My 19 year old daughter and I are visiting a friend in Stuttgart this May and I thought it would be nice to take her to France. I am hearing a lot of good things about Colmar and Strasbourg. We were going to do a 2 day/overnight trip to one of these cities. Which do you suggest and why? Any good hotel recommendations? Little Venice looks so quaint and I am leaning toward that. Are there hotels on the water? Thank you for any help/suggestions!
Hostellerie de Marechal has canal view rooms. Just make sure to book it that way. Trip Advisor very positive. Us lazybones stayed at the Best Western by the train station.
I prefer Colmar over Strasbourg so would suggest staying there. It's a smaller city with a wonderful ambience, some great restaurants, nice hotels and the Unterlinden Museum. There are some talented street musicians performing in the evenings, usually near one of the canals. I stayed at THIS hotel and would certainly recommend it.
Have a look at these reviews for some interesting comments....
Alsace-Lorraine has been German about as long as it's been French so you might not get exactly what you're expecting.
Colmar is one of those places that exits only by tourism; Srasbourg is an honest, real working city. Quaint gets old fast.
If you're looking for quaint, I think you will prefer Colmar, which is smaller and easily walkable. I have loved it on two visits. Rick rates Colmar's Unterlinden Museum and Dominican Church both as "3-star" sights, versus Strasbourg's Cathedral at "2 stars." From Colmar, you can connect by bus to the smaller Route du Vin villages (but no bus on Sundays).
I visited both towns last month - train from Paris to Strasbourg, stopped a few hours, then train to Colmar, spent the night. The towns feel similar to a first-time visitor; both are nice though Strasbourg feels bigger (probably is). Colmar feels more quaint in part because there are no trams unlike Strasbourg. I don't think it would have been the end of my world had I spent the night in Strasbourg and not seen Colmar at all, but I would give a slight advantage to Colmar. I found it impossible to walk around without getting lost the first day, there are so many twists and turns - kind of charming in that way, I think, like Venice.
If the European parliament is in session in Strasbourg, hotels may be impossible booked/expensive anyway so the practical choice might be Colmar in that case.
Two years ago my husband and I visited both Strasbourg and Colmar and were happy we took Rick's advice to stay in Colmar. We actually also took his advice and stored our luggage in the lockers at the Strasbourg train station (2 hour straight train ride from CDG station) and covered the City Center in a couple of hours before taking the quick train trip (20 minutes I believe) to Colmar.
I don't think quaint ever gets old; Colmar remains one of my favorite little cities. The canals, museum, food, etc. were all wonderful. An incredible mix of German and French.
We stayed at one of the recommended B&B's near the train station which worked well but was a bit of a walk to the City Center. That said, if you stay in the City Center, it would be a bit of a walk to the train station. :)
You will love it!
I visited Strasbourg on my way to Colmar and am glad I did it that way. A few hours and Strasbourg was enough to the cathedral. Colmar is a lovely town for walking. I stayed at Hotel St. Maarten, which is in the center of the old area and I really enjoyed it. It's an interesting older building, and the staff was very nice and very helpful.
I stayed in Colmar and day tripped to Strasbourg, enjoyed both very much. I don't think you can go wrong with either - stay in one and take the short train ride to visit the other. Strasbourg is a little more cosmopolitan because of it's status as the seat of the European Parliament, Colmar is a little smaller and more intimate.