Saturday, May 04, 2013

Colmar’s picturesque ‘Little Venice’ (aka Petite Venise)

Before I delve into the topic of Colmar and show pictures of the old town (warning: I took a lot!) claiming to be the capital (or the gateway to) of Alsatian wines, let me highlight first and foremost its picturesque and most photographed neighbourhood...

La Petite Venise | Little Venice

Little Venice was formerly the quarter where butchers, tanners and fishmongers are seen hawking their goods and services. It is once a very lively part of everyday Colmar life where people come to shop and get things done. Nowadays it is a thriving tourist attraction. During warmer days the area bursts into a camaraderie of colour—flowers are a blooming, sights—café and restaurant terraces abound and spill over the cobbled streets, and sounds—music everywhere from the terraces and the street musicians that work the old town.

Unfortunately when I was there, the sun did not shine and it was a little bit cold so the outdoor scene was not as lively as I would have wanted it to be. At least it did not rain.

This area of Colmar is crossed by narrow canals of the River Lauch. Petite Venise is rather small (um, that is why it’s called petite, haha silly me) so if you walk fast around the neighbourhood in 15 to 20 minutes, you have seen it all, unless you are like me who stops at every corner to appreciate a detail, take pictures and bask in the beauty of the surroundings.

My advice: Take your time!

Trivia: Did you know that France and Germany had to fight for centuries for this part of France? And I mean the Alsace region which Colmar is a part of.

This is the reason why the architecture here, as well as the food and culture have heavy German influence. Because this region used to belong to Germany. Both countries ruled over the area a few times over a few centuries but in the end France won and had the jurisdiction.

Boating in Little Venice

There are flat-bottomed boats that cruises the canals as well and I’m sure sitting in a boat and watching the colourful Alsatian timber houses would offer a different experience and perspective of Little Venice.

I would have loved to spend more time in Petite Venise, such as have lunch here, have a drink on the balcony of one of the terraces hanging on the river or take a boat ride but I have other plans in my agenda.

Anyway, I have 2 more Colmar entries but they will come later...

On another topic, we also have a Little Venice aka Venice of the North here in the Netherlands. The town is called Giethoorn. I have been here a long time ago and would love to go back and have pancakes at one of the beautiful pancake houses on the canal. Read my old entry and see pictures here: Idyllic Giethoorn (in 2007).

Travel Period: April 2013
Destination: Colmar (Haut-Rhin – Alsace), France

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