Visit Colmar by Mouse
Colmar is in the Alsatian region of France very near the Rhine River and the German border on the east and also near the Swiss border on the south. The Alsace region has had many shifts in allegiances and ownership to several countries and entities over the centuries. In its more recent history the area belonged to France until 1871 when it was ceded to Germany after the Prussians defeated France. The area remained under German control until after WWI when it returned to France where it has been ever since except when it was ruled by Nazi Germany during WWII. As a result of these shifts in allegiances and consequent shifts in cultures, the city of Colmar looks at least as German as it does French. The population speaks French mainly but large percentages also speak Alsatian, a form of German.
 
We visited on our first trip in 2002 and came back again in 2008.  Both times we stayed in a campground across a nearby river, not the Rhine, and took a bus into Colmar.  That was the first time we saw electrified signs at our busstop just across from the campground.  This sign purported to report how long it would be in minutes before the bus would arrive.  When we first looked the sign said "10 minute". "Yeah", we said.  Sure thing. Then it said 8, then 6, then 3, then 1.  To our astonishment the bus arrived exactly one minute later.  The same thing happened in 2008
 
The bus took us to the center of Colmar where we spent a rainy, but quite interesting few hours walking around, and having lunch.
The city center is small and compact, largely a pedestrian zone, which makes it a very convenient and safe place to walk. There are many half-timbered buildings and many small shops with very pretty hanging shiny brass signs, restaurants and cafes. Colmar is the center of the Alsatian wine producing region. The official tourist web site has a list of the major labels of the area.
Among the good reasons to visit Colmar is the UnterLinden Museum housed in a former convent that dates from the 13th century. Among other works of art the museum contains a famous Issenheim alterpiece, a painting by the artist Matthias Grunewald, wood sculptures, many 15th and 16th century paintings, old wine-making artifacts, andarcheological finds from the bronze age.
Colmar is also the birthplace of Bartholdi, the artist who created the Statue of Liberty and there is a museum devoted to his life and art in the city. We visited that in 2008 and have a page of photos from that museum here.
A local food held in considerable reverence in Alsace as well as in other parts of France is choucroute, a dish consisting of smoked sausage and other meats, sauerkraut and spices cooked together.
2002 Letter   2008 Letter
 
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