Last week I blogged about the fairytale town Colmar in the Alsace region in France. It is the most charming place I have ever been to. The storybook place is especially magical in December when the Christmas market and Christmas lights cast a special spell over the old center. But no matter what season you go to Colmar, you will be amazed by its beauty and charm. In autumn fall foliage golden and red colors luster the streets. And in spring and summer blooming bushes and vibrant colored flowers make Colmar a picture perfect town. There are however 5 things you must do when in Colmar to immerse yourself in the true Colmar experience…
1 Take a boat tour on the canals
In Petite Venise (Little Venice) you can embark on one of the flat-bottomed boats that will take you through the canals. It’s a fun experience as you have to duck every few minutes to pass underneath the low bridges. The perspective on the colorful houses from the canals is something else. Watch the video below (1:24 min).
2. Visit the indoor market hall (Marche couvert)
The market building dates back to 1865. Inside, around 20 merchants sell high quality products like French cheeses, artisan breads, pastries, honey and confiture, and much more.
3. Shop original gifts for the homefront
Colmar is packed with independent boutiques, artisan shops and adorable gift shops. The store fronts lure you in to discover local handmade products and high quality gourmet gifts. Get fragrant soap bars, chocolates, embroidered aprons, or the French dessert ‘baba’ – cake preserved in syrup and rum.
4. Try the local foods
Colmar is packed with restaurants, creperies, chocolate shops and other gourmet shops. So just curb that diet and have a go at the typical Alsatian dishes and delicacies, because there is more to Alsace than only their world famous wines. Make it your mission to eat your way through the old center and when you’re full, simply stack up things to take back home and try later. What not to miss?
Pretzels – soft, fresh pretzels in all kinds of flavours; with cheese, ham, or just plain with a pinch of salt
Crêpes Alsacienne – the Alsacian crêpes are different. They are savoury and garnished with chives. They are eaten with a salad, soup, or filled with sauerkraut.
Kougelhopf – almond and raisins cake in the shape of a bundt cake, often topped with powdered sugar. Usually eaten in the morning with coffee or as an afternoon treat.
Choucroûte garnie – a typical dish is sauerkraut or choucroûte garnie. It’s fermented cabbage with potatoes and sausage, or other meats like ham and bacon.
Most restaurants in Colmar will offer Alsatian specialties, as well as more traditional French dishes such as magret de canard (duck breast), coq au vin, or fish and beef dishes.
Tarte flambee / flamkuchen – this is the Alsace version of a pizza. A thin crust bottom traditionally topped with cheese, onion, sour cream and bacon but now also with toppings of your choice
sausages—knacks, Strasbourg sausages, boudin (blood sausages), or Montbéliard, to name just a few. You can buy the sausages at little shops and stalls and devour them with a good glass of wine and the best French cheeses.
For more information about ‘How to get there’ and where to stay, read my blog article about my city trip to Colmar, the fairy tale town of France. Or just go for the day from Strasbourg, another great destination in the Alsace region!