In Colmar, the Christmas celebrations from Advent to Epiphany give the Alsatian town a unique atmosphere. The fairy-tale setting of the old town is even more magical at Christmas time. Each year, the residents of Colmar decorate their windows and houses with great care. A visit to the Colmar Christmas Market promises to be an unforgettable experience!
A few words about Christmas in Colmar
During the Advent season, the entire historic centre welcomes a Christmas market. It comprises a multitude of chalets (little wooden stalls) selling original gift ideas and Christmas delicacies.
But the many stalls at the Colmar Christmas market did not just happen by magic. Their designs have been specifically created with the help of an architect. The setting of the market had to respect the rich architectural heritage of Colmar. The tourist board stresses that:
“Everything has been designed so that the visitor can fully enjoy the beauty of the historical city centre while discovering traditional Christmas markets”.
The organisers are far from falling into the consumer trap with plain or products unrelated to Christmas. Indeed, the municipality of Colmar worked on selecting items that meet precise criteria in line with the motto “art and tradition”. Therefore, they prioritised local and regional craft items as they welcomed local produce and traditional Christmas delicacies (cakes, pastries and sweets). Oh, and without forgetting mulled wine bien sûr!
Christmas illuminations in Colmar
The Christmas illuminations in the streets of Colmar follow the same festive spirit. Their design has to blend perfectly with the urban scenery. This clever light system reveals the historic heritage of Colmar at night time.
There are many places where the Christmas lights offer a fantastic view of the town’s heritage.
Find your way to the Rue des Marchands and Grand’Rue for the most beautiful views.
Marvel at some of the decorations in the old town:
And don’t forget to visit the picturesque Little Venice district:
Book your stay in Colmar!
My advice: don’t wait too long before booking your accommodation in Colmar, particularly at Christmas!
The Colmar Christmas market draws many people, and availabilities in hotels/short rentals tend to go very quickly.
To book your accommodation in Colmar, click on this affiliate link, which will redirect you to our partner booking.com… or use the interactive map below:
The 6 locations of the Colmar Christmas market
The Colmar Christmas market has around 198 stallholders (77% from Alsace). The old town of Colmar hosts six magical Christmas markets:
Marché de Noël de la Place des Dominicains
The Dominican Church and its stained-glass windows tower over the Colmar Christmas market. It is made up of 65 stalls, all nestled together.
Due to the historic church’s proximity, this market’s theme shows a more ‘spiritual’ dimension. The sight of the 14th-century stained-glass windows lit up at night time enhances the festive atmosphere.
Marché de Noël de la Place Jeanne d’Arc
Here, the traditional wooden stalls give way to a reconstituted Alsatian village with its half-timbered houses, typical church and farm animals. The stalls offer local produce, such as foie gras, bredalas, Alsatian wines and brandy.
Marché de Noël de la Place de l’Ancienne Douane
Pass under the porch of the Old Customs House to access the square of “Place de l’Ancienne Douane”. Make sure to look back to admire the rear of the building (16th century). There, you’ll find another Christmas market made up of 42 stalls. They are all set up around the Schwendi Fountain. Bartholdi, a native of Colmar, designed the statue at its top, which depicts Schwendi. Legend has it that the Imperial general introduced the Tokay grape variety to Alsace.
Indoor market at the Koifhus (Ancienne Douane)
The imposing building of the Old Customs House (or Koifhus – Ancienne Douane in French) is easily recognisable for its glazed tiles. It was the most important building throughout the political and economic history of the city of Colmar. Edified in 1480, the Customs House had two uses:
- it was a storeroom for goods that were taxed upon entering the city and
- it served as the city hall.
Enter to warm up and discover the creations of twenty artisans (potters, glass blowers, cabinet-makers, wood sculptors, hat makers, jewellers, etc.) and masterpieces of three antiquarians.
From the top of the stairs leading to the first floor, you’ll admire an enchanting view of Colmar:
Marché de Noël de la Petite Venise
This is the one that might get your children more enthusiastic! This Colmar Christmas market occupies the square of Place des Six Montagnes Noires.
It hosts 44 brightly coloured stalls with delightful surprises and is specifically designed for children. There is an animated Nativity scene, a merry-go-round with wooden horses and a giant French-style yellow letterbox to post your letter to Santa Claus.
Festive Events at the Colmar Christmas Market
If you are visiting Colmar for a few days, there are many other places to discover and events you can participate in:
- Go to Place Rapp, where a giant sledge run is set amongst a winter wonderland scattered with snowy Christmas trees and chalets reminiscent of the nearby Vosges Mountains.
- Do not miss the “The Magic of Christmas” guided tour organised by the Colmar Tourist Board. The tour leads you at nightfall through the enchanting setting of the old town of Colmar, which is beautifully illuminated. You’ll learn about the city’s history and Alsace’s Christmas traditions [in French only]. For reservations and more information, visit the Colmar Tourist Office.
- Colmar hosts various events from the Advent period to Epiphany: masses, exhibitions, concerts, performances and street shows. One in particular is worth a peek: the Christmas Carols sung by children’s choirs on brightly-lit little boats on the Little Venice canals.
Find out more about the Colmar Christmas market on the official website.