As if Colmar isn't charming enough, it becomes a winter wonderland during the month of December. This city of about 70,000 is located in the Grand Est region of northeastern France about 15 miles from the Rhine River that separates France from Germany. Its cobblestone streets and half-timbered medieval buildings transform you to another century.
During the month of December, the people of Colmar pull out all the stops to decorate for Christmas. The decorations and sparkling lights throughout the town are captivating.
I took the regional train from Mulhouse where I was staying and spent the day and evening wandering around the markets scattered throughout the city. Colmar is small enough so that it's easy to stroll and enjoy the Christmas spirit in this delightful town. Like most of the larger markets in France, Colmar's runs from about late November to late December, seven days a week.
Place des Dominicains
This 14th century church dominates the square which was full of stands selling souvenirs, food and vin chaud.
Place de la Cathédrale
Although not technically a cathedral, the Church of St. Martin is an imposing and impressive Gothic church in the center of Colmar. The focus of this market is food, specifically Alsatian dishes. Restaurants set up shop under large tents for market goers to sample the local fare.
There was also a colorful merry-go-round to keep the kids happy.
The inside of the church had a lovely creche.
Place Jeanne d'Arc
Set up to resemble an Alsatian village, the stalls offered traditional local goodies.
Place de l'Ancienne Douane and the Koifhus Indoor Market
This lively square is home to the 15th century gothic "Koifhus" or Customs House. The square itself was brightly decorated and there was an indoor market on the second floor of the Koifhus.
Around Quai de la Poissonnerie
As you approach the famous Petite Venise section of Colmar you come upon the Quai de la Poissonnerie (Fish Market Wharf).
I could have stayed there for hours taking in the beautiful views on a cold, December day.
My Boat Trip
You can take a flat-bottom boat ride just about any time of the year. I really enjoyed my Christmas ride along the river.
La Petite Venise
The name Little Venice no doubt originates from the houses that line the Lauch River which winds through this section of Colmar, reminiscent of Venice, Italy. Whatever the origin, this is the Pièce de Résistance of the Christmas market.
These bredeles are a staple of Alsace and sold at every Christmas market.
Ski tree, anyone?
This ferris wheel was popular with the children!
The Maison Pfister was built in 1537 and is one of the highlights of the old city.
And just pretty...
Merry Christmas from Colmar...
➜ Top Tips
Colmar is one of the most popular Christmas markets in France. If you go, try to go during the week as it gets very crowded on the weekend.
Make sure you check out the opening and closing times when you go.
It is small enough so that the markets throughout town can be seen in a day.
If you stay in Colmar, book your hotel early as accommodations fill up and become very pricey closer to December.
It's easy to get to Colmar by train if you stay in the region. I stayed in Mulhouse which was much more affordable and was an easy 25 minutes away via the local train.
Take a camera that captures good night photos!