France (Alsace)_3

Colmar,  a 15th – 17th century city in the Alsace.

A delightful town. Even though the weather had it’s ups and downs the day we visited, it kept its charm.
We wandered around, following more or less a self-guided walking tour of the city.
We admired the Customs House (Koifhus), Tanner’s Quarter, Old Market Hall, Petite Venice, St. Martin Cathedral, Maison des Têtes (House of Heads), the baker’s market and many other places.
The Maison des Têtes was a famous merchant’s house, built in 1609 by a big-shot winemaker. It is playfully decorated with 105 faces and masks. It was undergoing repairs/renovations when we were there, but we still got a good idea of the place. It is now a gourmet restaurant and a 4 star hotel.
In the Customs House delegates of the Decapolis would meet to sort out trade issues, much like the European Union does in nearby Strasbourg today.
At the Tanner’s Quarter the vertical 17th and 18th century rooftops competed for space in the sun to dry their freshly tanned hides, wile the nearby river channel flushed the waste products.
The Old Market Hall is Colmar’s historic and newly renovated market hall.
Petite Venice is a neighbourhood with a collection of Colmar’s most colourful houses lining the small canal. The river was canalized for medieval industry – to provide water for the tanners, to allow farmers to barge their goods into town, to power mills, and so on.
The St. Martin Cathedral was erected in 1235. With its lone tower ( 2 were planned) and gleaming tiles it was inspired by the Hôtel Dieu in Beaune.
Typical is the architecture: the “half-timbered houses”. The beams (upright, cross, angular supports) are grouped in what is called (and looks like) “a man”.

(most of above information is from Rick Steves’ “France 2012”)

After our delightful visit to the Alsace it was time to return to The Netherlands.

We mostly took small country roads. Sometimes it was hard to figure out whether we were in France, Luxembourg or Germany. Checking the licence plates on cars, parked near houses, put us usually on the right track. It is still a funny idea though, meandering through parts of Europe, without crossing visible borders.

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About jospalsphotos

amateur photographer who loves to travel
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4 Responses to France (Alsace)_3

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