DAY 2 OF 19
After a lovely breakfast in Strasbourg, then struggling to get into the car without banging the doors on anything (almost had climb in through the trunk!), and fiddling around with that wench of a GPS (which we then realized that the Europe SD card had partially fallen out when it was dropped the previous day, so I liked her again), we set out on the Alsace Wine Route for Colmar.
ALSACE WINE ROUTE
So I have to admit, in all my planning for this vacation, I did not even realize we would be driving through this famous region. I was so focused on the planning stuff in the cities, that I didn’t plan any wine stops…but the great thing about driving through Europe, you can pretty much stop and do whatever you want. Which is what I did, my hubby fell asleep in the passenger seat and woke up to see we were off the highway and in the middle of a vineyard (I guess the GPS had a premonition that that’s where I’d end up at some point!). More than 170 km of curving roads leading through vine-covered hills, enchanting villages with decorative flower box displays, and almost every village has one main street that is lined with Domaines (wine cellars) offering tastings (some free!). A shame really that my hubby doesn’t drive, I couldn’t take full advantage of the free tastings, which I made sure to repeat to him “If only you knew how to drive….” every 5 minutes. So my stops along the route, were pretty much photo stops only.
Alsace vineyards and cute wineries
About an hour drive from Strasbourg, we arrive in Colmar, the capitale des vins d'Alsace. Art galleries, antique stores, indoor and outdoor markets, half-timbered houses, canals and flowers galore! I think I feel another Disney princess moment coming on. Map set aside, wandering about the old streets is the best way to explore it.
Left:Koïfhus in Old Town Colmar | Right: Église Saint-Martin
YOU'VE GOTTA SEE...
VIEILLE VILLE (OLD TOWN)
Street after street of beautiful old buildings. Picturesque (like storybook picturesque), plenty of tourists shops and places to eat with charming terraces. Most of the action is concentrated along the Grand Rue and Rue des Marchands and the beautiful Unterlinden Square. While the Old Town is walking friendly, if you don’t feel like it, or for a quick overview of the Old Town, take the Petit Train Tourisque de Colmar (about 7 km, 35 minutes).
Built in 1537, the building embodies both the medieval elements of Colmar's traditional houses and a few Renaissance touches. It has a broad wooden gallery, beautiful murals and capped off with a unique octagonal turret.
So I kind of expected a bit more. It’s a tiny area and I’m not exactly sure why it’s called this Petite Venise, because it doesn’t really resemble Venice, but it’s beautiful nonetheless. Typical Alsatian houses, quaint shops and restaurants line the canal. Boat rides also available, departure point is Pont Saint-Pierre.
LE MARCHÉ COUVERT DE COLMAR
Located along the Lauch River, the market is a great place to find Alsation wines, local fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and pastries. The little café in the corner of the market has great croissants and café au lait, and the wine bar has some great selections.
Lauch River, beside Le Marché Couvert and the some of the goodies sold inside
YOU'VE GOTTA EAT...
We ended up for a quick bite at Le Bistrot du Koïfhus located at the corner of Grand Rue and Rue des Marchands. It’s not a full service resto, more like a little brasserie with a cute terrace. Shared a plate with dried sausage, mustard and a baguette. A great place to taste local wines at very good prices.
A small snack: baguette with dried sausage and mustard, and a glass of Gewürztraminer wine
Belle découverte de l'Alsace, avec ses maisons à colombages, et ses ruelles pittoresques. Next up - Mulhouse!