Every country has its ‘Little Venice’. In fact, almost anywhere with a canal seems to be staking its claim. Given the right dusk lighting and a well-angled location behind a narrow boat, you’ll even find your photo of ‘the little Venice of Birmingham’ going viral. It’s no surprise, then, that the pretty town of Colmar can’t help but get in on the act. Unlike some spots, however, its river-woven, timber-house-lined centre is thoroughly deserving of the accolade. If you want a picture-perfect scene, this historic centre is the place to find it.
For much of the 19th-century the town was, in fact, a part of Germany and has a rather unique culture as result, with the German language blended into street names and a pleasing mix of French and German cuisine… Not only is it the regional capital for wine but the local beer isn’t half bad either.
It’s in the Horbourg Wihr district on the eastern edge of town that Camping De L’ill À Colmar is found; perched on the banks of a river. Despite being less than half an hour’s walk from the town centre, the leafy setting gives the campsite a far more rural feel. Pitches are spread among mature trees with the best of the bunch right on the waterside, so be sure to ask for one of these if they’re available. Pre-pitched safari tents are on offer, if you want a little luxury or simply don’t care for the effort of pitching your own tent, and larger pitches are available if you’re arriving as a group.
Facilities abound: There’s a small on-site restaurant, a living room with books and board games, free Wi-Fi, a heated swimming pool and a water play area. Yet, while it all keeps family campers (and particularly children) happy, it’s the location that remains the winning feature. Colmar itself has a wonderfully compact and walkable centre, while canoeing on the local rivers and adventures in the Ballons des Vosges Nature Park – a vast mountainous region a few miles west – mean your never short of options.
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