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The harmony of Colmar | Hand of colors Solo Travel

The trip to Strasbourg was a relief. While Paris was covered in gray smoke, Strasbourg was a surprise with occasionally fluffy white clouds, patches of clear blue skies, and rainbow sun rays. That is exactly why I decided to extend my stay in Strasbourg. The feeling of leisurely sitting in front of the magnificent cathedral, sipping Alsatian beer, and a kind of consolation that makes you stay and stick your neck out to make detours. And to breathe in more Alsatian moments, I decided to take a day trip to Colmar, the oldest and most Alsatian city in the region. And if that wasn’t enough, a small reading about Colmar informed me about the Grunewald altarpiece in the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar. I spent a lot of time strolling through the galleries of Northern European Renaissance paintings. The sparkling beauty of these paintings has itched somewhere in my heart. The thought of seeing Grunewald could have been reason enough to go on another journey. And if the journey on a branch line only takes 45 minutes and there is a panoramic view of the southern segment of the Alsace route, decision-making becomes child’s play.

Colmar is the oldest and most Alsatian city in the region with a unique character.
In the streets of Colmar

The next morning I was in Colmar. I went on a trip early in the morning to make the most of the city. When the train crossed the small vines, with the Vosges as the crown and a romantic spectacle of ruins of centuries-old castles, my mind wandered in search of the folklore of Alsatian knights and the muse of life, which grew here regardless of the politics of Paris. In the distance there were small towns that are named after the years – for example Kaysersberg. In the golden color of the morning, the distant fields looked like sacred fires and retained the unique character of this country.

Alsace has its own share in political history. It has been passed back and forth between France and Germany over the years as rivalry between nations increased. The Colmar was conquered by the French in 1673, and in the 1870s the entire region became German territory. It remained German until after the First World War and was then temporarily occupied again when Germany expanded its territories during the Second World War. After the collapse of the Nazi Empire, Colmar became French territory again, but the German touch in the city’s architecture is hard to miss.

The best place to look at the French and German influence in architecture is in the Little Venice area.
After the collapse of the Nazis, Colmar came under France, but the German influence in construction is hard to miss

I was warned well by my Couchsurf host in Strasbourg of Colmar’s charm and provided with a list of sights and activities. And as always, I decided to miss the list. It’s not fun to explore if you don’t lose your way and discover new places. Serendipity is a gift for travelers. Colmar could easily match your idea of ​​a fairytale town with a charming old town, museums and architectural sights. And to enjoy the ancient charm of the city, head to Little Venice. A stroll through little Venice and the adjacent fishmonger’s district is adorable, with its winding streets, canal cafés, charming colored houses, and buildings that contain part of history. Alsace has developed independently of French and German politics and plutocracy. The independence and reverie of the region is easy to see in Colmar. Try this, the Alsatians have their language, which is widespread in the region, the houses from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance are lovingly preserved and the shops are still marked with ornate wrought iron signs. The fact is that the Alsatians have preserved their heritage and Colmar is an exquisite example of Alsatian culture and conviviality. And did I forget to mention the gastronomy here?

A stroll through little Venice and the adjacent fishmonger’s district is enchanting

Colmar is a treat for foodies, and the fishmonger’s market hall is probably the best place to test the region’s culinary appeal. Alsatian gastronomy is world famous: foie gras and choucroute come from the region. And in case you don’t have a wallet big enough to carry the deliciousness of foie gras, caviar, terrine, and truffle are good exceptions to being guilty of high-calorie, sinful food. Colmar has a variety of Michelin star restaurants. Try the Marché Couvert de Colmar, quality local products and an enviable view of the canal from the charming terrace. Even the Alsaco is good; modest café with a spectacular view of the Koïfhus. On the lookout, visit some classic restaurants with stained glass windows, butlers in folklore costumes, brightly painted exteriors, and blankets – – these reflect the pro-French wave at the turn of the century. Quite a shot from history that uniquely survives as a legend of the present.

The Unterlinden Museum, one of the most attractive buildings, houses the works of the Grunewald forest as well as a beautiful collection of decorative objects.

After making a full tour of the city with the usual snack breaks, I set out to discover one of the most valuable relics of the Renaissance and one of the reasons why I was in Colmar. The Unterlinden Museum, housed in a restored medieval monastery, was my next stop. I deliberately went there in the afternoon to avoid the morning rush. The museum is one of the most attractive buildings and, in addition to the works of the Grunewald, houses a beautiful collection of decorative objects. The Gothic hall is lined with exhibits and in the middle stands the confusing work by Grunewald. The painting is much larger and lighter than I thought and the main treasure of the museum. There would probably be a handful of works of art that can represent human suffering, as the crucifixion painting does with the two Marys and Johns present. The entire hall looks mystical, as if each piece were individually and perfectly finished.

And the Grunewald masterpiece

The paintings were commissioned by the Order of St. Anthony for their monastery in Issenheim, about 20 miles south of Colmar, and are often referred to as the Issenheim Altarpiece. Between 1512 and 1516 the artists Niclaus von Haguenau (for the sculptural part) and Grünewald (for the painted panels) created this famous altarpiece. Issenheim gradually commissioned and acquired an extensive collection of works of art by famous artists of the time. In 1852, the rich collection was transferred to the chapel of the former Unterlinden Dominican monastery in Colmar, which became the main collector and has been delighting visitors and art lovers ever since.

The normal houses of Colmar, which are often lavishly decorated, match the exquisite nature of these must-visits. There are boutiques in the houses selling local products such as chocolate and wine, as well as art and antiques. The houses have such an atmosphere of the medieval world that you can spend a whole day browsing through the neighborhoods in a click frenzy.

One of the interesting things about Colmar is the richly decorated houses.
Old houses in the fishmongers’ quarter – take a look at the unique German note that is as ubiquitous in Alsace as in France
Colmar is known for its Christmas markets

It is unbelievable how such a small town with only 80,000 inhabitants can pack so much history and culture and offers countless opportunities to come across amazing things that contradict the conformity of European standards, present a varied mixture of Franco-German taste and faith and Canals and streets are romantic, sumptuous cuisine and wines and even a dialect that is unique in the city.

To get: Colmar is located on the border between France and Germany near Switzerland. The next largest city is Strasbourg, from where you can get to Colmar in just 40 minutes by train. Colmar is located in the heart of the French region of Alsace and is known for its vineyards and wonderful wines. The region is a pioneer in wine tourism.

The unique architectural style in Colmar

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