Colmar is a medieval village in the Alsace region of France, not far from Strasbourg. Its ancient buildings and winding streets provide a fairy tale-like experience year-round, but it takes on a special charm for the holidays with Christmas Market stalls erected around the church, in front of shops, and by the old Custom House. We visited Colmar toward the end of our Rhine River cruise from Amsterdam to Basel with Viking in 2016.
Colmar is also known for its canals (fed by the Lauch River) and its “Little Venice” area. Santa makes an appearance outside the Covered Market of Colmar. While geranium plants usually tumble from shelves on the rails surrounding the canals, Christmas decorations take their place in the winter.
The late afternoon winter sun turned the stone of St. Martin’s Church a warm yellow-orange color, contrasting nicely with a blue sky that’s not always seen at this time of year. A church has stood on this site since around 1000 A.D., and the current building was erected between 1234 and 1365.
The half-timbered buildings are often brightly painted and sometimes highly decorated. Visitors need to look up to catch the finer details.
Colmar is also the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, the artist and designer of the Statue of Liberty. A replica of the statue is located in a traffic roundabout at the edge of the village. His family home has been turned into a museum dedicated to his life. The sculpture below is in the courtyard outside the museum.
Finally, we had to include this charming painted wrought-iron sign for a charcuterie shop in the village: