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Christmas Fun in Colmar, Alsace
If you are visiting Paris in December and have an extra day or two, why not jump on a train to explore one of the best Christmas Markets in Alsace?
Sure, there are some Christmas markets in Paris and other fun attractions typical of Paris at Christmas time. But for the quintessential fairytale Christmas markets, the Alsace region, in Eastern France, is the place to go.
Imagine a medieval fairytale town with cobbled streets and half-timbered houses, Christmas lights and decorations, wooden chalets selling everything from handicrafts to local delicacies, and the smell of hot chocolate or mulled wine. It is no wonder why the Colmar Christmas Market is one of the best Christmas Markets in France!
Paris to Colmar by Train
A day trip Paris to Colmar by train is very easy to organize. Trains to Colmar leave from Paris Gare de l’Est train station. The distance from Paris to Colmar is 500 km but thanks to the fast trains it only takes 2 hours and a half to reach Colmar!
Currently, it is possible to travel from Paris to Colmar with SNCF, inOui, and Deutsche Bahn. inOui is SNCF’s low-cost line (lesser space, no internet onboard, only online booking & assistance), while Deutsche Bahn is the German train company.
There are direct connections Paris – Colmar, but some proposals include a change of trains in Strasbourg. If you are planning a Paris to Colmar day trip, book the very first train Paris to Colmar that offers a direct connection – Click here to book your train to Colmar.
From the train station in Colmar, it’s a 10-15 minute walk to Old Colmar. Out of the train station, Christmas shuttles are set up between several towns around Colmar (Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, and Eguiasheim).
TIP: Colmar is one of the best day trips from Paris. A day trip to Colmar to see the Colmar Christmas Market is especially popular, so book your train tickets well in advance!
Colmar Christmas Market Dates 2021
This year, the Colmar Christmas Market will open from 26 November to 29 December 2021. If possible, try to visit in November, ideally during the week. There’s always a lot of people during the weekends! Here are the Colmar Christmas Market dates for 2021:
- From Monday to Thursday chalets and animations are open from 10 am to 7pm
- On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, chalets and animations are open from 10 am to 8 pm
- On 24 December, the market opens from 10 am to 5 pm
- On 25 December, the market opens from 2 pm to 7 pm
- On 26 December, the market opens from 10 am to 8 pm
Colmar Christmas Market – Stay Overnight if you Can
The Paris to Colmar day trip to see the Christmas market is feasible but tiring, especially if you get up early to take one of the first trains. If possible, stay one night on site so you can visit everything at a slower pace and enjoy the rest of the city as well.
Colmar is one of the best weekend getaways from Paris by train. The advantage of staying overnight is that you can enjoy the city when the day crowds are gone. Early in the morning or at dusk, you can almost have the Petite Venice to yourself. When it’s the blue hour, with soft street lighting and perfect reflections in the still waters of the canals, the fairytale is real.
Finding accommodation in Colmar will not be difficult as there’s a wide choice of places to stay for all travel styles. But in Colmar at Christmas time, booking in advance is essential. Hotel Saint-Martin and Hotel Le Colombier are our favorite options to stay in Colmar. Check out where to stay in Colmar, the best neighborhoods and hotels.
Colmar Christmas Market – What to Expect
There are six different Christmas markets in Colmar (Old Town). But don’t worry, the distances are short, and you can easily walk from one market to another.
The market locations are always the same: Place de la Cathédrale (Gastronomic market), Place des Dominicains, Place de l’Ancienne Douane, Place Jeanne d’Arc, Petite Venise – Place des Six Montagnes Noires (Kids Christmas Market), and inside the Koïfhus (regional arts and handcrafts).
WHAT WE LIKE:
- Colmar, already superb all the year-round, is sublimated by the lights and decorations of the Christmas market.
- Ideal size: lots of things to see and do but the Christmas market is not too big either.
- Lots of pretty objects to observe and buy and good, local specialties to taste.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE:
- It is too crowded on weekends!
After one year without Christmas markets because of the pandemic, the Colmar Christmas Market is back with fewer chalets (186 chalets in total) so people can circulate better. Wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose is compulsory in all the Colmar Christmas Market. The health pass (or the vaccination card from your country) will be requested only for the Gastronomic Market at Place de la Cathédrale.
Expect a total of 25 km of light garlands, 90 projectors, 26,000 Christmas balls, and more than a thousand firs, birches, and various shrubs that will create the warm atmosphere of the end-of-year celebrations. There’s something to see everywhere, but don’t miss the Christmas illuminations in these places:
- Musée Unterlinden, place Unterlinden et quai de la Sinn
- Archives Municipales
- Façades rue des Têtes and rue Kléber
- Maison des Têtes
- Théâtre Municipal
- Ancien corps de garde
- Champ de Mars and Place Rapp
- Médiathèque, place du 2 février
- Maison du Guetteur
- Petite Venise
- Musée d’Histoire Naturelle et d’Ethnographie
- Fontaine Rapp
- Train Station
- Churches Saint-Joseph and Saint-Vincent-de-Paul
Unlike Paris in the winter, the chances of snowfall during Christmas time are high, yay!
What to Do in the Colmar Christmas Market
Apart from strolling around the different markets and soaking up the city’s unique atmosphere, here are the things you don’t want to miss during your day trip to Colmar. For times and prices, ask for the complete program in the Tourist Office located at Place Unterlinden.
- The carrousel bar to have a drink in a quirky place
- Cooking shows by reputed chefs in the Gastronomic Christmas Market
- Christmas concerts (different locations, free entrance)
- Unterlinden Museum (a must of Colmar all the year-round)
- The Christmas market at Little Venice, with its funfair, and Santa’s mailbox
- Christmas Treasure Hunt. Get the booklet and treasure map for free at the Tourist Office
- Several theatre shows (different locations)
- Street performances at the ice-skating rink
So there you have it, the Colmar Christmas Market guide with everything you need to know to plan your trip from Paris to Colmar by train for a wonderful time in the Colmar Christmas Market.