Colmar: “Big City” Alsace

Colmar: “Big City” Alsace

(Join Tales Told From The Road as it continues its month-long virtual European journey.)

While yesterday’s stroll through the vineyards between Ribeauville and Hunawihr tempts us to take a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and spend the day sitting a picnic table at the edge of those vineyards, as travelers we don’t live by bread, wine, or loafing alone, so instead, we’ll drive about ten miles and a half hour south to Colmar.

Colmar is the third largest city in France’s Alsace region, and while it has over ten times the population of little Ribeauville, with sometime less than 70,000 residents it is only a third the size of the Alsatian capital, Strasbourg.

Statue of Liberty
(Sue Waters Flickr Photo)

As we reach the northern end of Colmar, we’ll be greeted by a sight that many European immigrants to the United States saw on arrival in New York: The Statute of Liberty.

Of course, this isn’t the real Statue of Liberty, but rather a smaller replica of the one erected in the U.S. by Colmar’s “favorite son,” Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Unfortunately, safely getting out of our rental car in order to take a “selfie” with the statute could prove problematic given the traffic entering and leaving the city.

We’ll arrive in time to enjoy a local specialty called “Tarte Flambé” (a type of thin-crust pizza) during an al fresco lunch at a café on the main square before setting off on a walking tour of the town.

Colmar has the ubiquitous Gothic cathedral that we can briefly poke around in, but we’ll find a visit to the smaller, plainer Dominican church with its splendid “Madonna of the Rose Bush” altarpiece framed in gilded wood more memorable. (WikiArt Photo)

Like many European cities, Colmar has its share of high-end clothing boutiques, and the usual collection of shops selling tourist souvenirs. More intriguing then the goods being sold inside are the signs marking these establishments.

Cows on the March, Colmar, France

Small canals run along the edge of the old section of Colmar. “Dugout canoes” powered by electric motors carry tourists around this part of the city. If the weather is warm, we’ll sit at canal side cafe and have a cold drink while watching these little vessels ferry the tourists up and downstream.

Canal Cruise, Petite Venise Quarter, Colmar, France

Then its back up the “wine road” to Ribeauville for a final night in Alsace.

Next up: Finding Anne Frank’s Home

(Click here to read more stories about the month-long Tales Told From The Road virtual trip across Europe.)

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