The Perfect Fairytale Getaway to Alsace, France (Colmar, Eguisheim & Kaysersberg)
Blog Tour: Roaming through France
Welcome back everyone! For those of you who have been following me on Instagram saw that I got to visit the storybook towns of Alsace – the region with the colorful and charming Renaissance houses. Before I dive deep into this blog post, I just want to let everyone know that Alsace was BY FAR my FAVORITE region in France! I just fell in love with how peaceful, charming and colorful everything was. I truly felt like my favorite Disney princess, Belle!
Speaking of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, a fun fact is that the classic Disney fairytale was based in Alsace (the town of Eguisheim to be exact, but I go into that later on). No matter where you tend to wander through or get lost in this region, it is hard to not be amazed at everything!
Today, I am so excited to go over everything I did in the Alsatian towns of Colmar, Eguisheim and Kaysersberg and expose you to everything you could do or see if you ever make a visit to this region.
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If you haven’t had a chance to read my blog posts on Paris and Reims, I will summarize that I traveled to each city via the TGV train. (I made sure to book my tickets via Rail Europe in advance.) Since the journey from Paris to Colmar was a long one, my friend Courtney and I decided to make a stop in the Champagne town of Reims. After spending some time tasting some of the best Champagne in the world, we hopped back on the train at Gare de Reims. From Reims to Colmar, we had two connections, one at Champagne-Ardenne and the other in Strasbourg. Since we were on high-speed trains, the journey from Reims to Colmar only ended up being two hours and 40 minutes.
While we were in Alsace, the towns were small enough to walk everywhere; but to get from each village, Courtney and I ended up traveling via taxi. One thing to note about the towns in Alsace is that it is very different from the larger cities in France. You will find that many locals in this region do not speak English (they mainly speak French, German or Alsatian, which is a French/German dialect) and the only way you could find information is either at your hotel’s front desk or the prospective town’s tourism office (usually located in the heart of town). It is at these two places where you could request or schedule a taxi. It is also important to remember that these tourism offices close for an hour or two for lunch and also around evening to conclude the day.
During our time in Alsace, we stayed in Colmar. Even though Strasbourg is the largest city in Alsace, Colmar is a better base because it is centrally located in the region, making it easier to tour the other small towns.
Located in the heart of Colmar, specifically in La Petite Venise is Hôtel Saint-Martin – a charming boutique hotel featuring a quaint Alsatian charm (found through Skyscanner). I love how Hôtel Saint-Martin is surrounded by some of Colmar’s best restaurants and cafés, souvenir shops and is situated right where the holiday markets take place during the month of December.
Located a half an hour from Strasbourg via train is the lovely city of Colmar. This wonderful area is where France meets Germany and the two cultures come together. You could see it in the architecture, language and food.
As much as I love to take photos, I do not remember a place, other than Alsace, that I have been to where I have taken photos of every single part of the city (not kidding). It is that beautiful!
Here is everything to see and do in Colmar:
Stroll through the Lovely Cobblestone Streets:
One of the best things to do when you first get to Colmar is to take a stroll and just get lost. Admiring the colorful timber-framed medieval and early Renaissance houses and buildings is a great way to travel back in time and daydream about being in your favorite fairytale. Also, don’t worry about directions; Colmar is a very safe city to get lost in and it is small enough to explore most of the town in one day. It is also a great destination for solo female travelers!
Take a Boat Tour through La Petite Venise:
One of the best ways to see the gorgeous city as well as learn about Colmar’s history is by taking a boat tour along the charming river, La Lauch, in La Petite Venise. It is also along this river that you will find some beautiful bridges. It is another wonderful way to get some great photos!
Find a Cute Café to Relax:
Not only could you enjoy the charming atmosphere of Colmar while you are visiting; there is no better way to top it off than by sipping some delicious café au lait (coffee with milk) or chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) and savoring a pain au chocolate (chocolate croissant) or tarte aux baies (berry pie).
On the morning of our second day in Colmar, Courtney and I enjoyed a lovely breakfast at Au Croissant Doré, a café situated on a little side street in the heart of town. I enjoyed a delicious chocolat chaud with a tarte aux baies, specifically with blueberries. It was to die for!
Walk through the Cathedral:
If you have been reading my past blogs, you definitely know that I love to visit the sacred sites of the country I am visiting. During my time in Colmar, I made my way to Collégiale Saint-Martin. This beautiful cathedral dates back to the 14th century and contains some of the best Gothic styles. One interesting fact about this cathedral is that it suffered extensive damage during the French Revolution, but was later restored into the stunning church that it is today.
Savor an Amazing Alsatian Dish:
Even though the Alsace region is located in France, it has been passed between Germany several times since the late 15th century. As I mentioned above, this region has a heavy German influence.
One of the biggest ways you could tell the difference between Alsace and the many other regions in France is by their cuisine. Many traditional Alsatian dishes consist of pork, Munster cheese and spaetzle.
In Colmar, I savored one of the best dishes of my life! Located across the street from Hôtel Saint-Martin, in La Petite Venise, is Koifhus Winstub. During my time there, I enjoyed a delicious stuff chicken with mushrooms, spaetzle and cream. I also drank a great Alsatian beer on the side. It was very filling, but oh-so-delicious!
As one of the most beautiful towns I have ever been to in the world and the place that inspired the opening scene of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast; Eguisheim CANNOT BE MISSED during a trip to Alsace!
Just like in Colmar, you will find gorgeous Renaissance-style houses all throughout the town. The major difference between the two villages is that Eguisheim has fewer tourists than Colmar. Eguisheim is also a wonderful town to taste some of Alsace’s best wines! (Yes, I could live here if I could.)
Here is everything to see and do in Eguisheim:
Find the House and Fountain from Beauty and the Beast:
As you begin to wander through the quaint streets of Eguisheim, you could find some amazing hidden gems! One of them is the house from the opening scene of Beauty and the Beast. This little house has existed for many centuries, of course while being maintained. This is one of the major attractions in Eguisheim where you may need to wait in a line to get a photo. Please note that it is prohibited to walk up the stairs to the door.
Another amazing attraction from the classic fairytale is the fountain that Belle sat on with all of the sheep. This is definitely an easier find because it is located in the heart of town, right by the iconic Presbytère Catholique. This is probably the most crowded area in Eguisheim.
Count How Many Storks You Could Find:
One of the prominent figures you will see during your time in Alsace is the stork. As largely talked about in Alsatian folklore, these beautiful birds have been a yearly presence in this region, primarily in Eguisheim, during the warmer months.
You can spot these lovely creatures high above in the village squares, especially above churches and cathedrals. Their nests are usually perched atop of slanted rooftops. That is because it makes it easier for them to roam around, find food and bring it back to their nest.
Local Alsatian legend has it that if a stork is flying above your house, then a baby is born. When the baby is born, the stork will fly to an underground lake where the souls of the dead have been reincarnated as babies. The stork will then fish out a newborn, wrap it in a sheet and carry it back to a house. (I am sure many of you have heard this from your parents when you would constantly question where babies came from as you were growing up.)
No matter where you wander through in Alsace, you will find some of the most beautiful spots if you decide to get lost. Below are some photos of what I found during my time strolling through Eguisheim. Another great way to explore the city is by bike. Of course, both Courtney and I were wearing dresses, making it difficult to ride a bike so we had to pass up that option.
In addition to seeing some of the most beautiful houses, you could also pay a visit to Eguisheim’s gorgeous church, Presbytère Catholique. I loved how beautiful this church was and it even reminded me of the church from Beauty and the Beast (even though that one wasn’t inspired by Presbytère Catholique). This stunning Catholic church is part of the worldwide Catholic Church in communion with the Pope. It was established in the 2nd century in unbroken communion with the Bishop of Rome.
Another great thing to do during your time getting lost in Eguisheim is discovering a great place to eat! Located throughout the city are numerous cafés and restaurants to eat at. Since Choucroute Garnie is a staple dish in Alsace, I decided to get a platter to try at Restaurant A. Edel in the heart of town. The cured, cold-cut meats (which mainly consisted of pork) were delicious, but also very filling!
Taste Alsatian Wine:
One of the many things I did not know prior to visiting Alsace is that it has a pretty amazing wine route. During your time in the region, you could find several different wine tours that will weave you through Alsace’s thousand-year-old wine producing area. (It is beautiful!) One of the wine tours I wish we could’ve done, but unfortunately didn’t have the time since we wanted to visit a few other places, was bike riding through the wonderful vineyards. I guess I will have to save that experience until I come back!
If you are limited on time like we were, you could also do a tasting at a winery in Eguisheim. We did our tasting at Paul Schneider, an independent winegrower from over four generations. We tried a selection of wines ranging from Riesling to Muscat and Pinot Gris to Gewurztraminer. They were all tasty! I also love how pretty the outside of the winery was!
Enjoy Delicious Pretzels:
Throughout Eguisheim are various pretzel stands as well as traditional French bakeries. Since we were in a region where there was a major German influence, I decided to get a delicious pretzel to snack on.
Located on the main road, when you pass the main square, is Patisserie Marx. It is here where you could grab a variety of different baked goods as well as one of my favorites – pretzels! I got a delicious caramel-covered pretzel and it was amazing.
Located on the Alsace Wine Route is the storybook town of Kaysersberg. A cool fact about this town is that it was named France’s Favorite Village in 2017 due to its friendly local residents, adorable architecture and overall charm. The medieval fortress that surrounds the city serves as a reminder of both Kaysersberg’s strategic importance and warlike past.
One of the many reasons why I loved visiting Kaysersberg as our last Alsatian destination is because it was peaceful and relaxing. We didn’t have to deal with heavy crowds and long waits. You could take a photo pretty much anywhere without people getting in the way. It was amazing!
Here is everything to see and do in Kaysersberg:
Relax by the Beautiful Waterfalls:
Located in the heart of Kaysersberg, you will find the flowing Weiss River falls. Since these falls are beautiful, alluring and fresh, it is easy to sit in front of it for hours while enjoying quality time with a friend or loved one. It is also a great place to spend some alone time! In addition, there are also wonderful views of Kaysersberg’s gorgeous Renaissance buildings and houses.
Find the Best Crème Brûlée:
In addition to strolling the romantic streets of Kaysersberg, it is also the perfect town to take a lovely break and enjoy a refreshment (coffee or aperitif) or snack. Since crème brûlée is a major staple in France, I made sure to get one during my week there. In fact, some of the best crème brûlée I savored during my time in France was in Alsace. You could find this wonderful dessert at any restaurant or café in the country.
For those of you who may not know what crème brûlée is, it is French dessert consisting of a rich custard-base topped with a texturally contrasting layer of hardened caramelized sugar. It sure is yummy!
Since Alsace is a unique area in France, I recommend buying your souvenirs here! From magnets to clothing and coffee mugs to pottery, you could find so many intricate pieces in these souvenir shops. As you wander through the main street of Kaysersberg, you could find several different shops.
Find Your “Pretend” Future Home:
Since Kaysersberg is much smaller than both Colmar and Eguisheim, it is definitely easier to walk through in a shorter period of time. Just like the other two towns, I fell in love with Kaysersberg’s architecture. From decorated shutters to lovely flower boxes, I could never get sick of looking at this place.
Visit Château de Kaysersberg:
A historical place to visit during your time in Kaysersberg is the Château de Kaysersberg. Built in the 11th century, this castle features a fairly large cylindrical dungeon, one of the oldest in the country! You could also take the staircase and enjoy the amazing views of Kaysersberg.
Click here to discover everything to see and do in Alsace.
Overall, my two days in Alsace was pretty incredible to say the least. If you have any questions on my time in the Alsatian towns of Colmar, Eguisheim and Kaysersberg or my trip to France in general, please feel free to email me at TAYLORL.DEER@gmail.com, contact me via social media or comment below.
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