Colmar is the third largest commune in the Haut-Rhin department, of the Colmar-Ribeauville arrondissement in the Alsace region, found in north eastern France. The town is most famous for its well preserved old town or Vielle Ville effect, as well as its tasty Alsatian wine. The town of Colmar is located on the Alsatian wine route and is often considered to be the capital of the Alsatian wine. The town is also canal based and is often referred to as “little Venice”. Founded in the 9th century, today Colmar has a population of 67 956 people. It lies 560 kilometers outside of Paris.
Things to do & Places to see in Colmar, France
1. Musée Unterlinden
This spectacular museum is housed in the Dominican covent in the town of Colmar. The covent reaches back all the way to the 13th century and has been wonderfully preserved. The museum itself is home to magnificently large collections of masterpieces, all of a Romanesque and Gothic theme. This includes crafts, medieval paintings, sculptures and folk art. The first floor of the museum is solely dedicated to objects of an Alsatian nature, such as toys, objects of art (porcelain, prints and stained glass, and furniture. The museum also has more contemporary art exhibitions, ironically in the convent's 13th century basement. It is here that one might see works by Braque, Mathieu, Picasso, Rouault, and Vasarely.
However one of the main attractions of this museum is the Isenheim Chapel. It is there that many fine paintings are on display from artists such as Martin Schongauer, Isenmann and many early german artists. The main attraction of the chapel is the famous Isenheim Alter that was painted by Matthais Grunewald. It is considered to be one of Germany's most moving pieces of all time. It was painted in the early 16th century for the convent of Isenheim.
The museum is open every day, all year round except for Tuesdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays it is open from 10 am until 6pm, on Thursdays it is open from 10 am until 8pm and then from Fridays to Sundays it is open from 10 am until 6 pm. Cost of admission is 13€ per adult and 8€ per child under the age of 18.
2. Quartier de la Krutenau (Little Venice)
If you stumble past the Saint Jean road you will come across one of the most picturesque neighborhoods of Colmar. Le quartier de la Krutenau is absolutely stunning! The neighborhood looks like something right out of a french fable book for children. It has beautiful greenery lining the canals of the area, sprinkled with bright vibrant colors of flowers that have been planted around the houses and alongside the canals. Add the extraordinary colored houses and quaint little restaurants that line the canals as well and you have yourself a fairy-tale dream come true. There are also beautifully crafted bridges that transverse the river, allowing you a stunning view point from which you can absorb the spectacle before you. The area is known as “Little Venice” due to the houses being so close to the canals, allowing them to take trips up and down the river to sight see and run errands if need be. Whilst you are in Colmar it would be a rife injustice if you were to prevent yourself from experiencing the beauty and tranquillity which the neighborhood has to offer.
3. Musée Animé du Jouet et des Petits Trains
Looking for a fascinating yet magical destination in Colmar? Then you won't need to look any further than the museum of toys and model trains. The museum has a total of three floors which display a broad variety of toy cars, model trains, dolls, and toy boats. It not only has all the toys to observe but also has interaction activities such as the role-play of many children's favorite stories from France. Such as La Fountaine's Fables and Perrault's tales. The museum also features a fantastic mechanically controlled puppet show for the children called The Fox and The Stork. Most importantly however there is an attraction that any model train enthusiast no matter how big or small will enjoy. The train network they have set-up that is a whole kilometer long!
The museum is open everyday throughout the year, with differing times according to the changing seasons. From July to August and then the month of December it is open from 10 am until 6 pm, and then the rest of the year it is open from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission cost for someone older than 15 years is 5€, if you are between 8-15 years of age it costs 4€ and then anyone under the age of 8 years can enter for free.
4. Ancien Corps de Garde (Former Guard House)
Established in the latter part of the 16th century, the Ancien Corps de Garde is another ancient building of the old town. The building is strikingly different from its surroundings as it is more dull in color. However its character remains in tact. From the outside you can see a beautiful Oriel window, almost like a modern day balcony. It was from there that important decisions and information was announced to all the town folk of Colmar.
Whilst in the old town, it is only ideal to visit buildings such as this to see the truth of what history really is. To view features that may not seem important, and are easily overlooked, for what they really are. And appreciate them for what they were in their day of glory. After all that is what history is about. Being able to reconnect with what something once was and connect it to how we live today.
How Do I Get Here From Paris?
Traveling from Paris to Colmar is remarkably simple even with a distance of 560 kilometers between the two. The fastest route between the destinations is to take a direct train. The ride takes about just under 2 and a half hours and can cost between 25€-165€. The price depends on when you buy your ticket and what type of ticket you bought (standard or luxury). Generally if you buy a ticket in advance it can work out to be a lot cheaper, than if you buy it on the day of travel.