Colmar has been on my bucket list for quite a few years, but I’ve never had a chance to visit until this winter. I went there for a weekend, and I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed at all.
The little village is situated in the north-eastern of France and is part of the region called Alsace, near the border with Germany and Switzerland.
Colmar is the capital of the Alsatian Wine Route (Route Des Vins d’Alsace).
You will be able to do tastings of numerous wines (primarily white wine) produced in the region, like Gewürztraminer (my favourite), Riesling, Muscat, Auxerrois Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, etc.
If you fancy wine, that is a region to be! You will love it!
For more info about the Alsatian route: https://www.alsace-wine-route.com
Walking in its streets is like visiting a movie set or a fairy tale village, with colourful half-timbered houses, flower-covered balconies, lovely canals, a beautiful town centre and an excellent range of restaurants and shops with friendly staff.
Cars are not allowed in the town centre which is fantastic. And even though Colmar is not that small, you can visit all the tourist attractions by foot. And I have to say that it is a lovely walking, that’s for sure!
But if you are not able to walk or too tired to do it, you can take the “train” that goes around the town. It departs from rue Kléber, near the Unterlinden Museum, every 1/2 hour. It takes only 35 minutes and it costs €6.50 for adults and children (under 12 years) is €3.50.
Something that caught our attention were the storks. We began to notice several nests in the houses and at the shops. There were many souvenirs with it.
Then we discovered that this is a region where they migrate from South Africa to the same nest every year.
Plus as we know, there is the folklore with the storks and the babies. But the truth is that in the region, the stork is a symbol of fertility, loyalty, fidelity and good fortune.
What to see in Colmar?
– La Petite Venise or Little Venice at Tanner’s district (The Fishmonger District) – an area that is crossed by canals of the river Lauch with timber-framed houses dating back from the 17th Century and it is a must see;
– Quai de la Poissonnerie – most photographed street of the town;
– Marché Couvert: is located at the entrance of the Little Venice and it is a market hall;
– Ancienne Douane (or Koïfhus): built in the 15th and 16th Centuries, this former customs house is at the junction of two of the most important roads, the Grand’Rue and Rue des Marchands.
– Rue des Tanneurs: where tanners live and work.
– Musée Bartholdi – where Auguste Bartholdi, the French sculptor and father of the Statue of Liberty in New York, used to live.
– Maison Pfister: one of the oldest house in Colmar, from the 16th Century, this house with only partial timber structure is famous because of the wall paintings.
– Place de la Cathédrale
– Collégiale Saint-Martin: gothic church
– Unterlinden Museum: it is one of the largest monasteries in Alsace and was founded in the 13th century and in the 19th century was converted into a museum. It offers a splendid collection of sculptures, paintings and also furniture, ceramics, pewter, wrought iron and silverware.
– Maison dês Tetes: in its facade are the 106 small human heads that decorate its front.
– walk around Rue des Boulangers and Rue des Serruriers;
– Rue des Clefs – the main shopping streets of the old centre of Colmar.
– Toy Museum
* If you are going between the end of November and end of December, you will be able to see the famous Christmas Market. Some say that it is one of the best in Europe.
* Ladies, you should not wear high heels! There are cobbles everywhere, and you will struggle for sure.
* To cross the countries, like Germany or Switzerland and go to France, you don’t need to show your documentation as there is no immigration between them. But leave your passport in hands, just in case.
How to get there?
The railway station Gare de Colmar offers connections to Strasbourg, Mulhouse, Besançon, Zürich and many regional destinations.
The nearest airports are Basel-Mulhouse Airport, Strasbourg-Entzheim Airport and Karlsruhe – Baden-Baden Airport.
FYI: for those who don’t know, half-timbering is a way of constructing wood frame structures with the timbers exposed to the outside, and the spaces between the wooden timbers are filled with plaster, brick, or stone.
Colmar is becoming more and more famous amongst tourists, and even though I rather go to not so touristic places, I definitely recommend this village and also Eguisheim which is considered one of the most beautiful villages in France and is just 3 miles from Colmar (read more here).
And don’t forget to read my post about what and where to eat in Colmar.
I wish you a lovely day there!