|What to See & Do in Colmar, France|
|Ancient churches, a fine art and history museum, the birthplace of Bartholdi, sculptor of the Statue of Liberty...but mostly just the wandering medieval streets of Colmar, left from another era centuries ago....|
Colmar's winding medieval streets will fascinate you for hours, with their half-timbered houses over 500+ years old.
Among the winding streets are numerous points of interest:
Though not as grand as Strasbourg's great Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, the Église Saint-Martin (or Collégiale Saint-Martin) is the Colmar equivalent, built from 1234 to 1365. It's sometimes even called "the cathedral."
In bright sunlight its golden stone glows as though alive, and its colored roof tiles glitter. The Isenmann altarpiece (1462) was originally installed here; itsseven surviving panels are now in the Musée Unterlinden.
Admire the great church's stained glass windows and, outside, look for the storks' nest on a platform on the rooftop at the rear.
Église des Dominicains
Quite near the cathedral, and large but mostly plain inside, the Église des Dominicains, under construction from 1289 to 1364, is now principally the place where you can view the medieval masterpiece The Virgin in the Rosebush (La Vierge au buisson de roses) by Martin Schongauer (1450-1491), displayed in an elaborate gilded 19th-century frame.
The simple, lofty church is peaceful, its narrow but long 14th-century stained glass windows quite beautiful. You pay a small fee to enter the church, which closes for several hours at mid-day.
Housed in a former convent built by the Dominican friars between 1269 and 1289, the Unterlinden has, since the mid-1800s, been the home of Colmar's principal art and history museum. Its collection includes the late-medieval Issenheim retable of Matthias Grünewald, and a statue of painter Martin Shongauer (1450-1491) executed by Frédérique Auguste Bartholdi in 1860.
Maison des Têtes
What can it be, a "House of Heads?" Walk along Colmar's rue des Têtes and you'll recognize it at once: the ornate house, now a hotel and restaurant, decorated with dozens of whimsical carved heads.
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834–1904), sculptor of the Statue of Liberty, was born in Colmar. His birthplace is now the Musée Bartholdi, preserving copies of his work, photos, and personal belongings.
This Renaissance gem of a town mansion was built in 1537 for Ludwig Scherer, though it is currently named for François-Xavier Pfister, who acquired it in 1841.
Colmar is the perfect base for visits to the charming medieval wine villages and towns among the vast vineyards blanketing the slopes of the Vosges mountains. Some villages, such as Turckheim, are only a 10-minute train ride from Colmar's Gare, but to fully enjoy the Alsace Wine Route, a car is a good idea. More...
Colmar Hotel Map: