From Bern in Switzerland, we took a train north to Colmar, France. This town in the Alsace region has a reputation for fairytale-like aesthetics and beautiful architecture, so naturally it made my list of priority research destinations. That reputation was not wrong. We spent ten days living in a downtown apartment, along the Parc du Champ de Mars.
It was conveniently located a short walk from Little Venice, or the main squares.
In the same building, below our apartment, we found the wonderful Scmitt Bakery, a favorite spot for us to grab coffee and pastries every day (yes, they were hard to skip). If you’re looking for a treat right in the heart of the city, we also loved Au Croissant Doré, a wonderful place run by a charming woman and her family (you might be sensing a coffee and pastry theme among the Larkins).
We visited in the off season, and most of the days it drizzled throughout the day, and a couple times even a light snowfall. Fortunately, it didn’t stop us from exploring, and we also enjoyed a few sunny days. Locals told us, if we were to visit in season, this quiet town would transform into a packed and bustling hotspot, so I’m kind of glad we saw it in between the winter and summer tourist seasons.
Colmar also a couple of famous churches worth checking out.
After our travels in Asia, we returned to Europe, spending the night in Frankfurt, then flying on to Paris. While Paris didn’t relate to my work like Colmar, how could we miss it?
Because we arrived in the middle of December, we got to see the wonderful holiday decorations, but we also had to contend with the brutal weather.
Seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night in the winter was amazing; of course, it also left me with a serious cold.
In our walking tour of the city we visited the Louvre pyramids. Because I was sick, we decided to take the day slow and not stop inside. Still, the architecture itself was a highlight of the day.
After leaving the city center, we had an apart-hotel near Versailles for the holiday. We originally planned to visit the palace, but between me being incredibly sick and the cold and rain (after ten years in Florida, dark days seemed really dark and cold to us), we wound up staying in and taking a much-needed breather. This involved family movies, board games, and some spectacular home-cooked fajitas made by my wife.
While it’s not what we intended for the end of our return trip to France, it actually ended up becoming a memory I’m rather fond of. Between Christmas and New Years, we headed to Valencia, Spain.