I just flew from Prague to Basel and hopped on a train to Colmar, France. I’m meeting the co-author of our France guidebook, Steve Smith, to do some research work, and then we’ll meet our film crew to make two new TV shows in France.
I love Colmar. For years, it was a two-night stop on our “Best of Europe in 22 Days” tour. Today it seems strange to think that the most charming city in the German-flavored corner of France called Alsace would merit that coveted spot on our “grand tour.” When designing the tour, we figured that on a three-week Europe tour, while you’d obviously visit Paris, you’d also want a look at the French countryside. And Colmar offered a way to break the long drive from the Swiss Alps to the grand finale in Paris. As a bonus, it let us include a look at the WWI battlefield sights of Verdun and a stop at a Champagne cave, to boot.
Now, our Best of Europe tours stop in Burgundy rather than Alsace. We made the change because Burgundy is more quintessentially French than Alsace. But if you’re touring Alsace, Colmar is still the best home base. I like Alsace — but it really is a mix of German and French culture, as this is the region that for centuries flip-flopped between Germany and France depending on who won the last war. That’s why you find people here named Jacques Schmidt or Gunter Dubois, and the wurst comes with fine sauces.