Visit Colmar: My Guide to Things to Do, Eat Food (+Tips 2024)

Visit Colmar: My Guide to Things to Do, Eat Food (+Tips)

isit Colmar: My Guide to Things to Do, Eat Food – Colmar offers many attractions that will appeal to lovers of culture and traditions, gastronomy and wine, architecture and history. In this article we are going to visit Colmar!

Practical information for visit Colmar

Colmar owes its title of “ capital of Alsace wines ” because the city is located in the heart of the vineyard, between the Vosges and the Rhine , halfway between Strasbourg to the north (50 minutes) and Switzerland to the south and nearby from Germany (24 km).

Weather Colmar

The microclimate of Colmar is well known. It rains very little . You can therefore visit Colmar in any season with a preference for the period from March to December .

Getting to Colmar

Blablacar

This means of transport (ecological as well) works very well if you want to travel inexpensively.

TGV

Colmar is 3 hours from Paris (approximately €100 return on weekends); 3h30 from Lyon (from €140 return on weekends). You can look here .

Advantage: the station is a 15-minute walk from the city center.

Plane

There is Strasbourg Entzheim airport 50 minutes from Colmar.

  • Nice AR from €100 for 1h15 non-stop flight .
  • Nantes AR, on average €170 for 1h30 flight .

For the airport-Colmar journey, the train is the best solution . Allows 1 hour with the connection at Strasbourg station. there are numerous TER trains to Colmar (every 30 minutes during the week and every hour at the weekend).

  • There is EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse 35 minutes away. Prices are very accessible on weekends at certain times.
    • Toulouse AR from €85 for 1h30 flight , Montpellier AR from €77 for 1h15 flight.

I advise you to use Skyscanner , it is the best flight comparator and also the one I use for my trips.

Then, you can take a Flixbus shuttle for less than €10 return. Maximum travel time of 1 hour 15 minutes depending on traffic.

A taxi will cost you around €140 for a 40-minute journey .

Or you can choose the car rental option, for this I advise you to go through Ouicar or Rentalcars !

What to do in Colmar? My top 10 must-dos to do all year round

A few words on the history of Colmar to understand its architectural, cultural and linguistic influences.

The origins of Colmar date back to the 9th century and really developed in the Middle Ages to become an imperial city in the 13th century.

Very prosperous in the 15th and 16th centuries. thanks to its trade, it attracts numerous religious communities, Franciscans , Dominicans , Augustinians ; which explains the many buildings to see in Colmar.

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) ruined the city. Colmar came under the protection of Sweden then France. It became a royal city in 1678.

At the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, Alsace was annexed to the German Empire.

It will become French again after the war of 14 to be annexed again at the time of France’s capitulation to the Nazis. On February 2, 1945, Colmar was liberated.

I recommend the half-day guided tour of the Alsatian villages with a qualified guide!

Walking tour of the historic center

Frankly, it’s nice to stroll around Colmar, along the quays, in its neighborhoods steeped in history and its cobbled streets.

It’s difficult to get lost because there are precise signs to the main monuments with an indication of the time to go from one point to another.

You can also let yourself be guided by a marking on the ground of 500 arrows in the shape of a triangle   bearing the image of the Statue of Liberty, the work of Auguste Bartholdi , the child of Colmar. This pedestrian circuit, which allows you to visit Colmar and its emblematic places, is punctuated by his works .

  • The birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi has been transformed into a museum: 30 rue des Marchandi. Closed Monday and January/February. From 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Duration 1 hour. Full price: €6.70
  • Free entry with Colmar City Pass

Little Venice

Little Venice, Colmar
Little Venice

While strolling through this picturesque district of Krutenau, you can admire beautiful half-timbered houses on either side of the Lauch, a river which crosses Colmar.

In the Middle Ages, the canal was used by market gardeners (hence the name Krutenau or market gardens) to irrigate and then transport their products on flat-bottomed boats and deliver them directly to the covered market.

The view from the rue Turenne bridge is magnificent and you understand why the area is nicknamed Little Venice.

Don’t hesitate to take a ride on these famous boats and walk along the old market garden area transformed into a residential area.

  • Sweet Narcisse boat trip : from March to October. Pont St Pierre pier.

Duration 25 mins – Info on the website www.barques-colmar.fr ( Included in the Colmar City Pass)

  • The Quai de la Poissonnerie

Walking along the Quai de la Poissonnerie, abundantly flowered by geraniums during the summer, you can admire the half-timbered houses .

The district, ravaged by a fire in 1706, was rebuilt by covering the facades of the houses with plaster to make it more modern and luxurious . Restored in the 1980s, the half-timbering was updated.

The color of each house apparently designated a trade, or even a religion : yellow for the bread trades, blue for the wood trades but also fish trades and mostly occupied by Catholics, red for the trades iron but also meat and belonging to Protestants.

You have to imagine that until the 1950s, live fish were kept in tanks on the river and sold directly at the quayside.

The covered market

Located in the heart of Little Venice, this 19th century building. made of pink sandstone, brick and red-painted wood, houses a covered market .

You will discover very good quality local products and Alsatian specialties. Don’t hesitate to drink a coffee on the terrace overlooking the Lauch or eat the famous pretzel accompanied by a local beer or a glass of local wine. You can also eat there if you are a little hungry and in a hurry.

As you leave, you will see a bronze statue of the little winegrower , in the niche which houses a fountain on the corner of rue des Ecoles and rue des Vignerons.

Another work by Bartholdi (author of the Statue of Liberty , a copy of which was installed at the northern entrance to the city). It is located on rue des Ecoles, a market open from Tuesday to Sunday until 2 p.m.

The Koïfhus (Old Customs House)

Dating from the 15th century, this public building in Gothic and Renaissance style served as a warehouse for merchants who did not have private storage and customs facilities.

A beautiful Renaissance-style staircase gives access to the Decapolis room where the deputies of the 10 free imperial cities of Alsace met.

On the square, the gutters slaughtered the cows whose skins were then tanned in the Tanners district located just on the other side of the Schwendi Fountain. As you pass by his houses, you will see that the upper windows were used for drying to avoid odors.

There is a legend about General Schwendi . The vine plant he holds in his hand is said to have been brought back in 1565 after a victory over the town of Tokay in Hungary .

This grape variety gave its name to the Alsace wine Tokay Pinot Gris . Since 2007, the term Tokay has been reserved for Hungarian wines and only the designation Pinot Gris remains.

  • Place de l’Ancienne Douane – 29 Grand-Rue

Visit Colmar with Maison Pfister

Dating from 1537, the most beautiful house in Colmar in yellow sandstone and wood belonged to a rich hatter. The 2-story corner oriel topped with a turret makes it an architectural gem.

The paintings represent coats of arms of the Germanic emperors of the 16th century , and were later added allegorical figures from the Old Testament.

On the left side, you can see a turret which houses a staircase, a sign of wealth because it allowed you to escape from the outside in the event of a fire. You will find it at 11 rue des Marchands

The Schongauer House

An architectural curiosity classified as a Historic Monument , it has the particularity of having 2 facades:

  • A half-timbered one on the rue des Marchands side with 2 arcades on the ground floor topped by 3 corbelled floors (i.e. projecting from the ground floor) and a 2-story gable
  • Gothic Schongauer street decorated with an oriel window with 2 windows and 2 beautiful entrance portals (one is walled up) dating from the 16th century
  • corner 36 rue des Marchands/2 rue Schongauer

The House of Heads

The House of Heads Colmar
House Heads

Located on Rue des Têtes, this Renaissance-style house is decorated with 106 grimacing heads of Florentine inspiration to show the opulence and power of its owner.

The glazed projection, called an oriel, allowed light to enter and was mainly used to monitor the street to wait for goods to be loaded.

Now known as the Bourse aux Vins, a statue of Bartholdi was added to the top of the house in 1902 and represents an Alsatian cooper .

Today, it is a very nice hotel with a renowned restaurant and brasserie ( the sauerkraut there is excellent ). Don’t hesitate to enter the hall to admire the remains of Colmar’s surrounding walls!

In the same street, a museum is dedicated to Jean-Jacques Waltz known as Hansi (1873-1951), an Alsatian illustrator known for his postcards , his advertisements and his anti-German caricatures.

He also designed very beautiful wrought iron signs (rue des Serruriers in particular) recognizable by the presence of a tricolor cockade as a sign of attachment to France.

  • Hansi Village and Museum: 28 rue des Têtes.
  • Open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except Monday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Count 30 min to 1 hour.
  • Closed in January.
  • Entrance: 5€
  • Free with the Colmar City Pass

Visit Colmar with the Saint-Martin Collegiate Church

From a chapel in the 11th century, it became a Collegiate Church. Service entrusted to canons whose rule was to live in community , then Cathedral until 1802, before being classified as a church. Curiously, one of the towers does not have a spire because, due to lack of resources, it was never rebuilt after a fire in 1572.

It has long housed the famous “ Virgin of the Rose Bush ”, a 15th century masterpiece by the Colmar painter Martin Schongauer . If you want to see it, you have to go to the Dominican Church (14th century) whose Gothic architecture is austere, like the mendicant orders of which the Dominican friars belong.

  • Cathedral Square
  • Dominican Square – Dominican Church
  • Entrance 2€
  • Open from March 26 to December 30.
  • Free with the Colmar City Pass

Place des Unterlinden (under the lime trees in French)

Located in the center of the old town, this pedestrian space was created in 2016 with the release of the Fecht watercourse into the open air . The magnificent building of the former municipal baths was attached to the Unterlinden Museum by an underground gallery.

Internationally renowned, it houses the famous altarpiece by Mathias Grünewald dating from 1516, in painted wooden panels, 3 meters long and more than 2 meters high dedicated to St Anthony.

Another masterpiece dating from 1976: a 7 meter long tapestry based on the famous Guernica by Picasso (there are only 2 others in the world).

  • You will find the Tourist Office there .
  • Unterlinden Museum : 13th century Dominican convent transformed into a museum with collections of religious art but also from archeology to modern art .
  • Allow around 2 hours to see the main works.
  • Audio guide paying €2.
  • Open Wednesday to Monday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Full price €13
  • Free access with the Colmar City Pass

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The good plan: visit unusual Colmar by night 

During the summer season, Lucien, the famous Colmar pilgrim, tells you stories and anecdotes with love and humor . At the same time, you will be able to admire the illuminations. It’s free !

And if he offers to buy his little Alsatian cardboard house, it’s for a good cause . Donations are made to MANNE (Center for mutual aid and work support)

  • Starts from July 1
  • Meet on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Maison called “Au Pélerin” 25 Grand-Rue.
  • Duration approximately 2 hours.

Where to Eat in Colmar

By visiting Colmar and its pedestrian zone, your taste buds will be almost permanently on alert . Between the pretzels of rue des Boulangers, passing by the kougelhopf (the pastry chef Gilg 60 grand Rue has a good reputation or the artisanal bakery Bizkot 2 bd du Champ de Mars), leave yourself room to taste the essential sauerkraut in a winstub or brewery.

The Winstub Au Cygne remains a reference:

  • 15 rue Edouard Richard (1 km from Little Venice)
  • Costs €20 for the menu with tarte flambée as a starter + sauerkraut + dessert
  • Closed on Sunday (winstubelecygne.fr)

The high-end and delicious Maison des Têtes brasserie :

  • Historic brasserie with beautiful terrace in summer daily lunch menu for €19.50 – Sauerkraut with 8 toppings for €26
  • Closed Sunday and Monday. www.maisondestetes.com

Self  :

  • If you want to discover a typical dish of the region, you have to eat tarte flambée (flammekueche pronounced kuere) . You will compose your meal only of savory and then sweet tarts. It’s delicious washed down with a little Pinot Noir. Small restaurant so reservation recommended
  • 17 rue des Marchands 03 89 29 63 50
  • Open every day for lunch and dinner until 10 p.m.

Where to go out in Colmar

At aperitif time:

  • The Rapp café on Place Rapp. Right next door, admire the Carrousel, unique in Europe for its scale. And take the opportunity to take a walk in the park. There again, you will find a magnificent fountain, the work of Bartholdi. Evening musical entertainment.
  • The Incorruptibles 1 rue des Ecoles.
  • Beer Bar: les 3 Singes 70 Grand Rue,
  • Grillen craft brewery 31 rue des Jardins (closed Sunday to Tuesday)
  • Wine bar: le Major’l 5 rue St Martin, l’Un des Sens 18 rue Berthe Molly
  • Mojo Café and Nova club 3 and 5 Place de la Cathedrale
  • And if you want to end the night at a disco, go to Rota , 8 rue André Timken. Open Friday, Saturday and before holidays. Entrance €5. Free for girls on Friday

Conclusion on visiting Colmar

I wanted to share my favorite place for Colmar, which is truly a beautiful destination , between culture and tradition, heritage and gastronomy.

And if you enjoyed this weekend visit to Colmar and its surroundings, don’t hesitate to come back to Alsace to discover the famous wine route and its emblematic villages like Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, Eguisheim or Ribeauvillé.

In autumn, the colors of the vineyard are breathtaking…

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