You know the provincial town in Beauty and The Beast? (Aka the best Disney movie ever?) Well it was inspired by the real life fairy tale town of Colmar, France. We had the pleasure of visiting this incredibly charming town this summer, and I donned a blue dress for part of the time, in honor of my favorite Disney Princess, and tried my best to not burst into a few bars of ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere’. If you’re looking for a small town for a romantic getaway though, Colmar should be at the top of your list. They call it the ‘Little Venice’ of France, because a canal weaves it’s way through the old city center. The architecture is a mix of French and German, which we quickly learned, is the best mixture of architecture in the world. The colorful buildings had brightly colored flowers spilling out of boxes, and cobbled streets to walk down. This is not a city to go to if you’re looking for action or activity – but rather to get away, in a beautiful, quaint setting that you’ll never forget.
Hôtel le Maréchal might be my favorite hotel of all time. This old and historic hotel offers views from its windows of the famous water canals that you came to Colmar to see. The hotel has the feel of a mix between an oversized doll house, and a gingerbread house come to life. Rooms are on the smaller size, but what they lack in size, they make up for in charm, and old world feeling.
We had dinner at a small restaurant that we stumbled upon by accident down one of the many cobbled stoned alley ways. After a quick Yelp check to see if it got good reviews, we ended up having a late dinner here – and boy are we glad we did, as it ended up being the best meal of our trip. Wistub de la Petite Venise is everything a French restaurant should be. Atmospheric, delicious, and not unreasonably priced.
Half the fun of Colmar is just walking around and taking in all the charm and beauty of the city. If you want, you can take a boat ride down the canal for a very reasonably price. Colmar has a fantastic marketplace that we recommend going to as well, for wines, fruits, cheeses, and bread – here we picked up the best tasting strawberries I’ve ever had (it was like Willy Wonka had gotten into the fruit growing business). The Market is named Marché couvert de Colmar and is a short walk from the city center.
We love Colmar and know you will too. It should be at the top of your Europe planning trip bucket list, if for no other reason that the fact that you can sing a few songs from Beauty and The Beast, while skipping through the town that inspired the film.