As we approach the end of the year, heralding the New Year's eve, every corner of the world is getting ready to hold special events. France's Strasbourg and Colmar can be ideal alternatives on a vacation route
The New Year brings new hopes and discoveries that require expertise and experience to get right. Customized travel consultation services are improving more every day and boutique tours are organized down to the minutest detail, from the location of your hotel to local events you may attend at your destination. A table may be reserved for you in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant and you will be accompanied by the best guides. I was inspired to recommend overseas travel destinations while chatting about all of these things with Sinem Tosum, the owner of Boutique Style Travel Company and I started making a plan for which destinations I wanted to introduce.
In the same week, I met with Bertrand Buchwalter, the new Consul General of France in Istanbul; therefore, I decided to go the French route. Mr. Buchwalter is an experienced and friendly diplomat who worked in Turkey before and speaks Turkish very well. He is a real French gentleman and his passion about Turkey as a Frenchman was the reason why I wanted to cover France. I decided to provide information about a few small towns in France where you can welcome the New Year in a friendly and warm ambience.
Our first stop is Strasbourg. A very special Noel marketplace is erected during the holiday season in Notre Dame, one of the largest cathedrals in Strasbourg and has been known as the capital of Christmas all over the world since the 16th century. This colorful marketplace attracts great interest from both locals and tourists. You should definitely visit this marketplace which offers unique New Year gifts, the most exquisite flavors of the region as well as indispensable, traditional dishes of the New Year as well as special tents creating a fairy-like ambiance. New flavors are to be discovered in the world-renowned, gourmet eateries in the city and you can experience the sharing of New Years' predictions in the company of colorful, beautifully decorated houses and streets as you walk around the city. Among the restaurants here, I recommend Maison des Tanneurs restaurant. I liked their fired rabbit and cheese fondue. Also, the hot cinnamon pumpkin pie must be tried. The place has a very cozy, welcoming ambiance. Its atmosphere will give you the warm feeling of New Years' Eve.
I would like to mention that the Council of Europe (CoE) and European Parliament (EP) are located in this city. This is considered to be the capital of Europe. Strasbourg was also home to many historical characters. For example, famous German writer Goethe spent part of his life here and studied in this city. The Kammerzal House, the oldest building of the city, Kleber Square and Rohan Place are the historical places that should definitely be seen. As you will see, there is a lot to discover in Strasbourg.
Strasbourg may be a nice starting place for your tour taking you to the south. Colmar, Eguisheim, Riquewihr and Ribeauville are very amazing places in the area. You will find yourself taking photographs passionately on the narrow paths that extend to infinity through the vineyards and streets with houses decorated with colorful flowers. Do not skip the patisserie shops which invite you with the delicious smell of macaroons. Particularly, the Petit Venice area has rich options. There are many patisserie and cheese shops.
I recommend the Hotel Le Colombier Suites for accommodation. The hotel has an exterior design adapted to historical texture but the interior design is very modern and minimalist. The ceilings of the hotel rooms are reinforced with wooden logs as it is an old mansion that has been renovated. If you like, you can take a small canal tour in Petit Venice. It is very popular and enjoyable; even in winter time. Trying "flammkuchen" that looks like pizza and "pretzel" which resembles the Turkish bagel can add flavor to your day at the end of the tour. I recommend L'Arpege Restaurant, a small and quite modest family-friendly venue, for dinner. Their menu is mostly based on vegetables. Stuffed zucchini with walnut cheese is one of the most eye-catching items on the menu. When it comes to history, there are a lot of facts to discover in the city as well. Isenheim Altarpiece and Unterlinden Museum are the famous museums of Colmar.
To make a long story short, Colmar and Strasbourg in France promise a fairy tale-like holiday for welcoming the New Year. Do not waste time to discover these boutique cities of Europe. Enjoy the snow, history and the New Year Eve spirit!
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