Colmar, France

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On the second day of our Rhine River cruise, we visited beautiful Colmar in France’s Alsace region. The city is full of centuries-old half-timbered buildings lining winding cobblestone lanes. And when we were there, the Christmas markets were in full swing with holiday decorations everywhere. Colmar also is notable for being the hometown of Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty. We had a wonderful time wandering through the city, taking in the sights, and enjoying the Christmas spirit.

Below are trip highlights from December 24th, 2019. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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We arrived at Breisach, Germany early this morning and awoke tied off to the river boat Vista Star, one of the two times that the AmaMora was rafted. Our room was on the starboard side, so we still had a clear view to the river, and to France on the opposite shore. The border between the two countries is in the middle of the Rhine River here.
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Breisach Locks
The Breisach Locks, just upstream from the AmaMora‘s dock. We’re back on the Rhine River proper now, on a brief section where the Grand Canal d’Alsace rejoins the river. The lock visible on the left connects directly to the Rhine River, while the locks we passed through to exit the canal are out of the picture to the right.
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Maison des Tetes
We took a bus from the Breisach dock to tour Colmar, France. This is the Maison des Tetes (“House of Heads”) in Colmar, built in 1609 and decorated with 105 masks.
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Rue des Boulangers
Historic half-timbered buildings along Rue des Boulangers in Colmar. In this construction style, buildings are framed in timber and the spaces between are filled with brick, plaster or other materials.
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The Boite a Mouches
The Boite a Mouches (“Fly Box”), the tiny orange house at center, is the smallest house in Colmar at 270 sq ft (25 sq m). The house is entered via the yellow house its built into.
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Les grands Soutiens du Monde, created in 1902 by the Colmar-born sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, in the courtyard of the museum dedicated to the artist. Bartholdi’s most famous work is the Statue of Liberty in New York. One of two smaller Bartholdi-created copies of the statue are in Colmar. The other is in Paris.
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Rue des Marchands
Half-timbered buildings along Rue des Marchands in Colmar, many decorated for the Christmas season. The one at center is covered in white teddy bears.
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Little Venice
Buildings overlooking the river Lauch in Colmar, in an area known as Little Venice.
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Tribunal de Grande Instance
The Tribunal de Grande Instance (the high court) in Colmar dates from the 16th century.
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St Martin’s Church
Christmas Markets outside the Roman Catholic St Martin’s Church in Colmar, built between 1234 and 1365.
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The choir and alter inside St Martin’s Church.
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Eglise des Dominicains
Christmas market outside Colmar’s Eglise des Dominicains (Dominican Church). The structure was completed in the 14th century, but no longer is used as a church.
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Virgin in a Rose-Garden
Virgin in a Rose-Garden, painted in 1473 by French artist Martin Schongauer, on display inside the Eglise des Dominicains.
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Pilot House
We rejoined the AmaMora at Schoenau, north of Breisach, and back inside the Grand Canal d’Alsace. We’re about to pass through the locks at Rhinau and rejoin the Rhine River again. We’re going to pass through the smaller locks on the right, and a double-width commercial barge is visible exiting the larger locks on the left.
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Entering Lock
The AmaMora entering the lock at Rhinau. Clearance looks really tight.
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Full Width
Looking down the side as the AmaMora enters the lock at Rhinau. The ship is just touching the wall on this side and only has a tiny bit more space on the other. A commercial barge is visible entering the lock to the left.
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The AmaMora captain sighting down the side as we entered the locks. He did an amazing job of smoothly bringing the boat into the narrow chamber, only barely touching the sides as we settled into place.
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Reducing Air Draft
The Rhine River air draft is 9.1m and the AmaMora actually requires more air draft than that at full height. But but by lowering the pilot house and the radar, as pictured, they can operate at 9m. With more manual work, they’re able to get below 9m by removing or lowering gear on deck.We’d seen river barges with pilot houses that could raise and lower, but had never seen one in action. The video River Boat Pilot House Lowering shows the pilot house descending, along with the radar mast at the front of the ship.
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Inside Lock
The AmaMora near the bottom of the Rhinau lock.
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Low Clearance
This fixed bridge at the north end of the Rhinau is why the AmaMora pilot house and radar mast needed to be lowered. The crew also folded down the partitions around the pool and lowered a number of canopies on deck.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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