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Colmar is a city in the Haut-Rhin deparment in the Alsace, located in the northeast of the country, close to the border with Germany and is the capital of the department as well. It calls itself the wine capital of the Alsace region and has about 70,000 inhabitants.
Colmar has also attained popularity by being the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty. Colmar has well preserved its rich cultural and architectural heritage and has a number of Medieval and early Rennaisance buildings. The streets of Colmar have a lot of twists and turns as they wind through the historic centre. Most of the tradional houses are half timbered and have flower boxes in the window during the summers.
Colmar holds wine festivals nearly every month of the year offering wine samples accompained by a locally made cake.
In summers(mid-May to mid-September) folk dance performances are held every Tuesdays place de l'Ancienne douane
Colmar has a relatively mild climate with comparatively dry weather, a good micro-climate for the famous Alsace wines. Average precipitation throughout the year is about 600 mm, mostly falling during the warmer summermonths from June to September. Temperatures are around 24 degrees Celcius during the day during these months, while from December to February temperatures are just around 5 degrees with nightly frost most common in January. Snow is possible as well during this time.
Colmar is about 60 kilometers south of Strasbourg and even much closer to Mulhouse. The Euro Airport Mulhouse/Freiburg/Basel has most flights with many lowcostairlines serving the area, including flights to Turkey, other southern Europe destinations as well as many cities throughout the west and central parts of the continent.
Strasbourg Airport (SXB) is another option (with no lowcostairlines though) with Air France and a number of other airlines operating flights throughout west and south Europe, as well as Tunis, Casablanca and Algiers.
Colmar has an Airport itself but is usually not used by travellers.
Colmar is located along a railway route between Strasbourg and Basel with trains running frequently, usually every hour. From Freiburg im Breisgau, a train goes to the border at Breisach. French Railways, SNCF goes to Colmar (35 to 60 minutes, 35 daily weekdays, 22 daily weekends).
Colmar is about half way between Strasbourg and Basel, just west of the A35 highway, that runs north to south through the Alsace, more or less parallel on the German border. When coming from Germany, you can follow the A-5 Autobahn, until exit 64a, Bad Krozingen, and follow the L162 and the 31 until Breisach, where you need to cross the Rhine. There the 31 become the D415, that leads to Colmar.
From Germany, there are buses from the border at Breisach, which has a trainlink with Freiburg.
The town offers a lot of eating options for both the budget and luxury travellers.
If your are of the more adventurous kind, step out of the town to get a taste of exotic cuisines. If you are visiting the hills, make sure to lunch at a 'ferme auberge'(a framhouse that serves hearty meals with local wines). When in the countryside, look for a 'caveau' ( a wine cellar that serves meals). Try the tarter flambee a loignan with its thin crust, sliced onions, creamy sauce and other garnishes.
|Ethic Etapes CIS-Mittelwihr||16 rue du Bouxhof Mittelwihr||Hostel||-|
|Fasthotel Colmar Houssen||Rue Mariafeld||Hotel||72|
|Hotel Primo||5 Rue des Ancatres - 68000 Colmar||Hotel||80|
France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.
See also: International Telephone Calls
To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.
Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.
France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.
La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).
Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.
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