue for fishermen, green for farmers, yellow for bakers, and so on. Some houses even have little hearts etched on the doors which meant that the woman in the house is either available or getting married. Cool, right?
Nowadays, these color codes are not followed anymore but the bright hues and half-timbered buildings became a known Alsatian style. It’s fascinating how much effort locals put in to decorate their own space. With decorated walls, fresh flowers arranged in window pots, antique items that adorned tiny spaces, it really feels like you’re living out of a fairy tale. My friends can hardly believe that such place exists when I posted photos on Facebook.
Colmar can easily be explored in 2-3 hours on foot. The town is really small but there are enough restaurants, cafes, museums, boutique shops, and pretty streets to keep you busy the whole day. You can also take a side trip to the famous Alsace vineyards. We didn’t get to do this because the weather was gloomy and we’re not really wine drinkers but if you are, this is a perfect way to explore the countryside.
After falling head over heels in love with the pretty French town of Annecy, and getting all absorbed with the loveliness of Talloires, I must say that Colmar captured my heart just as much. I love adding laidback towns like these in between our long travels. We take our time and really stroll at our own pace without the pressure of having to tick off places one after the other. I feel like it’s a good way to “semi-relax” and put a balance from wandering bigger cities like Paris. We were able to get around Colmar thrice in a day!
There is no shortage of pretty towns in France, isn’t it?