The historical centre
The almost completely pedestrianised historical centre is a conservation area featuring a rich heritage, spanning from the Middle Ages to the 20th century. There are many religious buildings, home to treasures such as “Madonna of the Rose Bush”, a masterpiece by Martin Schongauer (Dominican Church). The historic centre is remarkable for its harmony and beauty.
Just as famous as the Petite France in Strasbourg, Little Venice is the essence of Colmar as a postcard-perfect town. Through this delightfully charming, incredibly romantic quarter flows the tranquil Lauch River, surrounded by half-timbered houses and picturesque narrow streets. Boat rides are available.
Built in 1537 for a rich hat maker named Ludwig Scherer, Pfister House is the best example of Renaissance architecture in Colmar, although it has medieval characteristics as well. Its adornments: a beautiful corner oriel on two floors, a superb wooden gallery, an octagonal tower and paintings representing Biblical scenes.
This former customs house, also called Koïfhus, is the oldest public building of Colmar. This imposing building was built in the 15th century. Its ground floor was used for storing goods subject to local taxes. As for the upstairs floor, it was used for administrative meetings and by the Magistrate. You might get a chance to go inside during one of the many public events held there.
Maison des Têtes
This magnificent house built in 1609 is in the German Renaissance style. It owes its name to the 106 heads, or grotesque masks, adorning its facade, which features a superb central oriel. The aim of the game is to look at each one, one after the other… On top of the building there is a statue of a cooper, circa 1902. This statue was designed by the famous sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, who was commissioned by the wine exchange that occupied the building in 1898.
Saint Martin's Collegiate Church
A major work of Gothic architecture, it is often called the “Cathedral of Colmar”. It was built between 1235 and 1365, but its current silhouette dates to 1575. After a fire that destroyed the south tower, that tower was replaced with the roof lantern with onion dome that can be seen today.
Colmar has numerous museums with very fine collections, but the one you should definitely not miss is Unterlinden Museum. The museum’s setting, in a former convent with an extraordinary cloister, is truly beautiful. And the centrepiece of its collection is a real treasure: the Isenheim Altarpiece. This masterpiece (1512 -1516) was created by Nikolaus Hagenauer and Matthias Grünewald. This polyptych painting is extraordinary – the work of a visionary artist. Definitely a must-see!