Colmar before Christmas

· Fashion, Food, Travel

Almost a month ago, we had the good idea to go to Alsace in order to rest, and we were very happy about it. On one hand, because of the calm and serenity of Les Vosges but also because we discovered the city of Colmar and its surrounding.

So here are a few pictures of this short trip and a few address recommendations at the end of this article (I haven’t tried some of them so feel free to comment below if you know the city well) so it can be useful for those who might have the chance to be there, during the Christmas market season.

 

Colmar before the festivities

We went to Colmar a week before the beginning of the Christmas market and even though the Christmas ambiance was not totally there yet (and the streets rather empty), I have to admit that we appreciated the peaceful spirit.

I can imagine that Christmas booths and streets must be even more magical but just looking at everyone getting ready was already very pleasant.

 

Visit Colmar

The city can be visited by walk, and going from one small street to another already worth the detour. So here is the reason why we didn’t visit any museum during our stay, we were already pretty busy to visit the city itself. Here are a few remarkable places to visit.

 

LA MAISON DES TÊTES : This Renaissance architecture building built in 1609, and adorned with 105 carved heads, used to be an exchange place for wines and became a Relais & Châteaux hotel with a brasserie and a Michelin star restaurant.

We had the chance to admire in details this facade as we had booked 2 nights at this place and by chance, we had a room with balcony (that tourists were photoshooting every morning, which gave us the feeling to be celebrities waking up with paparazzi ahah).

The bedroom and the decoration of the refurbished hotel seemed a bit disappointing as well as the service (the breakfast was not as good as what we had at the Vosges Cheneaudière hotel and spa) but the location was just perfect.

At least we can say that we stayed in a historical building and the gastronomic restaurant Girardin – tested and approved – really deserves its one-star prize!

 

LA MAISON PFISTER : the facade of this bourgeois house can be admired from the streets of Colmar.

 

LITTLE VENICE and THE FISHMONGER’S DISTRICT : Wandering along the Lauch (or on a boat if you don’t mind the cold) allowed us to discover this beautiful neighborhood with multicolor houses, looking like an Alsatian version of our Crémieux street or Notting Hill.

 

THE INDOOR MARKET : We got inside to buy bretzels (the sauerkraut one was very good especially when just out of the oven) but you can also find fruits and vegetables stalls as well as local products.

 

COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF SAINT-MARTIN : We didn’t take the time to get inside and visit but this collegiate could be a cathedral considering its size.

 

MUSEUMS : We had planned to visit the museum of toys, or the contemporary art museum, but we got drown by the Christmas decoration shops. Here is anyway a to-do list for the next time!

    • Museum of Natural History
    • Toys museum
    • Bartholdi museum: the creator of the Statue of Liberty in NYC was born in Colmar!
    • Unterlinden museum
    • Hansi museum
    • André Malraux contemporary art gallery

 

Eat in Colmar

We didn’t stay long enough to try more places but here is a short list (if you know any other address, feel free to add them in the comment area below).

 

BRASSERIE LA MAISON DES TÊTES : We ate a yummy sauerkraut in a woody historical ambiance.

 

RESTAURANT GIRARDIN : This Michelin star gastronomic restaurant with white and minimalistic decoration was all about tasting and sophistication. I didn’t take photos as I wanted to fully enjoy the moment but if you want to treat yourself, it’s the perfect place (the service is really smooth almost like a choreography but remains warm)

 

MAISON ALSACIENNE DE BISCUITERIE : A few shops of this brand can be found in Alsace and Colmar, we can almost see them at every corner.

It’s almost impossible to not buy anything especially as they offer a cookie every single time you pass by. I made a stock to bring back for the festive season (cookies can be kept quite some time).

Then, here are a few addresses we couldn’t try:

SCHWENDI : a typical Alsatian brasserie (winstub) that serves rosti and other “tarte flambées” (flammenkuche)

BIZKÖT : Organic bakery.

RESTAURANT of LE MARECHAL HOTEL (recommended by a local we met = let’s see if he was right! :-))

 

An afternoon in Riquewihr

The city of Riquewihr is located 20mn away from Colmar by car: it would have been a shame not to go especially as there is a wonderful shop for Christmas decorations called: “La féerie de Noël”/“Magic of Christmas” or “Käthe Wohlfahrt”.

It’s the giant alternative of the little Christmas market houses in Germany (I bought my first Nutcracker in “Käthe Wohlfahrt” stalls in Hamburg and Stuttgart Christmas markets).

Two floors dedicated to all kind of Christmas decorations (I love the Christian Ulbricht woody ones for our Christmas tree).

As we went before the Christmas markets it was not too crowded in the shop and with no waiting line outside (apparently it seems to be overcrowded during the festive season). A must-go for Christmas lovers… and the cute town also worth the detour.

 

So here was a quick overlook at my short trip to Colmar: I hope it will help you if you go there for the first time. Anyway, I can assure you that Alsatians know how to truly celebrate Christmas: I. AM. A. HUGE. FAN. (English translation by Quiterie)

Autumn pleasures

· Fashion, Travel

I understood how to appreciate the autumn season only a few years ago (my travel to Japan in 2015 might have helped a bit, as well as my interior refurbishing and the influence of Instagram).

Before, I didn’t find any interest: random weather, rain, cold, less light and shorter days, mood down… but! There are actually a few sides balancing these drawbacks.

As we’d better see the glass half full, here is a lit of advantages in Autumn that you will be free to complete if you want.

 

The beauty of the colors of nature

You might need to get outside the city to really find it out but the yellowing and reddening of the leaves remains a fascinating event.

 

The advantage of walk in the forest

I used to go hiking quite often when I was younger in Auvergne but I lost this habit when I moved to Paris.What a pleasure to go back at it during our holidays in the Vosges last week.

Walking with full consciousness in the forest seems to have stress relieving virtues and benefits for our global wellness: so why do without?

 

Go to rest in the mountain

Sauna with a view, at La Cheneaudière Spa-hotel in the Vosges

 

Before, I was always tempted to choose a sunny destination when the weather was not good or cold but I now actually think that it’s as pleasant to enjoy the current season.

We are lucky enough to have 4 real seasons in France. So when it’s cold, why don’t we choose to go where it’s colder? (…of course, if you can find a cosy and cocooning place).

Henceforth, I enjoy a mountain trip almost more as doing nothing on a Thaï beach (good point for the carbone footprint!).

 

Find advantages to the rain

When it rains, going out requires much more effort and does not feel as confortable: so why don’t we stay home? (I’m talking about weekends: I know it’s more complicated to stay home when we work (although… remote working might be an option)

When it’s rainy outside, staying at home is a real pleasure: hot herbal tea, baking a cake, reading a book or doing nothing, it became priceless.

So as I was telling you, it’s important to be able to arrange out interior: to create a cosy space, no matter the size and the budget, it really has a positive impact on your mental health during the gloomy weather periods (at least it has helped me a lot!).

 

The pleasure to wear warm clothes

In Autumn, it might be a more exciting challenge to decide what to wear compared to summer days: to match colors, thicknesses and textures, it’s a real pleasure… especially when, like me, you’ve been trying to keep only the essentials in your wardrobe.

 

To start manual activities

To echo the « rain » section. To keep yourself busy, nothing better than create something with your hands: drawing, preparing Christmas decoration, trying new artistic activities. Not long ago, my SO and I went to a Japanese ceramic workshop and it was just perfect for a Sunday afternoon (and what a satisfaction to see our masterpiece to come alive, even though it was not perfect).

You don’t think you have an artistic fiber? The result is actually not the most important but it’s the time spent to create that is the most satisfying.

 

To Light the candles

I barely use candles during summer season: so it’s a real pleasure to smell the woody scent when autumn is back. It adds up some warmness to our cocoon, but you are not learning anything here.

 

Enjoy seasonal veggies and fruits

This year I’ve been cooking squash and butternut a lot (gratin, tart, stir fry) (I actually pinned some recipes on my Pinterest) and I’ve been enjoying the large diversity of the recipes. I’ve also started cooking the fennel that I like baking as gratin.

And to simmer apples with cinnamon allows me to spend a comforting and yummy moment!

 

I could have also mentioned Halloween but I don’t have a huge passion for it and do not really celebrate it. I hope anyways these propositions will inspire you to fully enjoy this season that will end quite soon! (English translation by Quiterie)


My Outfit

Beanie Etam (already seen here)
Coat Urban Outfitters (already seen here)
Cashmere SweaterLa Redoute (already seen here)
Pants Leon & Harper (already seen here)
Hiking boots “Mountain Pass” Danner
Backpack Sanpak Japan

Five senses #15

· Decoration, Fashion, Food

Here is a new Five senses episode to share what have stimulated my 5 senses lately : let’s go !

 

Sight

Sweatshirt American Vintage
Suit Urban Outfitters (2014) (already seen here)
Sneakers New Balance (2014) (already seen here)

 

I’ve got two main colors in my wardrobe: beige and grey. I find them easy to match together and with other colors too.

I also really like the pink color (for the fresh and “healthy glow” touch) that I wear with a few pieces of clothes (with a trench, long jacket, and a raincoat and pants). I didn’t have any pink top (apart from a pullover that I loved but had to give up as it was too itchy!) : so I invested in this pink sweatshirt (being 100% sure it won’t be itchy as it is made of soft and fluffy cotton).

So here is the outfit with a grey suit spiced up with a touch of pink, that I wear outside with a long warm coat. I will try to mix and match it with beige clothes : it’s my own way to bring some brightness to the current weather!

 

Taste

Quite a few yummy discovery lately and 2 sunny shops to recommend.

The first one is HÉBÉ (15 Rue Frédéric Sauton, 75005 Paris) The perfect balance between tastes and textures from starter to dessert. I was over excited in front of the tartare, the duck with lavender and crunchy millefeuille. A menu to share for a friendly and happy moment.

Beef tartare, grilled corn, octopus and dick with its lavender mash potaoes

Praline and nut Millefeuille and verbena peach

 

The 2nd one: TINTAMARRE (80 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 75019 Paris) is simpler but as yummy as the previous one. This address with Lebanese inspirations is dedicated to only use organic and seasonal products, directly from producers as much as possible.

Beef tataki, mememen, grapefruit hummus and chickpea fatteh , halloumi skewers

 

I particularly liked the cassolette with eggs and vegetables slightly spiced up called “menemen” as well was the various hummus with a delicious taste of “eat some more”. This being said, I will try to go back there to try out the brunch that looks pretty good too.

 

Touch

Agenda et refill Delfonics

 

The years go by and I can’t give up on my paper agenda (I can’t sort out my meetings with a calendar on my phone).

My favorite shops in Paris is called Delfonics (a Japanese shop) at le Carrousel du Louvre: Every year I buy my new agenda there. Last year, I chose a cover that I can re-use every year (as the year is not mark on the cover) and this shop sells agenda refills!

Therefore, I just bought the 2020 pages refill (I am part of the team “agenda pages start in January” and not “September”): so I am ready to start the next year, well organized!

The shop also has a lot of nice cards, pens, pencils and pouches: eye candy!

 

Hearing

What an excitement when after waiting 7 years, Keane got a new music album out “Cause and effect”, which I’ve been listening again and again.

CD/vinyl collector box Keane “Cause and effect”

 

As I was saying on Instagram, it’s not really easy to get into this album from the very first time you listen it considering the slow pace and the not very catchy melodies. But if we try harder (such as endive or Brussel sprouts) we can end up liking it (you’ll say that I am not objective I know…)

I actually already purchased tickets for the coming concert in January at the Olympia: when we love it…

 

Smell

My last passion these past few weeks are symbolized by this green pot filled with matcha spread, randomly found in a Korean grocery shop near by the Opera.

Matcha spread “Bokumjari” (found at ACE Opéra)

 

A very subtil smell of matcha (or nokcha as the product is Korean) which spices up the taste of milk jam, to spread on bread or brioche toast. For the non-Parisian, I found a recipe of DIY matcha spread here that I will probably try once this one will be done: to be continued! (English transation by Quiterie)

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