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Following lunch we boarded a motor coach for the optional excursion to Colmar. It is best known as the birthplace of the father of the Statue of Liberty, Auguste Bartholdi. It is one of the most beautiful small towns in France.
Colmar is the third-largest commune of the Alsace region in north-eastern France. The town is situated along the Alsatian Wine Route and considers itself to be the "capital of Alsatian wine" capitale des vins d'Alsace. The city is renowned for its well preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks and its museums, among which is the Unterlinden Museum with the Isenheim Altarpiece (which we will cover in a separate post: Colmar Unterlinden Museum).
A maze of cobble stoned streets are lined with centuries old timbered houses, many of them decorated with flowers and other decorations, like the one pictured above. Among other sites are the following:
Église Saint-Martin – 1234–1365. The largest church of Colmar and one of the largest in Haut-Rhin. Displays some early stained glass windows, several Gothic and Renaissance sculptures and altars, a grand Baroque organ case. The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory opening on a series of Gothic chapels, a unique feature in Alsatian churches.
Église des Dominicains – 1289–1364. Now disaffected as a church, displays Martin Schongauer's masterwork La Vierge au buisson de roses as well as 14th century stained glass windows and baroque choir stalls. The adjacent convent buildings house a section of the municipal library.
Tip: Make small purchases like these so that you have some small change for guide and bus driver gratuities. Purchasing food or beverages also is a good way to find a free water closet (WC).
Additional photos can be found on our Rhine & Moselle Shutterfly page:
Click on the image to the left for more Blog posts about this trip.
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