Visit Colmar (Alsace, France)
Colmar is a sizeable town in the Haut-Rhin department to the south of the Alsace region.
The town has rather too much development around the edges, but penetrate through and you will love the old town - street after narrow street of half-timbered, half-painted houses, will show you the real Alsace as it was hundreds of years ago. The part of the town describes as 'Petite Venise' is especially attractive and photogenic, with some simply lovely houses lining the river.
The town also has two great works of art hidden away, for which it is renowned: the first is in the Unterlinden Museum - the Issenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grunewald, a magnificent piece of Renaissance art; the second is in the dominican church - the 'vierge au buisson de roses' by Martin Schongauer. although less important than the Grunewald, it is also a highly regarded altarpiece
A detailed tour of Colmar
A first stop for tourists visiting Colmar is the 'Musée d'Unterlinden'. The museum occupies a space that was formerly part of the old Dominican church which, under the Gothic vaults, contains engravings and printings of great value by Martin Shongauer (called the “Beau Martin”, born in Colmar (c. 1450 - 1491), and perhaps the master of A. Dürer) , with subjects drawn from the passion of Christ.
Coming from the church of the Dominicans the work is characterized by a deep realism, as you can see by the meagre faces of some of the characters; among the 16 visible works a special mention goes to Christ Before Pilate.
In the large collection of the museum (XV-XVI century), it is also worth mentioning a 'Piety' attributed to Roger van der Weyden (1399-1464), a 'Crucifixion' attributed to Matthias Grünewald (1470 c.-1528) and, by the same Grünewald, the famous altarpiece from the church of Issenheim.
In addition, the museum contains paintings by Gaspard Isenmann (1430-1480), interesting for the realistic precision of the objects that were in daily use in the fourteenth century. We must also note several works covering a wide period from medieval times to the 19th century e.g. Crucifixion by Lorenzo da San Severino (15th c.). Contemporary art is well represented by works of August Renoir, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger and others.
Other Colmar Museums
Another interesting museum in Colmar is the Musée Bartholdi: Bartholdi, creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York, was born in Colmar and the museum keeps a resin copy together with other objects and plastic models. One hall of the museum is reserved for Jewish art. A very curious and interesting museum for both children and adults is the Museum of Toys and trains, with various examples of toys of the past and the copy of a village with moving model trains. Other colmar museums include the Albert Schweitzer Museum (Rue Münster), and the Museum of Natural History and Ethnography.
Colmar buildings, sights and architecture
See also the Collegiate Church Saint Martin (on the Place de la Cathédrale). It was consecrated as Cathedral and then Collegiate Church from 1237 under Frederick, abbot of Münster. The Church has strong gothic characteristic, three naves and beautiful stained glass windows from the Church of the Dominicans. It was severely damaged by a fire but was rebuilt in 1536 and served for a time as a place of Protestant worship: the porcelain gives it special red-light, with an impressive main portal between two columns; the portal to the South is signed by “Maître Humbret” (who beginning work in 1245). Also notable are also the reliefs showing the 'Adoration of the Magi' and the 'Last Judgment'. In the apse there is a precious wooden crucifix of the fourteenth century.
Another religious building of remarkable workmanship is the Temple Saint Mathieu, an old Franciscan church (1234), built on a basilica in the ninth century which contains the Crucifixion by Pierre d'Andlau (born in 1420 c.).
Colmar Old Town
Colmar merits a visit to the medieval Old Town, with buildings of great interest such as the Maison Pfister (1537) (at the corner of Rue des Merchands): especially notable is the exterior façade, with balcony wood and brightly decorated by Christian Vacksterffer, an exemplary work of Renaissance art in the region of the Rhine. Another notable building is the famous “Maison de Tête” (XVII century) (“House of heads”), so named because the façade is covered with over a hundred animal heads and faces, a double “loggia” and a statue of Bartholdi. The Colmar Old Town has other interesting areas: the Rue de Tanneurs (Tanners Street) with very high houses where they stretched pelts; the Quai de la Poissonnerie (of the fishermen) and the Ancient Customs House (14th century ) with magnificent stained glass windows and the roof decorated with colored tiles.
The Old Town also provides excellent opportunities to visit local restaurants and enjoy the local Alsatian cuisine, where, alongside the traditional sauerkrauts, you can taste some typical dishes like the “fleishschnacka” (pasta of beef cooked in broth); and specialties based on fish or frog's legs.
Photos of Colmar
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Tourist classifications for Colmar
Colmar has received the following tourist classifications: historical protected town centre' (secteur sauvegardé); village in bloom (ville fleurie) 4*
Address: Colmar, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, 68000 || GPS: latitude 48.081, longitude 7.3555
Map of Colmar & places nearby
Highlights close by
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Colmar, France
- Eguisheim - most beautiful village (6km)
- Parc du domaine de Schoppenwihr - remarkable garden (7km)
- Riquewihr - most beautiful village (10km)
- Hunawihr - most beautiful village (12km)
- Ribeauville - ville fleurie 4* (13km)
- Bergheim - ville fleurie 4* (14km)
- Neuf-Brisach ville neuve (Vauban fortifications) - heritage site (15km)
- Soultzmatt - ville fleurie 4* (16km)
- Marckolsheim - ville fleurie 4* (17km)
- Parc du château de Kintzheim - remarkable garden (20km)
Market days in Colmar: Regular market(s) are held in Colmar each Wednesday & Thursday & Saturday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Colmar (Francais)