After Burano, Italy, I began this quest to search for the most colorful places in this world! So far, I had found and visited the villages in Cinque Terre. Yes, I did a Google search and that was how I heard about Colmar, France. Colmar not only being one of the most colorful towns in the world, it was also known for its Christmas markets. My friend, Sokunna, happened to visit Colmar during her business trip beginning of the year and she absolutely recommended Colmar! After I seen her pics from Colmar, it was winter then and not good weather, I couldn’t wait to visit Colmar! Originally, I was planning a day trip from Zurich since there is a direct bus that connects Zurich and Colmar but she convinced me to stay overnight. I re-arrange my itinerary almost last minute to accommodate that and so glad I did!
After the crappy weather in Switzerland, I was a bit nervous about Colmar since sunshine makes a huge difference in bringing out the colors. I kept checking the weather forecast up to the night before and it showed that only good weather in the early morning and become cloudy. I talked to Jason and we decided to start our journey early in the morning…before sunrise. We took the train from Lucerne to Basel (covered by the Swiss Train Pass) and then from Basel (the French side) to Colmar with one change. After we got off the train in Basel, we walked to the “French” side, basically, the border control is just a sliding door LOL! There is no ticket office on the French side and only a machine…an outdated machine….and just in French only OMG. I tried to touch the screen but it wasn’t a touch screen urg…and I found out the navigation is by the knob….
With my limited French, I was making my best guess and went through menus after menus and bought the tickets to Colmar….
BUT….when the conductor lady was checking our tickets she said they are wrong, they are discounted ticket which we don’t have a special discount pass oh man! She then print out the correct tickets, I paid with my credit card, and told me to go to the office in Colmar to refund the tickets that I had bought wrong. I was worried about the language barrier but luckily the lady in the ticket office speaks good English to understand my situation and processed the refund 🙂
We arrived Colmar by 9 am, left our luggage in the hotel (too early to check in), the hotel was the Best Western Grand Hotel Bristol, literally across from the train station so it was very convenient. We grabbed a map and walking toward to the old town which took around 15 minutes. During our long walk, I was constantly on the lookout for the postcard view of the colorful houses on each side of the river…no sight of the river! Then as we get nearer to the old town, we started to see some colored buildings, I was getting excited! However, we arrived the bridge that offers one of the postcard views “Little Venice” but it was under renovation so it covered the view awww!
We turned away and continued on to The Fishmonger’s district…
The pastel colored houses looked like they are out of a storybook, they are so cute! We woke up so early to get here and it was like a dream! Although the light wasn’t optimal as the sun was behind those colorful houses in the morning but I couldn’ve asked for more since the afternoon would be cloudy. And don’t get sick of this view because we went back for at least two more times on that same day!
Another advantage of being early was no other tourists….and occasionally a local passed by; we were able to take as many photos as we want without people in the picture! Camera, ready, snap!
I missed the blue sky and white clouds so much, thank you for showing up in Colmar! It was very cold the time we were there, I think it was way below its average….around 40’s in the daytime! I was cold but heated up by my excitement 🙂 Colmar is one of the most colorful and prettiest towns I have visited! Every corner was photo worthy, just keep pressing the shutter button!
The water in the river was pretty still in the morning so I was able to get some reflections 🙂
We continued onto the next section based on the map, Quartier des Tanneurs where we saw this astonishing decorated pink/yellow building!
Easter just passed by but they still have the decorations up and they were having some sort of fair going on so I can have a little taste of how festive Colmar is. I really want to experience Colmar during Christmas!!! Can I come back, please?
It was still early so nothing opened yet hehe.My favorite pink color! Colmar is also known for being one of the most “German” cities in France, it’s for sure the most colorful German architectural city I have ever seen!We kept going off the tourist trail that I lost track of where we are hehe! But we ended up at Saint-Martin Cathedral, we went in to check it out:
And then back to its colorful street…..we were like in a maze, a maze that we don’t want to get out 😛
But you can’t possibly be lost in Colmar…see the signs pointing to the Bartholdi Museum……yes the guy who designed the famous Statue of Liberty!
We didn’t follow the sign though but instead ended up walked out of the old town to the shopping street, Rue des Clefs. My favorite French clothing store: Pimkie! We didn’t start shopping though because we will leave that when the weather gets bad enough…right now still some patches of blue sky…we were chasing for the blue sky!
Somehow, we were back to the street vendors and they were opened at that time yay! Many were selling local grown, local made products…..We didn’t have anything in particular to buy so we moved on and keep walking…
Then we got to the Bartholdi Museum….we took a few photos outside only as we are not museum people:Back out to explore more of its colorful buildings!
L’Atelier du Peintre, the Michelin-starred restaurant that we’ll be dining tonight:
Hum…what happened to this house, how it bent in like that?We ended up where we first started to that bridge under renovation so we walked around to try to see if there’s another angle we can take similar photos of Little Venice. Then, we got to Boulevard Saint-Pierre where we saw tour boat! We walked down and joined the tour, it was like 6 euros per person if I remember correctly.
We should’ve waited for the next boat but we didn’t so we didn’t have the front row seating….front view blocked by other tourists 🙁
The views from the boat was different so it was worth it for photos.Yay back to the most colorful road of houses!
The boat trip was pretty short, around 30 minutes, but enough for some photos. Jason was joking that if the sky is cleared up, he’ll pay me to do the boat trip again for photos and he’ll stay and wait LOL! It was almost lunch time so we walked to L’Epicurien, a restaurant I found in TripAdvisor in advanced. By the time we reached the restaurant, it was not open yet!
We decided to check out the indoor market so we have to walk pass by that colorful road of houses again, 3rd time!The indoor market….Those wine bottles are so pretty that we bought one of each as souvenir, just for the glass bottle since we don’t drink! Guess what color I bought?
When it was almost time, we walked back but they were only offering one menu that day and we weren’t interested so we search for another one. We found Aux Trois Poissons 🙂 Our lunch:In France, I can’t miss the opportunity to have my favorite foie gras! It was heaven!
My duck breast, it was good but not impressive!French cuisine is slow…..I was eager to run out for photos whenever I saw the sunshine out…faster, faster, faster…please wait for me, sun! The lunch total was €80 for the fine dining and dishes we ordered….after Switzerland, everything seemed to be cheaper haha!!!
The restaurant is the cute yellow house right on the road of the colorful houses! The sky cleared up a bit for a short while so we treasured the time to take photos, where do we need to go back to re-take the photos?
That cute yellow house on the left is the restaurant!
Selfie from Jason’s phone…..see the difference in details? That was our #4 visit, haha!More colorful and unique houses, can’t get enough of them!Even the window blinds are colorful and in various designs!
This house’s archtectural style is different than the rest!Our legs started to get tired so we walked back to our hotel to check into our room….very small room and the bed linens have some marks….but only for one night….
We took a good rest and went back out at 6:30 for our reservation at 7 pm. On the way back into the old town….Visit #5!!!! The lightings at this time of the day were better that they light up the houses! I couldn’t resist but to snap a few photos! I will never get tire of this view!We were a little bit late arriving the restaurant but we were the first ones there for dinner. It was our first Michelin starred (1 star) restaurant: L’Atelier du Peintre! Colmar has a few Michelin-starred restaurants despite the small size of the town and after looking through menus, I preferred this restaurant for its menu item and price. As soon as I decided, I contacted the restaurant for a reservation 🙂
They don’t have an English menu but I used Google translate to have an idea…
After we placed the order, the waiter speaks good English to further explain the menu, we were served two free appetizers. The macaroons looking were actually mushroom flavored embedded with a scallop. It was a surprise! The one in the wooden spoon was some raw fish, pretty good.This one stuffed with ham and cheese inside.
Next, the waiter bought up bread and butter….it was a huge piece of butter on a small plate haha! We never fond of French bread as they usually are hard…yep hard bread!
I ordered the foie gras again, smaller piece than the one I had in lunch but very tasty!Jason ordered the lobster layered with raddish and grapefruit, the texture and mix of flavors were interesting!Huge plate small portion hahaha!For the main course, I ordered the pork tenderloin with green pea sauce, it was not impressive.Jason ordered a fish, I am not a fish person so didn’t pay attention of what type of fish it was hehe but it was good!The dessert….a foamed ice cream with coffee and nuts, yummy!
After the courses, I was very anxious to get the bill so we can catch the blue hour for photos. The waiter happened to chat with another customer and it took so long for him to come over yikes! Our first Michelin-starred experience – €116 plus €5 for tips…would gave more if he came faster 😛 Right after we paid our bill, we ran, literally ran back to that street again….#6 time! We were right on time, the blue hour OMG and hardly anyone was there too!!! Colmar looks beautiful both day and night, don’t you agree?Instead of heading back to our hotel after that street, we went to other locations too…it was perfectly safe to walk around the old town at night! Remember those places in day time?This was one that surprised me the most…each window of that house light up with LED lights!And the cathedral at night…Another surprise, a short clip was projecting onto the front door of the cathedral:
It was getting late and cold so we start to head back to our hotel but with some stops here and there….
We always pass this palace looking building on the way to and back from the old town…wonder what that grand building is?
We got back to our hotel past 10 pm and were so tired, where should we discover next tomorrow? It was totally worth the night stay in Colmar otherwise we wouldn’t able to take so many beautiful night photos and see Colmar at night!