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Colmar is a city located in Alsace, France, between Strasbourg (in the North) and Mulhouse (in the South). Located only 20 kilometers from the German border, this little city has a rich history. Well known around the world as the Alsatian Wines Capital, the city is nowadays a traditionnal destination for wine and vinyard lovers.
History of Colmar
More informations about the History of Colmar on the wikipedia:Colmar !
Preparing your trip: useful information
You would like to plan your trip to Colmar? Have a look to these links:
- How to come?
Train is the cheapest way to travel in Alsace but if you come from a far-far-away country, you'll have to take a plane landing either in Mulhouse-Bâle Airport (http://www.euroairport.com) or in Strasbourg (http://www.strasbourg.aeroport.fr). For those who are coming by Ryanair,the easiest way to land next to Colmar is to arrive at Mulhouse-Bâle, previous quoted. You can also take a plane to Baden-Baden, a city not far from the German border and next to Strasbourg, or Mulhouse-Bâle.
Warning You'll probably be surprised on arriving at Mulhouse-Bâle during the winter: no bus services will allow you to reach the city of Mulhouse. You will only be able to reach it by using taxis, which are quite expensive: about 35€ till Mulhouse. Or you can try to take a bus till Bâle in Switzerland then reach France by bus at the franco-swiss station. It appears quite epic but nothing to worry about, people there are usually keen to help you when they have time. And maybe your host will be able to pick you up at the airport if he/she doesn't live that far away from it :o)
Once arrived in Strasbourg or Mulhouse, you can take a train going to Colmar. Be careful: don't choose the normal price immediately: you can travel for less choosing the "découverte" ticket (means "discovery") which allows you 25% off the normal price. Plus if you are travelling during a week-end, think about buying a special week-end ticket which allows you to travel from 2 to 5 persons as much as you want in the whole country (Alsace, not France, but including Basel in Switzerland) for only 25€.
For all information about train services check this page: http://www.ter-sncf.com/alsace/
- Arrival in Colmar:
Colmar is a little town with only 70,000 inhabitants so it's a bit difficult to get lost there :o) However, you there is bus service from the station to eveywhere in and around the city. Timetables and prices are available here: http://www.trace-colmar.fr
- Where can I stay?
There is a Youth Hostel in Colmar in which you'll be able to stay for a cheap price. Further information is available here: http://www.ville-colmar.fr/ville/jeunesse/auberge_jeunesse.htm
Otherwise, there is a small community of couchsurfers who could host you :o) just check this page: http://www.couchsurfing.com !
- What can I see there?
To have a good idea about what you can see, do and visit in Colmar have a look at the city's official website http://www.ville-colmar.fr/ ...and to the text below:
Places to see
- http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/ : you will find a collection of middle-age masterpieces of art there. The most represented paintings being those coming from germanic area and northern Europe.
The famous "Retable d'Issenheim" is the main painting of the museum, seen each year by thousands of tourists. Website in french only...
- http://www.musee-bartholdi.com/ : Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, the builder of "Miss Liberty" was born in Colmar. The museum is his own house, shown to the public with many of his works and preparatory works for his masterpieces such as the Statue de la Liberté, the Lion de Belfort, and the Marseille Station. The website is unfortunately only in french.
- "la petite Venise" : called in french "little venice", this is a nice place, though drawing too many tourists :o). but you can't visit the city without stopping by this place surrounded by the river Fecht and by typical houses with Alsactian architecture.
- "le quai de la Poissonnerie": not far from the "petite Venise", this location is represented on many postcards you will find in Colmar; it is also known as one of the most colored street of the city with its numerous typical houses.
- Colmar's cathedral is not as big as Strasbourg's one, however it was the main christian church of the department and the meeting point of the local bishops. It is commonly named "Collegiale Saint-Martin" but some local politics are keen to call it "cathedral" for it appears more prestigious :o).
- "la maison Pfister": built in 1537, it's not the oldest house of the city but one of the most beautiful: its walls are full of drawings, mainly about religion. One can see there representations of Gospels, Nativity and so on. The house was named about its owner in 1840's, a merchant called François-Xavier Pfister.
- the "Koïfhus": this building from 1480, formerly used as the Customs controlling products from Flanders or Italy, is now devoted to exhibitions, concerts or christmas markets.
More informations about the places to visit in Colmar on the wikivoyage:Colmar !
Things to do:
End of March:
- http://www.ville-colmar.fr/adv/culture/filmchinois/film_chinois.htm : a week dedicated to Chinese movies
Beginning of June:
- http://www.ville-colmar.fr/adv/sport/paris_colmar.htm : an atheltic race between Paris and Colmar for those who aren't afraid of walking 500 kilometers!
Beginning of July:
- http://www.festival-colmar.com/ : a two weeks international festival of classical music.
Middle of August:
- http://www.foire-colmar.com/ : a "meeting" about wine :oD Here you can test all the specific wines from the country and enjoy some concerts (pop, rock, metal, rap...) during 10 days.
Beginning of September:
- http://www.festivaljazzcolmar.fr/ : a jazz festival with original concerts for a whole week.
Middle of October:
- http://www.ville-colmar.fr/adv/culture/festivalcine.htm : cinema festival with more or less famous french and european actors and directors
End of November:
- http://www.salon-du-livre-colmar.com/ : book festival each year dedicated to a specific item. For example, travel, love, childhood...
- http://www.noel-colmar.com/ : Alsace is well known around the world for its beautiful Christmas enlightenments and animations. In each city, in each village, you can see beautiful lights which would make you believe in Father Christmas again! Colmar has 4 traditionnal christmas markets to visit, counting among the most appreciated in the area.
While preparing your trip for Colmar, you probably read in the guides the names of other places that also worth the trip. Here are some descriptions of the closest villages that deserve to be seen:
- Eguisheim: only few minutes from Colmar by car and half an hour by bicycle, Eguisheim is one of the favourite touristic destinations for wine lovers. The typical houses mainly belong to wine makers and both the paved streets and the old half-timbering houses contribute to the fame of the place.
- Turckheim: as soon as one arrive there, one is taken aback by the huge doors that allow to enter the city. Still based on its medieval borders, the village is indeed surrounded by thick walls behind which one will find another example of the Alsatian architectural style.
- Niedermorschwihr: believe it or not but hundreds of tourists are discovering this small village just for the reason that its church has a tendrilled bell tower. Not only it's true but this village is also a good starting point to make the "wine's road", a famous road grooving around wineyards all over Alsace's countryside. It is also worth taking a look at the Church of Saint Gall, which has a historic organ and an interested twisted steeple. You can get some more information about the church and the steeple at the following website (the Friends of the Twisted Steeple Niedermorschwihr) * http://www.clochervrilleniedermorschwihr.com/ : Les Amis du Clocher Vrillé Niedermorschwihr
- Ribeauvillé: surrounded by both the Ribeaupierre's Castles (one is pictured here) and the Haut-Koenigsbourg castle (renewed by Bismarck at the end of the 19th century), Ribeauvillé is one of the most influent place where to buy regional products and especially wines. A huge basement at the gateway of this little city lost in the wineyards allows visitors to taste different grape varieties for free, and one can buy it for moderate and competitive prices.
In Case of Emergency
- Police Station:
- Health Urgency:
- Fireman Station:
- Emergency Doctor: