Colmar is one of the most beautiful medieval towns in France and Alsace, characterised by a wonderful concentration of perfectly preserved historical buildings.
During the Christmas festivities, Colmar unleashes an unparalleled fairytale magic: the city enchants tourists with a riot of decorations, musical scenery, lights and colours that further enhance the timeless beauty of its medieval monuments. Every street, palace, square or canal is skilfully decorated, decked out and illuminated with the charm and atmosphere of Christmas. The half-timbered houses are transformed into a fairy tale from a Christmas book, carols and colours enliven every corner of the city: you will find yourself catapulted into a magical Christmas village .
From the end of November to the end of December, you can immerse yourself in the most incredible and mind-blowing Christmas atmosphere: fabulous plays of lights and colours on the facades of buildings, melodies and carols in the narrow alleys, ice-skating rinks, the scent of cinnamon sweets and mulled wine, Father Christmas’s post office, merry-go-rounds for the little ones. A daydream that will enchant visitors.
The undisputed protagonists of this magical atmosphere are the Christmas markets, scattered throughout Colmar’s old town.
As many as 6 different markets are set up, each one characterised by its own peculiarities: crafts, children, gastronomy, local products, Christmas decorations, artisans and artists. You can follow a route through the old town, admiring the festively lit old quarters, browsing among the glittering Christmas decorations on sale in the wooden chalets, buying original gifts and sampling the gourmet delicacies of Alsatian cuisine, intoxicated by the scent of cinnamon and spiced breads.
At the foot of the elegant Dominican church at Place des Dominicains1, a market of around 60 wooden chalets takes place every year. Here, enveloped in a spiritual aura, you can browse through exquisitely Alsatian handicrafts, hundreds of Christmas decorations of all kinds, Christmas trees and wooden objects to decorate the home.
Located in the heart of the old town, Place de l'Ancienne Douane2 is home to almost fifty small wooden houses, harmoniously arranged around the pretty Schwendi fountain and installed on both sides of one of the city’s most beautiful canals.
Once night falls, you can admire a marvellous spectacle: the Koïfhus building will be entirely decked out in twinkling lights, an incredible touch of magic in this corner of the old town.
Dominated by a series of buildings ranging from traditional half-timbered houses to the purest classical French style, this market offers visitors a good overview of Alsace culture.
The market at Place Jeanne d'Arc3 recreates the intimate atmosphere of a traditional Alsatian village with its Christmas houses, its church and its small flock of goats. Dedicated to the most authentic local products, it will offer you a wide range of gourmet delicacies: Alsatian specialities, foie gras, charcuterie, Christmas wines and beers, schnapps, Christmas bredalas or gingerbread.
The most picturesque corner of Colmar, the Petite Venice, turns into a true paradise for children at Christmas.
At Place des 6 Montagnes Noires4 the little ones will be literally enchanted by the many attractions for them: sweets to taste, a mechanical nativity scene, animal pens, horses on the big merry-go-round, not to mention Santa’s giant letterbox and his special office in town.
The majestic medieval building at Koïfhus5offers you the chance to admire and purchase the many creations of local craftsmen. Ceramists, potters, glass masters, cabinetmakers, carvers, hatters and jewellers who have inherited the know-how of an entire region and will be happy to share their passion with you.
On the first floor, in a large hall, you will see the most interesting Alsatian craftsmen at work.
Alsace is not only history and handicrafts: the region offers a varied gastronomic panorama that is appreciated throughout Europe.
At Place de la Cathédrale6, during the festive season, 9 chalets are set up for 9 chefs, master restaurateurs who will invent divine dishes for you, from starters to desserts, from oysters to traditional Alsatian specialities.
A market dedicated to good food, to taste the delicacies of Alsace.
Colmar’s sound and light shows are a real attraction in the city during the Christmas period.
More than 1,150 computer-controlled light points are cleverly scattered throughout the city, providing original and imaginative lighting that varies in intensity, colour and period. Designed only for the Christmas festivities, thanks to their immense success, they have remained in operation all year round, changing atmosphere and theme according to the period.
Like a magic brush, this show redesigns the city, giving it new contours, a new relief, highlighting its myriad architectural details. The magic of Christmas becomes even more astonishing thanks to an immense canvas of lights and colours, involving every corner of the city: a spectacle within a spectacle, which will leave you speechless.
Gliding on ice in the open air, to the sound of Christmas carols, is a magical experience, typical of the Christmas Markets.
Nestled in the heart of an atmospheric setting at Place Rapp7, an 800 m2 ice rink awaits you to enjoy with family or friends.
From the end of November to the end of December, various events are planned: soap bubble rain and snowstorm, a visit from St Nicholas and Father Christmas, a fluorescent evening, Eisstöck competitions, a typical local entertainment, a kind of ‘bowling on ice’.
An enchanting place for young and old, especially at the end of the day, when the rink is cloaked in a thousand lights.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article
Alsace is recognised throughout Europe for its wines and gastronomy. The Christmas period is the best time to taste traditional dishes, whose ancestral recipes have been handed down from generation to generation.
Colmar is a true gourmet destination: the city impresses not only with the richness of its monuments but also with its centuries-old tradition of hospitality and the quality of its gastronomic delights. Renowned wines, craft beers, foie gras (invented in Strasbourg in 1780), baeckaoffe (a dish consisting of three marinated meats and potatoes in white wine), stewed sauerkraut, not to mention Munster cheese.
Don’t forget to try all the Alsatian Christmas specialities: mulled wine with cinnamon, gingerbread, Kougelhopf (sweet leavened dough filled with almond cream and covered with icing sugar), St Nicholas Manalas (butter brioche in the shape of a snowman), Berawecka (bread with dried fruit macerated in kirsch) and Bredele (small Christmas sweets with a thousand flavours such as cinnamon, vanilla and almond).