For the third day of our European extravaganza, we were leaving Paris, and heading to smaller towns. We woke up early, checked out of our hotel, and went and picked up a rental car. We’ve gotten a lot of questions about why we chose to drive instead of fly or take the train in Europe. We will do a whole blog on this later, but it came down to several things – price, freedom, and comfort. We actually found that it was one of our cheaper options, we liked the idea of having the freedom to set our own schedule, to get out when we wanted to, see things we wanted to, and leave when we wanted to, and in our minds, it was a much more comfortable way to travel.
We drove out of Paris, with our final destination of the day being the small town of Colmar, France. It was bittersweet leaving Paris – I had been to Paris before with mixed feelings, but on this trip, had really fallen in love with it.
On our way to Colmar, we stopped in the town of Reims. We had left Paris without stopping for breakfast, and were ready for an early lunch, and a few glasses of wine. Reims is the uncrowned capital of the champagne growing region of France, and we stopped into one of the cellars. We didn’t spend long in Reims, but it’s a beautiful town, with a lot of charm. Plus, considering my longtime love affair with champagne (bubbles, wine, combined!) how could I not love this place?
The drive to Colmar was breathtaking – if you ever get the chance to drive the French country-side DO IT. Put on The Beauty and The Beast soundtrack, sing the ‘provincial town’ song at the top of our lungs, and stop at every field of yellow flowers you see, and twirl around. At one point, we stumbled upon a castle in a field of flowers, and I had a hard time containing my joy.
After all of our stops, we arrived in Colmar in early evening. When we first started planning our trip to Europe, I knew that Colmar needed to be on the list. Colmar is known as ‘little Venice’ because of the canal that runs through the main part of town, where small boats take guests through. Colmar is near the border of Germany, so the architecture is a mixture of German and French. When we got to Colmar, we didn’t have an agenda, except to walk around, and take in the charm.
We wound our way through cobbled streets, and narrow back alleys, all along the flower lined canal. Colmar, is a beautiful place, that feels like it was dropped into France out of a Fairy Tale. We found our way into a small restaurant for dinner, where we had our best meal that we ate while in France. The intimate, warm dining room provided us with a memorable three course dinner. After dinner, we headed to our hotel, which was one of our best parts of Colmar. Hôtel le Maréchal is old and historic, and has rooms that face the back of the canal, with beautiful water views. We felt like Hansel and Gretel (except not the part where we were going to be eaten by a crazy old woman) in an oversized gingerbread house. We recommend staying there if you get the chance!
We headed to bed after our very full day, because we knew we had another full day ahead of us!