Hello dear travelers! I just came back from a wonderful trip around Alsace region in France. More exactly, we’ve visited Colmar and Strasbourg! Can’t wait to tell you more…
Culturally between France and Germany, Alsace has only been part of the French territory since World War II. It obviously retains a strong German heritage, from the local dialect to the traditional meals and iconic architecture.
Colmar is the most charming little fairytale town I’ve ever seen. Why? Well, first of all, it looks like it’s taken straight out of “Beauty and the Beast”. For real!
First step: plane tickets. We’ve booked our Wizzair flight to Basel Airport (Basel is in Switzerland, right next to France and Germany). We paid 90 Euros for both – husband and I – round trip tickets.
Because we had a late flight that evening, we had to book an accommodation somewhere next to the airport and also next to a train station to help us get to Colmar the next day in the morning.
Therefore, we booked our 1st night at Aparthotel Adagio (rated as “Good 7.8” on Booking) in Saint Louis, France. We paid for an apartment 103 Euros and we were 5 persons. Me, husband, my cousin and two other good friends of ours who came one from London and one from Aberdeen, Scotland. It was a friends reunion so it sounded like a lot of fun!
So basically, here starts our DAY 1. Our friend from London had an early flight so he already made the check-in by himself and the other 4 of us met at the airport at around 10 PM. Being late, we didn’t have any public transportation available at that hour.
However, I’ve spoken with someone from the hotel earlier that day and asked for shuttle services in order to take us from the airport to the accommodation. They confirmed so everything supposed to be fine.
BUT!!!! You know there always is a “but” in all of my stories hahaha… it seemed that they totally forgot about us! Yeah. True! So we wasted like 30 minutes of our time for nothing just trying to find the driver outside the airport when they actually didn’t even send one for us. When I called at the hotel… they just said that there isn’t any driver available. Awesome! So we took a cab and paid 15 Euros until the accommodation for a 5 minutes drive, but… we were finally there. Yuuhuuu
The hotel though… well, it looked pretty nice. They also had an indoor pool, if this might sound attractive to you. It was also very clean, had a good heating, private bathroom and also a balcony. Overall, a good place to stay!
Couldn’t wait to taste a good french wine that night, so that’s exactly what we did! After a few glasses of wine, we realized we didn’t want to go to sleep that early so we agreed on having a short walk outside the hotel to see the surroundings. We’ve walked for 5 minutes and there was a tram station. Took the tram for a few stations and guess what? We were in Basel, Switzerland. Pretty cool, right? And that’s how we’ve been in two countries in only one night, France and Switzerland haha.
Basel seemed very friendly, I really liked the vibe and the whole atmosphere there. We just strolled around for a few hours, had some beers in some bars and had a good time together.
I am really sorry we didn’t have more time to spend in Basel, but I promise, there will be another city-break dedicated entirely to Basel and maybe Zurich, combined.
After a while, it started to rain a bit and the weather was also getting pretty chilly. Brrrr… Therefore, we just walked by the river Rhine and at around 3 AM we were back at the accommodation.
DAY 2. You know I always do my homework before visiting a foreign country, so I guess there is no wonder I already knew what train we had to catch to get to Colmar. The ride had to be a short one – only 35 minutes! So nothing to worry about 😀
However, because we were all tired and went to sleep at 4 AM the previous night/morning… we actually weren’t able to arrive on time at the train station, so… we’ve missed our train TADAAA. Oh well… KEEP CALM AND LOOK FOR THE NEXT AVAILABLE TRAIN they said!
The next train was arriving in no longer than 15 minutes, so it really wasn’t such a big deal that we’ve lost our previous one. We tried to buy tickets from the vendor machines but they only allow you to pay using credit cards, no cash… and at the ticket office there wasn’t anybody working yet, being too early in the morning.
So we didn’t buy any tickets and just hopped into the next train. The train conductor allowed us to buy our tickets during the ride (13 Euros each) and he somehow explained to us that we were supposed to change the train at Mullhouse and then take another train to Colmar, because this wasn’t a direct train… as the one we just missed before. Perfect… let the adventure begin!!!
Maybe you remember our trip to Bellagio and the issues we had when changing the trains… Guess what? This time was also no exception. I really don’t know what we understood from that train conductor but do you know the example with the sheep? The one saying that if one sheep is going a certain way, the entire herd is following it, just like that? Oh well, that’s exactly what we did hahaha. And we ended up going off that train in a small village, that didn’t even had a proper train station. Oh and it was also raining! The cherry on top! We were still happy, though :))
Ok… now let’s see when it’s the next train to Mullhouse and change it to Colmar, as we were suppose to from the beginning. Of course the next train was arriving in… 2 HOURS!!! Say whaaaat????
Now I stopped laughing! Really! It sounds funny now, but it sure wasn’t then. We also had a wine tasting arranged in Colmar at 11 AM and there was literally no chance to arrive on time. We called and re-scheduled it and went to find an open bistro to eat something until the arrival of the next train. Just imagine ourselves… carrying those trolleys through that shitty rain and wandering through that small village with literally no one else in the streets but us! Epic :)))
We finally found a bistro, the kitchen wasn’t open, of course. We were starving, of course. So we bought some beers, of course. Some 8.8 alcohol beers because we really needed something strong to make that day better!
The people owning the place were super nice and wanted to serve us, but there was only one tiny problem. They didn’t speak English… like at all. I don’t know how, but we managed to understand each others in some ways and they prepared for us some burgers. After that, we had to run back to the train station. Geez… what a day! And it was only 11 AM!
We took the train, changed it to Mullhouse and finally… FINALLLLLYYYY… WITH THE HELP OF GOD… we arrived in Colmar! Hurraaaayyy. Remember that the ride supposed to be a super short one – 35 minutes? Oh well, we arrived in Colmar at 1 PM so our ride lasted a bit longer… meaning 4 hours!
We stayed at Les Cigognes (rated as “Fabulous 8.6” on Booking) and I have to admit, the apartments were indeed quite fabulous. We’ve booked 2 apartments and paid 87 Euros for each one – 2 nights. They were super clean, the beds were comfy, the kitchen was modern and also the apartments had some cute french vibe. Totally loved staying there!
Because we’ve missed our wine tasting that day, the owner of the winery sent us some gifts meaning 3 bottles of wine and also some local products. Nice!
Finally, after we checked in, changed our clothes and tasted that wine which, by the way, is a super good one and you should also try it… we went outside to see what Colmar has to offer! And it was M A G I C A L!
Here is the place where… uhm… we lost our friend! NO KIDDING! While I was taking this photo, a friend of ours went… God knows where and… he just disappeared! Funny fact… he only had 20 Euros in his pocket and was also a little drunk haha :))) AND!!! He also didn’t have his phone with him because he left it at the accommodation to re-charge it. Oh, and it’s the same friend that managed to get lost in our Sicily trip as well, remember? But we love him, anyways. I guess we all have that ONE friend, don’t we?
We started looking for him, but couldn’t find him anywhere. It was a messed up situation… he actually asked some french guys to help him and used somebody’s phone to write us on Facebook… but we didn’t have our data on. So we saw his messages pretty late. Oooops! And because it was our 1st day in Colmar and also because we didn’t spend much time at the accommodation… well… we were quite sure that he wouldn’t even remember the way back to the apartments. Oh and even if he would, he actually didn’t have any key to enter the building :))
It was getting late and also super cold… so we went back to the apartment to see if he is somewhere near. We wanted to open his phone, maybe he would’ve thought about calling his own number and reach us. Couldn’t open the phone, because he had a password, of course. This day really really wanted to end the same way as it started, for sure!
The problem was that the following day we had to visit Strasbourg and we really had to find him somehow because we just couldn’t leave the city without him. So husband and I went outside ONE LAST TIME trying to find him. Did I mention that it was almost freezing outside?
We just took a left, walked like only 3 minutes and we saw him… in a bar… drinking whiskey with the owner of the place! Are you for real? HAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA.
He somehow managed to reach the same bar we stayed earlier that day while we were waiting to make the check-in for the apartments. Pfiuuu! So here finally ends our DAY 2. Can you believe it? I think I will always remember this day! Remember, remember… the 5th of November :))
DAY 3. We visited Strasbourg! I have to tell you that Strasbourg is a goooorgeous city and I totally fell in love with it. We really liked it a lot but I will tell you more in my next blog post, so stay tuned if you are curious 😀
DAY 4. My plans initially were to visit Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr, some other two super cute villages around Colmar that are also part of the same fairytale. However, because we had to re-schedule our wine tasting, we couldn’t stick with the plans for that day. I am still sad about this but… you know… maybe next time.
The wine tasting though was such a great experience! The host was talking about her family that runs this business for so many years and realized how passionate they are about what they’re doing. I guess this is why their wines taste so fine! More details here: https://www.onlycolmar.fr/service/degustation-de-vins/?lang=en.
So… the wine tasting was done. What to do next? Let’s go for another stroll. There were also many spots in Colmar that I didn’t see. For example Little Venice.
The Little Venice is the name given to the course of the Lauch in Colmar. This name probably came from the original line of the houses on both sides of the river, which serves the southeast of the city. This district starts behind the Koïfhus, goes through the fishmonger’s district and to the bridges Turenne and Saint-Pierre. It is therefore at the beginning of the Krutenau, whose etymology refers to places of market gardening on the outskirts of the towns. Originally inhabited by a rural community of wine-producers, market gardeners and boatmen, the Krutenau stretches out around the Turenne Street. Also, boat rides are possible here (6 Euros – 30 minutes).
This place? Amazing. Really… But let me show you more. Oh, forgot to mention that this is the most instagrammable place in Colmar, for sure!
After this short walk, the guys had to go because they were having earlier flights than us. Therefore, there were only husband, cousin and myself remaining. So we just walked and walked and walked and walked and then again walked a bit more through this amazing town. Colmar isn’t as small as I initially thought! In a way, I am actually glad that we didn’t have time to visit Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr that day because we wouldn’t have discovered Colmar the way we did!
Above you may see the St. Martin church which is a Roman Catholic church. It is in the principal Gothic architectural style. Because of its past as a collegiate church, is also known als Collégiale Saint-Martin, and because of its large dimensions, as Cathédrale Saint-Martin, although Colmar had never been the seat of a bishopric.
That day we also tried some of their french dishes… meaning Tarte flambée, Quiche Lorraine and Croque-monsieur. All super good, but… I’m still loving more the Italian food… or the Greek one. Sorry France! Prices were good, we paid 33 Euros for all of these + beverages.
However, the place where we ate was an antique restaurant owned by a super nice old lady who also prepared the food and served us! So cute, right?
Here ends our magical and also kind of funny trip in Alsace… We took the train back to St. Louis and from there another bus that took us directly to the airport for only 2.5 Euros per person.
DID YOU KNOW? The creator of the famous Statue of Liberty in New York was born in Colmar! Here is a statue made of resin which is a 12-meter high replica of the Statue of Liberty. It was sculpted to commemorate the 100th death anniversary of the sculptor Auguste Batholdi. It is actually outside the town and we couldn’t see it because there is no public transportation until there. However, if you rent a car… maybe you’ll find this interesting to do!
I really enjoyed this trip, even though would have expected the weather to be aaaa little bit warmer ;( Colmar is indeed a fairytale town and I would recommend anyone to visit it! Especially in the spring, when it’s all decorated with flowers… or in winter, when the town is so pretty you will look for Santa at every corner!
Until next time,
- Our stay in St. Louis and Colmar: 04.11.2017 – 07.11.2017
- Bucharest – Basel and return flight: Wizzair 90 Euros
- Accommodation St. Louis: Aparthotel Adagio 42 Euros
- Accommodation Colmar: Les Cigognes 58 Euros
- Total: 190 Euros as a couple
PS: If you are using booking.com to find the best accommodations like I do, then you should use the following link to receive 10% of your money back on your next travel! It’s a win-win situation… so why not?