Colmar Alsace

Your arrival in Colmar will first pose a most interesting question.

Are you really in France at all?

It's so different from anywhere else in La République. And to be fair, it's not only Colmar - it's the whole of Alsace, including the capital of the region, Strasbourg.

Colmar Alsace

To draw an analogy using the canine world, if you cross a poodle with a German Shepherd you get something very different and attractive! That's Alsace, that's Colmar. A definite cross between French and German lifestyles and culture.

Scenically, it's very German, but cuisine-wise it has a definite French touch. The Alsatians (people not dogs!) are fiercely proud of their heritage and uniqueness. They truly believe that their cuisine is the very best in France. Maybe. Maybe. It's up there in the calorie count, that's for certain and extremely filling.

Colmar Alsace

Colmar I like. The "Old Town" is chockfull of beautiful old timbered buildings, many with rooftops and gables which lean drunkenly at odd angles. It's a pretty "chocolate box" world that really does exist.

The streets seem to twist and turn, especially in the quarter named Petite Venise. You seem to get hopelessly lost only to turn a corner and recognise that you've passed that building a few minutes ago, going the other way (that was difficult to put into words, but visitors to Colmar will know exactly what I mean).

You can use the rail network in this area to visit many little villages dotted in the valley between the River Rhine and the Vosges mountains - all full of flowers and timbered buildings and very pristine.

Colmar Alsace

- and yes, another quirky thing. The railway-line is back to front! What I mean is - in the rest of France (as far as I know) you travel on the left-hand track (as in UK), but somewhere in Alsace you switch and travel on the right-hand track. I honestly don't know where it actually happens, perhaps at Mulhouse in the south and Strasbourg in the north, but I never did see it happen! Is it a German thing - do trains in Germany travel on the right? All I know is that I'm flipping glad Railtrack isn't in charge, as that could be a recipe for disaster!!

Colmar AlsaceColmar Alsace

Anyhow, back-to-front or not, there is every reason to make for Colmar, for in winter it's magical around Christmastime and in summer it's fresh, colourful and clean.

I understand Alsatians have their own language - well, I didn't actually hear anyone using it, but I sure did hear many other tongues, as Colmar is very popular indeed with foreign tourists. There appeared to be few Brits though, suggesting that the masses haven't discovered this lovely, unique area of France, yet.

Colmar Alsace

Colmar Alsace

Click on above image for more information on Colmar (on-line web page)

Colmar Main Banner

Hotel Rapp, slap bang in the middle of the Old Town is modern inside, with a warm swimming pool and pleasant Breakfast Room. Outside, it has a typical traditional façade which is very attractive indeed. My room, reached by modern lift then left and right a few times up and down mini-levels, had views of rooftops at those odd angles stretching into the distance! Very nice indeed.

Hotel Rapp

Click on above image for more information on Hotel Rapp (on-line web page)

The management, staff and all at Reception were unfailingly polite, helpful and multi-linguistic. I was made very welcome, especially in the excellent Restaurant and "winstub" (wine bar). Dining alone sometimes can be a bit of an ordeal, but at Rapp Hotel, the waiters were just first-class.

I would rate Hotel Rapp as no. 2 in my list of French favourites. Make it your choice if you wish to make it a happy visit to this very under-rated region of France.

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