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Colmar – Christmas Markets in France

Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année

Dates : 23rd November to 30th December 2018

From Monday to Thursday: 10:00am to 7:00pm
Friday and Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am to 8:00pm
24.12: 10:00am to 5:00pm
25.12: 2:00pm to 7:00pm

The magic of Christmas in Colmar, first of all there’s the ambiance of the Old Town, illuminated and decorated like a fairy tale : a historic setting made magical by the Christmas illuminations which, in this festive period, blend harmoniously with the wonderful lighting designed to enhance the town’s heritage, and lay a soothing aura of light over the centre of Colmar.

Colmar town centre is essentially pedestrian, comprises numerous architectural treasures such as monuments, churches, museums and alleys, full of imposing buildings dating from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Marvel at the Maison Pfister, the Koïfhus, Unterlinden museum, Little Venice, the maison des têtes and Saint Martin’s Collegiate church. The whole town is decorated, as in a dream, turning the old centre into a veritable open-air theatre where the warm Christmas mood envelops the heart of the town.

In Alsace, the preparation of Christmas and of end-of-year celebrations it is an especially moment which waited. Moment of conviviality and sharing, this period is favourable to return to the real family values. In this region, the preparation of celebration starts 25th November for the opening of Christmas markets, escalates during all the Advent period (4 Sundays before Christmas), to reach in apotheosis at the 24th December and finishes gently with the Epiphany on the 6th January.

5 Christmas markets in the historic town

This magic set and warm atmosphere confer in Colmar an unrivalled feeling. Succession of bright decorations drags tourists in discovery of 5 traditional Christmas markets. Snuggled up in the heart of historic places of old Colmar, they are interconnected by a way of light subtly drawn in the alleys of the city. Intimate and friendly, 5 markets of Colmar receive during 6 weeks 162 exhibitors. Chalet are harmoniously arranged to allow the tourists to visit markets and profit to the striking historical center. In Colmar they are 5 markets: a market of local product, Jeanne d’Arc place, the internal market of Koïfhus dedicated to the arts and crafts and to the antiques, and the market of Petite Venise, dedicated to the children.

Flamboyant setting

The magic of Christmas in Colmar it is an authentic and singular atmosphere. The old town, essentially pedestrian, are drawing like an idyllic setting, convenient to the beautiful family strolls. The city center has a vast historic heritage: church, museum, historic monument, sculptures, half-timbering houses and paved alleys, bridges and canals are a wonderful case to blooming of magic Christmas. Colmarians and storekeeper are unit with the City to create this set faithful to the imagination and to regress to childhood. Shop windows, houses, terraces, and balconies figured with the most beautiful décors tribute to lake live the Magic of Christmas.

Magic lights

Coming to discover the magic of Christmas it is participate to a living performance. The illuminations of city center are an exceptional design unique in France. Design like a true living show, the halos envelop the old Colmar and evaporate as a Northern lights. The fabulous lights sublimate the traditionals adornments and emphasize with romanticism and elegance the rich architectural heritage of this old town.

All Colmar celebrate Christmas

Many activities of Chrsitmas tribute to feel an unique experience in Colmar. A wonderful world of legends and tales invest museums of the city. The big ice rink locate Place Rapp, in a snowy setting with a lot of white Christmas tree, deligth children and adults. On the Petite Venise market, the mailbox of Santa Claus and whirligig are installed for the happiness of children. During all the Advent period, schoolchild of Colmar interpret Christams carols on little boat (Petite Venise), many concerts of Christmas are given in churches. Moreover, during this cycle, the wine growers propose tasting and animations on the theme of Christmas in their wine cellars.

Place des Dominicains
Dominating the market, the Dominican Church is pushed out of darkness by its remarkable stained glass art from the 14th century. Illuminated by the atmosphere of this historic site lays sixty huts huddled together beneath it, offering decorations, Christmas trees and festive meals for all christmas market goers.

Place Jeanne d’Arc
This market is dedicated to local products while recreating the intimate atmosphere of an Alsatian village with its half-timbered houses, churches and its animals. It offers many culinary delights such as products of Alsatian tradition, foie gras, charcuterie, wine, brandies, Christmas cakes, gingerbread and many more

Place de l’Ancienne Douane
This pretty square hosts nearly 50 huts harmoniously arranged around the fountain of Schwendi and extended along the river. At night, the old customs Koïfhus, a true work of medieval architecture, is subtly dressed in lights which sublimate the Christmas market.

Koïfhus
Come in and warm up in this medieval building where the creations of some twenty local artisans (ceramists, potters, glassmakers, cabinetmakers, woodworkers, hatters, jewellers, etc…) and antiques dealers. On the first floor you will also find traditional Alsatian objects modernized by craftsmen of ‘Alsactruc’. Don’t forget to stop in front of the workshop of Santa Claus and his elves in a setting of automatons staged by the Toy Museum of Colmar.

Petite Venise
A child’s kingdom! Designed for kids, both young and old are enthralled by this way surrounded by 43 colorful cottages where you will find many treasures before stopping to admire the nativity scene. It’s difficult to leave this market without drinking some warm apple juice, parading on the carousel horses and posting a letter to Santa in the giant mailbox.

Christmas tree market Place Rapp

As early as 1521, there was the first mention of the sale of Christmas trees in Alsace. During the Middle Ages, the Christmas tree was placed in the choir of church and decorated with little red apples, representing temptation, and hosts, symbols of redemption. From the end of the 16th century, Christmas trees were adorned with roses and multi-colored paper, sometimes with gold-leafed. Step by step, Bredalas (Christmas cookies), aniseed bread and almond paste replaced the hosts. In 19th century, the characters in sugar or in chocolate take place on the fir tree, we add it walnuts and candles, without forgetting for the houses decoration the branches of holly and mistletoe.

Les boules de Noël de Meisenthal Office du tourisme (32 cours Saint Anne)

The tourist information office of Colmar is one of 14 places to have the privilege to exhibit and to sell original pieces of art: Christmas balls of Meisenthal. Marvels of glassworker art, the blown Christmas balls were created in 19th century in North Vosges. The legend wants that in 1858 the nature was avaricious. A severe drought deprived the region of fruits and the Christmas tree was not adorned with its traditional decorations (apples, walnuts, pine cones, hazelnuts…). A glass-blower does not who want to resign to see naked Christmas trees tried to compensate for this loss by blowing some glass balls. He started a secular tradition which extended in many cultures and crossed the borders. In 1964 the glass factory stopped the manufacturing of Christmas balls, but since 1998 the International Center of Art Glassworker (CIAV) of Meisenthal breathed a new life in this local tradition. CIAV still produces according to the ancestral rites of the creations in the refine design.

On top of that 5 markets in city center, Colmar proposes many animations on the Christmas theme: guided tours “Magic Christmas” (only French), big ice rink on Place Rapp, giant mailbox of Santa Claus on children market, automatic crib and traditional sings, fir tree market, Christmas wine cellar and many shows everywhere.

Guided Tours « Magic Christmas »
When the nightfall, allow yourself to be charmed by the magic of Christmas. Through the enchanting setting of illuminated Old Colmar, you will hear about Alsatian Christmas traditions.

Colmar sings Christmas
Important moment of Alsatian cultural life, the Christmas time is a friendly moment. Noëlies are everywhere to brighten up the city. Children’s carols on small boats, in churches and museums…visitors are carried by the fervour of Christmas carols.

Children sing on the boat Wednesday and Saturday
On the romantic canal of the picturesque Petite Venise sailing charmingly lit boats on which children sing are offer a unique display of traditional Christmas carols

Christmas wine cellars

Especially decorated for this occasion, Christmas wine cellars offer you the chance to meet Alsatian winemakers
and discover their wines, spirits, and brandies during tastings of local products punctuated by animations.

  • Domaine Martin Jund – Wine and juice tasting & Christmas tales
  • Domaine Karcher – Cellar visit, wine tasting & Folk animation
  • Domaine Viticole de la Ville de Colmar – Fragrance game around Alsatian wines – wine tasting with foie gras and gingerbread
  • Cave Wolfberger – Tasting food & wine
  • Domaine Gilbert Marschall – Cellar visit, cask wine tasting & animations
  • Cave Jean Geiler – Cellar and winemakers museum visit & wine tasting

Christmas Ice rink Place Rapp

Fans of ice skates devote themselves to the joys of gliding in a winter wonderland made of natural Christmas tree and chalets on the large outdoor ice rink of 800 m2. Every Wednesday and Saturday from 2pm till 5pm an ice circuit wait for children from 3 to 10 years old.

The Advent period in Alsace is a time when the magical world of Christian fables and pagan legends, of mystery and fairy tales comes to life. More than ever, in Christmas time, Alsace becomes a land of legend!

Frightening Hans Trapp

Hans Trapp, an Alsatian lord of0 the Middle Ages who terrorized the whole region, became a legendary figure over the centuries – the Alsatian equivalent of the “Père Fouettard” (Whipping Father). Hans Trapp travels with Saint Nicolas and Christkindel on their visits to punish the bad boys and girls!

Christkind

The evening of December 24th a young woman dressed in white, wearing a pine crown with four candles that symbolize the four Sundays of the Advent. She brings presents to the good boys and girls. She gives them Christmas apples, nuts, sweets, dolls and toys.

Saint-Nicholas

Saint Nicholas is a person who really existed. Mainly celebrated in the countries of North of Europe, in Lorraine, Alsace and Franche Comté, the tradition wants that during the night of December 6th, Saint Nicholas comes to put down candies in the shoes of children who placed the day before in front of the door of their room.

Advent crown

Around 1930 appears in all Alsace a crown of branches of fir tree decorated with four candles (for four Advent Sundays) and decorated with ribbons, with pinecones or with dried fruits.

Le « Brandewidaowa »

A log blessed during the Midnight Mass is burned in the fireplace. The next morning, the ashes are collected and stored because they have many virtues. These ashes are scattered before the Epiphany in the fields and gardens to improve crop …

Christmas rose

Wine tradition, preserved by generation in generation, the dried flower went out of its box in the evening of Christmas. We plunge it into the water where it opens more or less, announcing the grape harvests to come …

Location

Located in the center of Alsace, the smallest French region, Colmar is halfway between Strasbourg and Mulhouse. It is 20 kilometers from the German border and 67 kilometers from Basel (Switzerland), Colmar has a privileged location in the heart of vineyard, in front of Vosges and near the Rhine – in fact the hub of Central Alsace.

A35 : Free and direct access to all major cities in Europe
TGV : Paris-Colmar in 2:50 hour
Aéroports : Strasbourg-Entzheim and Euroairport (Bâle-Mulhouse-Freiburg) 70km
Choose shuttle Buses

Each year, the Christmas season draws near 2.6 million visitors in Alsace. Country Star has established links transit to regulate the flow, limit the number of personal vehicles and facilitate parking on the whole territory.

Free Park and Ride to the city center of Colmar

First 4 weekends of December the access to the city center of Colmar is closed to all vehicles. At the start of “Parc des Expositions” (Avenue de la foire aux Vins) a parking + free relay is set up on Saturdays and Sundays. Shuttles drop people off every 10 minutes near the Christmas markets (Place Scheurer Kestner).

Parking for Campers : See Here

Christmas

Christmas is also a time when we tend to think more about food and drink as we like to treat our family and friends when they come to visit, but have you ever thought about what foods are traditional in other countries of the world? Why not take a look at the page below and see what other nationalities are cooking up this Christmas. Christmas is also a time for trying out traditional and new ways of cooking meals, cakes, snacks…….. the list goes on, here we have a selection of Christmas recipes from around the world for you to take a look at, and maybe try out … and if you have a special recipe that you would like to share with the world, then you can send it in to us for others to try out to World-wide Christmas Recipes. Who are the most important people at Christmas? yes, of course, its the CHILDREN and we have not left them out, there is a page packed full of Christmas activities to keep them busy ( and Mums everywhere heave a sigh of relief ! ) … take a look at this page and download the information Children’s Christmas page Read about the Christmas Customs and Traditions of the nations of the world and how they differ, or are maybe the same as, ours. … What is the feast of the “Epiphany” or that of “St Lucia“ which countries are these important too? See here the origins of the most beautiful of all the Christmas Carols “Silent Night“, where it came from, who wrote it and listen to the song itself ( look to see which very famous person is singing it!) Have a look at the main Christmas page and see who Father Christmas is, where did he come from, where is he now, and who is St Nicolaus? Send him a letter from the children, browse through some Christmas Market Tours or listen to a new Christmas song on the page there is so much to see and read, so why not do it !! For those of you who want to travel a little further than the local shops this year have a look at Father Christmas in Lapland or maybe (the ultimate treat for Mums – Dads take note ! ) Shopping in New York we have it all right here for you. As Christmas approaches we also think of snow and with that thought comes skiing, skating, sledging and all manner of “Fun in the Snow” things to do which will last for weeks after Christmas time has been and gone. Around Europe there are many places to visit where you can enjoy the winter activities, whether it is before, during or after Christmas. Below you will find a sample of activities and places to look at which you may find will interest or even surprise you. Please take time to have a look.

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Christmas Recipes

Food plays a very important part in the season of Goodwill and Festive Cheer. Here we have a selection of recipes from around the globe which we hope will help you to prepare for Christmas.

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Discover all you need to know about the history of Silent Night, the Lyrics and listen to Silent Night

Discovwer all about St Nicholas. Find out who he was, how he become a saint and why he is associated with Christmas. Discover St Nicholas here

Find Puzzles, word searches, letters to print of for Santa plus much more here, in the Kids Corner

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