I was planning to stay one night in Colmar between Paris and Bern, but am now thinking about maybe spending that night in Switzerland to have more time there. I love the look of Colmar (never been) - the half-timbered building, flower boxes - it looks BEAUTIFUL. Can anyone suggest a place in Switzerland? Perferably quite close to Bern as we will be flying out of there, and don't want to go to far ... we would likely head to this town from Paris and then go back and spend a few days in Bern before our flight. I know it sounds silly to go somewhere with a certain look/feel, but with only a day there, we'll mostly just be walking and looking around anyway.
Stein-am-Rhein gets a lot of votes for the most picturesque Swiss village (apart from the mountain villages like Mürren). It is 2 hours 20 minutes from Bern. Gruyeres is also reputed to be lovely, but I've not been there so cannot speak from knowledge. Jut about any mountain village is going to have chalet-style buildings with flower boxes filled with geraniums and other flowers (in the summer).
We had a "Rick Steves" local-life experience at the Restaurant zum Felsen, Rathausplatz 10 in Stein am Rhein last month. It's a nice town, but I don't think there's enough to do to spend the night. We parked at Hotel Klosterhof (check spelling), and it looked very nice (if modern), but we didn't sleep there. Look into Aarau - old town part, which is much bigger, and more unusual a medieval village. There's a bit more to do there. One street is big enough to let the city bus run through, which might spoil it for some. We visited and ate there, didn't spend the night. Colmar is beautiful, but Ribeauville, for one, is quieter and homier. We stayed at Hostellerie des Seigneurs de Ribeaupierre there, very local and friendly. There is no shortage of medieval towns in France, Belgium, and Germany, fewer in Switzerland. France is cheaper than Switzerland, of course. And the food tends to be better.
We did Colmar 2 years ago and it was nice but you have to go through a lot of city to get to the scenic old town. We also found Kayserberg is much smaller and easier to get around, and it is just full of neat half-timbered buildings. If we had it to do over we would have stayed in Kayserberg and day tripped into Colmar. Stein am Rhine is great place to spend an afternoon and evening. Pretty buildings, some with great frescoes on them, and in the evening it takes on a whole different atmosphere when the day trippers leave. Rather than spend a couple days in Berne, I would press on to Lauterbrunnen ans Murren ... they are the real jewels. When some one who lives in the Colorado Rockies refers to a place as 'just a little piece of heaven', you know it's a location that is out of the ordinary. Have a good trip
Carolyn, I spent some time in Colmar last year, and really enjoyed my stay there. It is a very beautiful city, and I enjoyed not only the flower boxes and things that you mentioned, but the canals and just the "ambience". The Unterlinden is a fantastic smaller Museum. In Switzerland you might also consider Lucerne, which is another beautiful city and not far from Bern. As it's a larger city, there's LOTS to do there. I found the Museum of Transport to be really interesting, and there are some great restaurants right along the river. Have a look at This Website for a few photos of Colmar and Lucerne (photos 2 & 12 - if you click on the first photo, it will switch to "Slideshow" display). Happy travels!