Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Colmar; Straight out of Fairytales (France Trip Chronicle #2)

As I promised in my previous post about Strasbourg, I'm going to talk in more detail on my day trip to Colmar, a town (or village? I'm not really sure) about 75 km on the south of Strasbourg. We were inspired by this particular post from Explorer Guidebook about visiting pretty small towns in the region Alsace in the first place, so why not, right?

The day trip started with my mom and I going to the train station again on the morning of our second day in Strasbourg. I've checked the schedule of the train from Strasbourg to Colmar the night before using the Voyages-SNCF Application (which is super handy, I recommend downloading this app when you're doing your travel around France. It could also be used to but the tickets online by using credit card, saving you queuing time that you'll experience if you buy it from the counter). We got the tickets and went straight to Colmar. The journey was only about 30 minutes, thanks to speed of the train!

The pretty town
As we arrive, the small rain has started and made the surroundings quite gloomy. However, my mom and I trudged on, bracing our umbrellas as we walk to reach the center of the city where the pretty things to look at are available. It doesn't mean that the other parts of the town are ugly though! The town was definitely small and more laid-back than Strasbourg, you could see old mansions and houses as you walk, which is also really pretty. The walk, even though it's a bit wet, was pretty.

We arrived at the cobblestoned street where the fun began. As we ate our breakfast at one of the boulangerie (which means 'bakery' in french) the rain came to a halt, and there was a slight sunshine filtering though the building. We finished our breakfast quickly and started walking around.

Please don't mind me and my messy hair after the rain
What I notice first is how pretty the houses are and the cathedral's cute roof details. I could spend hours just looking around and watching it! No wonder the town (together with another town in Alsace called Riquewihr, if I'm not mistaken) inspired the city settings on one of my most favorite Japanese animation from the famous Studio Ghibli; "Howl's Moving Castle". I was ecstatic just walking around and imagining the city settings depicted in the movie!

Them details on the roof 

Another point-of-interest building to discover!

There are also cute shops of souvenirs and other trinkets, all displayed prettily for us to see and choose. I particularly like the display in front of this bakery/cake shop, which are beautifully-adorned vases and this cute cat-shaped ornaments on one of the gift shops around the area.

You'll get pretty views in front of quaint little shops and restaurants
Wander around gifts and souvenir shops to discover cute finds like this one
We also visited the Petite Venise (in Strasbourg you'll get the Petite France, while in Colmar you will get the Petite Venise!) The canals adorning the sides of houses is the reason why this place is called the Petite Venise. 

If you ever wonder where to go in Colmar, do not worry because they will provide you with maps to find your way around town, and also give you points of highlights to see in the city. There are also signs for museums and such, but I did not go into the museum because my mom and I decided to enjoy the town and the ambience instead. It did not cost that much to enter museums, about 5€ to 7€ per entry and even lower for kids and young people. I do suggest you come in and check out the museum if you like that kind of stuff though, there's this museum of train and toys that I think would definitely be liked by children. There's also guided tours, and this little open train that would take you around the city, even boats to explore the canal, but I find that walking is the best method for my mom and I to enjoy Colmar!

One of the walls at the museum of small toys and train
Our day trip ended faster that I thought, not because it was boring but because we've already visited the places we want to see, and we event went two rounds around the center. The place is pretty small to begin with, but please do visit! Even just for a day trip, it would not disappoint. I would also recommend going to other small towns and villages in Alsace, Riquewihr, Kaysesberg, Ribeauville, and others. They must be as beautiful, if not more, and has its own charm which is different from Colmar or Strasbourg! 

Pretty, grand balconies
What's your favorite day trip or unexpected journey so far? Please do share!


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