My wife and I were visiting Colmar, France and had one waiter who made fun of French. She is a French teacher here in NY and was not too happy. All in all, the guy was rude and out of line. We were hanging out at a pub and some of the guys we met said they would kick his ass for us. Kind of funny, but too bad he lived up to the "rude" stereotype of the French. Otherwise, the French were so friendly and fun to hang out with. Paris might me a different story though.
La Petite Venise
Colmar's Petite Venise looks just like a scaled down version of Strasbourg's Petite France, only it's even more postcard-like, and has somewhat fewer tourists on an average day than Petite France does.
Situated down the Grand Rue from the Ancienne Douanne, which I took for the centre of the town, is a pretty place to be in for 3 or 4 hours, but it would wear you out if you decide to take it in in 1 or 2.
Most buildings are of dolly-mixture colors (I remember mostly yellow, orange, blue, and can be identified as former fishermen' cottages. Those fishermen were really lucky, living in such a beautiful place! - that was my
first thought upon seeing the place. Once again, imagine having your workplace just underneath your windows. Great, is it no? Yeah, but if anybody lives there now they must be really unhappy, with all the tourists -- my second thought, after better considering the situation.
However, I digress. That was quai de Poisonnerie. The next one is quai des Tanneurs, with black-and-white (and again
really postcard-like) half-timbered houses. Now, I've never been to Chester, in UK (yet), but a friend of mine who had said the houses in Colmar are just as worth seeing as the more famous ones in Chester. The houses have open verandas on the top floor, that were used (originally) for drying hides. I'd use them for sunbathing, though...
You can discover the area either on foot, or on a leisury boat trip, that takes you from the tanners' quarter to the rue des Tanneurs. It's bound to be a refreshing afternoon in any case.
Cathedral Saint Martin, the clock
On the clock standing on the south side of Cathedral Saint Martin, the hours are written in Roman numbers and the four is written IIII and not IV. This is the case on most ancient clocks but the question is why. I have found several explanations and I do not know which one is true.
- This is only for aesthetic, in order to have four numbers with I (I, II, III and IIII), four with V (V, VI, VII, VIII) and four with X (IX, X, XI and XII).
- This is only for aesthetic, in order to have a better equilibrium between the right and the left side of the clock.
- If written IV, it might have been mistaken with VI, which on a clock is written upside down.
- In Roman numbering, 4 has always been written IIII except for numbering sovereigns. As nowadays Roman numbering is not used anymore in real life but only for numbering sovereigns, the wrong feeling has established itself that IV was the regular form.
The Ancien Corps de Garde
In front of the south side of Cathedral Saint Martin stands the Ancien Corps de Garde (Former Guard house). It is a fine example of Rhine Renaissance style with at the ground level fluted Tuscany columns framing the entrance (photo 2) and at the first level, Corinthian columns framing the loggia (photo 3). The loggia is decorated with masks.
Maison Pfister stands 11 Rue des Marchands. It was built in 1537 in renaissance style by Ludwig Scherer, a hat maker, In the same way as most wealthy houses in Colmar, the lowest levels are built in stone and the upper levels are half timbered. A superb oriel window stand on two levels (sorry, only the photo of one level). On the lowest level, the figures of Emperors are carved : Maximilian, Charles V and Ferdinand. The house bears the name of its 19th century owner.