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Colmar: Howl’s Moving Castle

If anyone has ever watched Hayao Miyazaki‘s animated movie “Howl’s Moving Castle“, he or she would absolutely notice the colorful architecture and surroundings set in this movie. And Colmar, France, is just the prototype of Hayao Miyazaki’s animation “Howl’s Moving Castle”.

I went there in 2019 as well. Actually, I travelled to a number of places over that summer vacation as part of my graduation trip. But Colmar was definitely an unexpectational surprise for this journey as I didn’t know anything about this small town when I arrived. I didn’t even know the “secret” between this place and Hayao Miyazaki at that time.

Colmar is located near Germany and Switzerland, between the Vosges and the Rhine, Strasbourg and Mulhouse. The city is renowned for its well-preserved old town, its numerous architectural landmarks, and its museums, all of which contribute so much to its charm.

Although time has passed for a long time, the mention of Colmar reminds me of the labyrinth of cobbled lanes, flower-lined canals, and timber-framed houses painted in a rainbow of pastel hues.

It’s said that the city is so beautiful that during both world wars, the British and American forces deliberately avoided bombing it. Therefore, Colmar has one of the best-preserved old towns in France.

If I remember correctly, there are several places I highly recommend you to have a look.

The district of “Little Venice”, the gem of the Colmar town. The merchant’s houses are of various colors along the river: blue, purple, green, pink, red and yellow… The blue houses are the fishmongers’, the green ones the market gardeners’, the white ones the bakers’, the yellow ones the cheese makers’ and the pink ones… the fancy ladies’. These color codes are used to help illiterate people find who to go shopping to. And perhaps you can take a river cruise as well; I took a snapshot of that view perfectly and many friends of mine like it!

The photo that I took

St Martin’s Church, built between 1235 and 1365, is a Roman Catholic church located in the heart of Colmar too. It’s a typical Gothic-style church, which is really imposing. Because of a fire in the south tower in 1572 the framework and all the roofs were destroyed. The tower was replaced three years later by the original lantern bulb (a construction on the top of the dome which has the form of a lantern) which gives the Church its characteristic silhouette. 

The Toy Museum ‘Musée du Jouet’ is another interesting sight that I will recommend you should take a visit, which is also located in the center of Colmar town. I’m sure some of you were fascinated in certain toys during your childhood. Mine is Lego. The museum presents a collection of toys from the 19th century to today. Throughout a theme-oriented visit, you’ll discover all these toys which marked your childhood.

The Unterlinden Museum boasts vast collection of paintings and sculptures. The museum, hosued in a 13th-century Dominican religious sisters’ convent and a 1906 former public baths building, is home to the Isenheim Altarpiece by the German Renaissance painter Matthias Grunewald.

Whenever I write the final paragraph, I will begin to miss 2019 without the pandemic. I sincerely hope this pandemic will end very soon.

2 responses to “Colmar: Howl’s Moving Castle”

  1. When I was in France, I only went to Paris! I just knew there is this beautiful place called Colmar. Thanks for this post, Anna!


    1. It’s a pretty place worth visiting if you travel to France again!


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