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Colmar France Alsace Lorraine Colmar

Colmar France

Colmar is the capital of the Haut Rhin region. It has a chocolate box town centre full of half timbered houses painted in pastel colours along cobbled streets, that probably hasn't changed much since the Middle Ages or Renaissance. The old town has several very intriguing houses, such as 19 rue des Tetes, built in 1609 and rounded off with 106 stone faces and animal heads.

The elaborate façade of the Maison Pfister, built in 1537, includes a carved balcony, painted panels and oriel window. That is opposite 36 rue des Marchands; at number 30 is the birthplace of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York, which is now a museum dedicated to the artist and other Colmar artefacts.


On the south side of town by the River Launch, La Petite Venise is even more picturesque and rivals Petite France in Strasbourg for tourist traps per capita. Still, there is an appealing contrast in the fishermens' cottages along the quai de la Poissonnerie and the tall houses of the quai des Tanneurs, upon whose flat roofs the tanners used to dry hides.

Colmar airport information

Colmar's magnum opus is the altarpiece from Issenheim, now housed in the Musée d'Unterlinden, which is a 1515 Gothic painting by Mathias Grunewald that unfolds according to the appropriate feast day. The mindset behind it is Medieval and the technique Renaissance.

Colmar is a good base from which to explore the Route du Vin. The tourist office, place d'Unterlinden (03 89 20 68 92) will provide information on bus routes, cycle routes and accommodation, both for the Route du Vin and the Vosges mountains. From the tourist office you have a ten minute walk to the gare SNCF down avenue de la République.

Hotels near the station are reasonably priced, the smartest being the Grand Hotel Bristol opposite the station entrance, which is a 1925 building with recently refurbished rooms from €70 85. Place de l'Ancienne Douane, has the brightly painted 1480 customhouse, a display of prosperity, and numerous restaurants but they can be overpriced, especially the 'authentic' ones. Try places in La Petite Venise, such as Winstub Brenner at 1 rue de Turenne, where you get generous main courses from €8.