Colmar in a Day: A Guide to the Town's Must-See Sights
What to see in this little Alsatian town
· 4 min read
Picturesque half-timbered houses, winding canals, and colourful flower displays in France. Did you know that aside from Strasbourg, there is another quaint, little town that also fits this description, and is even more colourful and scenic? Often described as the “Little Venice” of France, Colmar is a charming Alsatian town near Strasbourg. From Paris, you can get to Colmar in less than 2.5 hours by train, making it a perfect destination for a day trip. Or if you are already planning to visit Strasbourg, why not hop onto a train and visit Colmar as well — it's just a 30 minute train ride away!
Colmar is a charming town located in the Alsace region of France. The Alsace region has switched hands several times between Germany and France, resulting in a distinctive culture in the region. In these towns, including the town of Colmar, you will be able to clearly see a blend of German and French influence, from the language to the food and architecture.
Colmar is known for its colourful half-timbered houses, winding canals, and beautiful flower displays. This beautiful town is also believed to have been the inspiration for the fictional village in the Disney film "Beauty and the Beast." And it is really not hard to see why. The colours and architecture in the town of Colmar exudes a fairytale-like atmosphere, and as you explore the cobbled streets, you will feel like you have just entered a fairytale.
What to do in Colmar?
If you are visiting Colmar, there really isn't that many must-dos. Don't expect to pack your day visiting attractions. Instead, take some time to just stroll through the streets and admire the many picturesque views. Nevertheless, here are some of the main things to see in this little town of Colmar!
La Petite Venise (Little Venice)
The Little Venice is the historic center of Colmar, and is hard to miss. This area is known for its beautiful canals and half-timbered houses that line the water's edge. Explore the twining streets around the area, take a stroll along the canals and admire the colorful flowers that decorate the bridges and balconies, visit the boutique shops, or have a meal in one of the water-side restaurants. Or if you wanted to see Colmar from a different perspective, hop onto a canal cruise!
Marché Couvert (Covered Market)
If you are the type of traveler who enjoy exploring local markets, then be sure to visit the covered market! Here you can find a variety of local products, including fresh produce, cheeses, and baked goods. Take a walk around the market, sample some of the local specialties, or have lunch at one of the cafes in the market! The market is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, and closed on Mondays. If you are visiting on a Sunday, take note that the opening hours are much shorter, from only 10am - 2pm.
Maison Pfister (Pfister House)
This 16th-century Renaissance house stands out from the half-timbered houses in Colmar. With its two-storey corner oriel, wrap-around wood gallery, its octagonal turret and its mural paintings which represent biblical and secular scenes, the Pfister house is one of the symbols of the old Colmar.
This museum is housed in a former 13th-century convent and features an impressive collection of art and artifacts that covers nearly 7,000 years of history from the prehistoric era to the 20th century. One of the museum's highlights is the famous Isenheim Altarpiece, a masterpiece of Renaissance art that depicts the crucifixion of Jesus. In the museum, you can also find works of major 20th century artists such as Monet, de Staël, Picasso, and Dubuffet.
🕤 Opening Hours: 9am - 6pm on Wednesday to Monday, closed Tuesday
Church of Saint Martin
The church of Saint Martin is a beautiful Gothic church with intricate stained glass windows and a stunning organ. The church dates back to the 13th century and has been beautifully preserved.
This museum celebrates the life and work of Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty. The museum is housed in Bartholdi's former home and includes a variety of his sculptures, drawings, and personal belongings.
🕤 Opening Hours: 10am - 12pm, 2pm-6pm from Tuesday to Sunday; closed on Monday
What to Eat in Colmar?
In Colmar, have a go at some of the Alsatian food, which is a unique blend of German and French food. Some of the Alsatian specialties include Choucroute Garnie (sauerkraut with sausages and potatoes), Tarte Flambée (a thin-crust pizza-like dish), or Coq au Riesling (chicken, garlic, and onions cooked in Riesling sauce). And if you are looking for a mid-day snack, try the Bretzels (pretzel-shaped snacks that taste like donuts).
There are plenty of wine shops in Colmar where you can try Alsatian wines. But if you have time for another day in Colmar, we recommend that you stay the night and head out to the Alsace Wine Route the next day. The full route covers over 170km with hundreds of vineyards and wine producers you can visit.
Where to Eat in Colmar?
There are plenty of options for food in Colmar. Some of the most recommended restaurants include the two-star Michelin restaurant, Restaurant JY's. If you are planning to visit Restaurant JY's, remember to make your reservations in advance!
Major Events and Festivals in Colmar
There are various events that take place throughout the year in Colmar. Summer and Winter are one of the most exciting times to visit Colmar, but you can also expect the town to be crowded. Here are some of the most notable events:
- Colmar International Festival (July): A celebration of classical music and features a series of classical concerts. This year, it will take place from 5 July 2023 - 14 July 2023.
- Alsace Wine Fair and Festival of the Wine Fair (July - August): The region's largest wine event that features Alsatian wine, agriculture, and music. This year, the festival will take place from 28 July 2023 - 6 August 2023.
- Christmas markets (late November - December): The region is also very popular for their Christmas celebrations, and many people will visit the town just for the Christmas markets!