• Located at 11 Rue des Marchands, this residence was built in 1537. The frescoes that adorn the walls of this historical building represent emperors and religious figures.
    © ZoonarKai Koehler - age fotostock
    The Pfister House

    Located at 11 Rue des Marchands, this residence was built in 1537. The frescoes that adorn the walls of this historical building represent emperors and religious figures.

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination France

Located at the crossroads between Mulhouse, Freiburg (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland), Colmar is the capital of the Haut-Rhin departement and a delight for visitors!
The festivals there, programmed all year round, bring joy to Colmarians and tourists alike. Its famous Unterlinden museum adds to the town's reputation, with collections uniting archaeology and contemporary art. The remains of its past, its colourful half-timber houses, religious buildings, flower-filled district known as the 'Liitle Venice', lined with canals, and the quality of the wine produced here make it a choice Alsatian destination.

Colmar: what to do?

The Colmar Christmas markets are among the most renowned in the region. There are four in total, where you will find high quality, local festive products and fine crafts. A walk through the district of Petite Venise is an absolute must in summer. By swapping your car for a bike or simply walking, you can take the time to enjoy the area and take a romantic stroll, which it would be a shame to miss out on.

The Rue des Marchands is where you will find most of the finest large houses in the city, including its two most famous, the Maison Pfister and Chez Hansi. The first, built in the 16th century, is made from stone and wood, while the second commemorates the intervention by the Duke of Austria against an uprising of noble families in 1538.
Colmar also has various beautiful religious institutions, such as the Church of the Dominicans and the monastery of Unterlinden, which has today been converted into a museum. Here you can admire Medieval art objects from Alsace.
Finally, Petite Venise (little Venice) is not to be missed. Crossed by the Lauch River, this charming district gives tourists a real taste of the typical Alsatian atmosphere.

  • The enchanting charm of the little streets
  • The Christmas period for its magical markets
  • The convivial nature of the cuisine, which is very copious
  • Little Venice is extremely crowded in summer
  • The bars, which generally close early


If you want to explore Colmar and its surrounding region during the festive season, make sure you pack warm clothing. The mulled wine available from the markets will certainly warm you up, but it will not protect you from the cold for long! It may also be a good idea to pack a pair of binoculars in the hope of seeing a stork nesting on a roof or flying off into the distance. If possible, it's a good idea to take bikes in your car, as they are much more practical for getting around the streets of Colmar.

To avoid

It would of course be a shame to miss out on visiting the Christmas markets, but those most sensitive to the cold will find it hard to adapt to the icy winters experienced in Alsace. It is therefore best to visit in spring, which is ideal for walks in the sun. This is also a great time of year to avoid the stressful crowds that take over the Petite Venise district in summer. When it comes to getting around, it would be a shame to limit yourself to a car as Colmar is a pedestrian city. Finally, party-animals should not expect to be out until dawn as the bars in Colmar are subject to a curfew.

Colmar: what to eat?

It is impossible to visit Colmar without taking the time to enjoy a Gugelhupf. This raisin and almond cake is easily identifiable by its shape, and is one of the most popular products in the region. Its size means it can be enjoyed as a dessert or as a snack over several days. Those who prefer savoury treats should try baeckeoffe, a hearty dish consisting of various meats (mutton, beef and pork), potatoes, carrots and other vegetables served in a spicy white wine sauce. It is the perfect dish for cold winter evenings. As for wine, it would be a shame not to try a Gewurztraminer. Usually sweet with hints of roses and lychees, this wine goes perfectly with regional cheeses such as Munster. The region also produces Alsace Rieslings, which is why they compliment local specialities so well.

Colmar: what to buy?

When leaving Alsace, and more particularly Colmar, it would be ideal if you could take a variety of local products with you. However, as it can be difficult to transport products such as sauerkraut, it is easier to buy a bottle of wine or a boxed Gugelhupf. Slightly more tacky, but a hit with younger children is Emma. This plush toy stork comes in various sizes and is an inexpensive and fun souvenir.

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