Belle Provence Travels

A South of France Blog

Beautiful Colmar in Alsace.

Greetings dear readers and friends. It’s here, la rentrée! That time of year when kids go back to school and the French end their summer vacations. And what a busy time it’s been…

This past weekend we traveled to the Alsace region to celebrate my husband’s grandmother’s 100th birthday. Yes folks, you read that right, 100 years old! I still can’t really get my head around it. And boy, if she isn’t in great shape. Apart from needing a cane from time to time, she gets around just fine… even did a few turns on the dance floor on Saturday night.

My husband’s family is from the Lorraine region, but a family member had been to a really cool hotel / restaurant in Alsace, Nid de Cigognes (town of Ostheim) and thought it would be the perfect spot. And it certainly was…

Did I mention that Nid de Cigognes means Stork’s Nest and that there is indeed a giant stork’s nest perched on high in front of the hotel? Yep.

Seeing is believing… so here’s the photo:

A stork’s nest at the Stork’s Nest Hotel – Nid de Cignognes

But before the celebration kicked-off, we left a day early and headed to the *absolutely gorgeous* town of Colmar. This place is stunning.

The last time we visited Colmar was about 6 years ago, at Christmastime, so you can imagine that it had quite a different feel this time around. December in the city is spectacular, when the whole town turns into one giant Christmas market. The stuff fairy tales are made of…

But with the colorful, overflowing, flowers hanging alongside the canal and from window sills perched on high all around the town, it was hard not to fall in love with the summertime version of Colmar. Actually, we couldn’t get enough.

Cheese-covered pretzels at the Colmar indoor market.

We walked all through the town on Friday until we couldn’t walk anymore, and then we returned for a second go-around the next morning. Besides the pictured-perfect town landscape, I loved the indoor market, which sold everything from pretzels (cheese-covered, ham-covered, chorizo-covered, you name it), to fruits & vegetables, to Riesling-flavored mustard. And don’t forget the beer!  There were several restaurant / bars in the market and, for the summer, they’d opened an evening beer hall complete with adjacent food trucks.

Mama mia, we ate well.

Café life, Colmar

Other highlights included visiting the neighborhoods of the Tanneurs and La Petite Venise. You can take Le Petit Train (a “tourist” train that will take you on a visit of the city) to see all of the top spots in Colmar. And you can also visit La Petite Venise by boat, something I’d love to do on our next visit.

Alsacian-style breakfast at the hotel.

We ate at Brasserie des Tanneurs which serves traditional Alsacian fare like choucroute and flammekueche (a kind of mix between a French tart & a pizza) and wonderful salads like breaded goat-cheese with a fig sorbet. A big plus being that you can sit on their shady terrace next to the canal and take in Colmar’s incredible views.

Colmar is far from a hidden secret, and can get jam-packed during Christmas season and the summer months. We stayed at a discount hotel (called B&B hotel) a little ways outside of the center and had the benefit of a car to drive in. It’s a good idea to book well in advance and place yourself in town if you are traveling by bus or train.

A nice spot for a break with my daughter.

One thing’s for sure, we’re already planning our next trip to Colmar and Alsace. We had quite the same impressions as that first trip in December 2013… it truly is magical.

Wishing you a trés bon week-end les amis!

10 thoughts on “A Weekend to Remember in Alsace

  1. This sounds lovely. Alsace is a beautiful region of France. Still dancing at 100? That is a life goal I’m def aspiring too x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Dancing at 100 is indeed a pretty great goal to have! Many thanks for your comment 😊


  2. Patricia Hagan says:

    Oh my, so many wonderful towns – such wonderful photos and description. And, you always find the best food – thank you so much for sharing your travels.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Merci Patricia! I always appreciate your comments, thanks for lifting my spirit today! 👍😊🇫🇷


  3. keithvs says:

    On our first trip to Alsace some years ago, my wife and I also stayed in Osteim. I don’t remember the name of the hotel but it was right next to the church. We arrived late at night and were awoken bright and early the next morning when the church bell rang to announce the hour–at 6am! It sounded like it was right in our room. Quite a memorable start to our visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      That is so funny Keith, I swear it’s the same hotel! I counted the church bells in the morning instead of looking at the clock, too funny! It’s a really pretty town at any rate, would love to go back.


  4. Sue says:

    Thanks for the inspiration Tuula , we’re beginning to think about our next trip to France in spring 2020 – this is post for the planning file 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      Thank you for your kind comment Sue, & happy trip planning! 😊


  5. perfectlyprovence says:

    Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing. We definitely need to return to that magical place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tuula says:

      It’s lovely, can’t wait to get back ourselves!


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