Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Market in Colmar, France

One of the best things about living in Switzerland is that traveling to other countries is so easy! Last week we decided we wanted to go to France for the day to see a Christmas Market. To France. For The Day. Okay - let's do it!:)

So we woke up early on Saturday to take a two hour train to Colmar, France. Colmar is known for their Christmas Market and we thought it would be a fun way to spend the day. I love the idea of outdoor Christmas Markets! We have outdoor festivals/markets during the summer in Raleigh, but never during the "cold" months. There is something to be said about the cold weather, Christmas lights, and gluhwein to put you in the Christmas Spirit! It could have also been the cute little town that helped too! Most of the businesses and residences had decorated for the season and it was very quaint.

I thought I was taking greats pics of how cute and quaint the city was but this was the best I got - you can still kind of see:)

Colmar was very "German" though. I'm not sure what I was expecting -maybe a bunch of people in berets drinking coffee and being rude? I mean they did say "Bonjour" - but all the sausages and sauerkraut on the restaurant menus threw me for a loop!:) But then today I spoke with Miriam, who told me Colmar used to be a part of Germany, so I looked it up on Wikipedia and found out the country's history. Colmar went back and forth between French and German control several times starting in the 1600's. Now it all makes sense:)! I know this is a bit random, but I love learning the history of these towns, countries, and regions - better late than never. Like I said before I used to HATE European history! Now it is so fascinating...maybe I should go back to school for European History? Yeah - just kidding:)

Anyway, Colmar. We went with Sarah and Zann on the train, then Nathan's boss Hakan and his wife, Jasmin, joined us later. We went for the shopping, but (like it usually is with us) it ended up a big eating fest! We tried the chocolate, gluhwein (mulled wine) kugelhopf, gluhwein, flammekueche, and more gluhwein! Colmar is the capital of the Alsace wine region, so we had to try a lot of that wine too - mostly white - I love France:)!

Some yummy chocolate! I'm trying to bite off my "fair share" before Nathan gets a hold of it!

The biggest loaf of "French Bread" I have ever seen!
Flammekueche (or Tarte blambee in French) is bread dough covered in creme fraiche, onions, and bacon - an Alsace Region Specialty - yummmmmmm!

This lady was making crepes - the one thing we forgot to taste - I guess we will have to go back!

The best chocolate booth there! Nathan said it was like a show watching this man sell his chocolate!

Although it was crazy crowded, the market was a little hokey - I swear several vendors raided the Dollar Tree and shipped it over - but the atmosphere made it all good.:) Of course Nathan thinks Swagger should have a booth next year:) I think I was expecting more handmade goods - but I guess that is where all the food came in! I did get a Colmar Christmas ornament to remember the trip though!

Cute booth selling these "wind mill" things powered by the flame from the candles burning beneath it - we had one of these growing up!

This was in the window of one of the stores - I think I'm developing a strange love of gnomes - because I LOVE IT!:)

We weren't sure what was up with all the stork stuff but it was everywhere. I'm just glad I got to try on one of the hats!:) I'm just going to go out on a limb, but I'm guessing it is the region's bird? Kind of like the brown thrasher is to Georgia:). (The one thing I remember from Georgia History class:))

We ended our day with a fabulous meal at the Pfeffel Restaurant near the Unterlinden Museum. If you are in Colmar, I would definitely recommend it! Everyone's dinner was excellent and the staff was really nice!

Group Shot (from left - Zann, Sarah, Jasmin, Hakan, Nathan and Me)

I was feeling a little guilty about all the calories we consumed until we had to run/all out sprint to the train station to catch our train!!!! We thought we were leaving at 7:37 but it was 7:27 - HUGE difference when you are a 15 minute walk from the main train station! But we made it - just in the nick of time - and sat down to enjoy the rest of our chocolate and Alsace wine to celebrate;)

GREAT day trip for Zurich - especially at Christmas! Au revoir et Joyeux Noel!

p.s. - so yesterday we went to the Christmas Market at the Zurich HB (main train station). Basically more of the same from the day before, but the Swavorski Christmas tree was so amazing that I HAD to include a picture! We also saw the "Samichlaus" parade down the Bahnhofstrasseand finished up our Christmas Weekend with the "Singing Christmas Tree"and more gluhwein!:) I leave for the States tomorrow and won't be back until the end of January, so this was a fantastic "goodbye for a while" weekend!


Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I found your blog, just by googling Colmar markets france...We were there a few weeks agom it was wonderful..

Oh yes how wonderful to say "Lets go to France for the day" ..our friends live in France just near the airport in Basel..

Yes it is all very Germanic ..because of the it didn't feel like France to me but all the same it was great.

We did go to Switzerland as well we went to Interlaken, oh that was an amazing place.

Mandy said...

Hi Anne - Interlaken is amazing! All of Switzerland has been amazing - I'm so glad we have had to opportunity to spend a year here! Thanks for the comment on our blog!

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