The first stop heading south on the road trip was Colmar, about 300km south of Bad Bertrich in France close to the German border. It's a popular tourist town known to have one of the best preserved medieval town centres in Europe.
What I didn't realise was how very German it was, the most quintessential German town I've ever seen. The surrounding towns were similar.
The history of this place is very long and as usual quite complicated. Most interesting to me: Emperor Charles the Fat held a diet (political version) here in 884; the town was taken by the Swedish army (the Swedes conquered this far?) in 1632; conquered by French King Louis XIV in 1673; taken by the German Empire in 1871 then given back to France after WWI before being taken by Nazi Germany in 1940 before again becoming part of France in 1945.
So Germany held it relatively briefly but clearly this period had the biggest influence on the town's look and feel.
It was a great town to walk around in at night, barely any tourists and a real medieval feel about it with authentic old streets and houses, canals, street lanterns, and medieval style grim weather. Highly recommended in the off-season.
For more photos, click the gallery below.