I was supposed to finish and share this entry yesterday but since the snow fell … well, you know I can never resist sharing about that each time it happens! 🙂
Anyway, as you can see from the pictures of the streets and buildings in Colmar in the earlier entry, it is a very beautiful and interesting place to visit. Well … it is an interesting place to visit at other times of the year, but … Colmar is even prettier to visit during the festive season, when the place is beautifully decorated to welcome Christmas and the new year.
And, of course, the added attractions during this festive time of the year are its hugely popular Christmas markets which are spread over 5 different places within the old town … from 24 November until 31 December. It is an experience not to be missed if you happen to be visiting anywhere near Colmar during this period, believe me!
Thankfully Colmar is not too far from Lausanne … only 3.5 hours away by train … so we could easily visit it as a weekend trip (or even as a day trip, too). And also, thanks to the mum for suggesting the idea of visiting its Christmas market a few weeks before Christmas … the hubby and I therefore made our very first trip there, a week before Christmas!
Interestingly, we did not buy a single thing from its Christmas markets … except for some postcards of the old town from a shop … as we were more interested in covering as much ground as possible checking out the place and simply enjoying the festive atmosphere during our short time at Colmar! However, I am pretty sure that … if I had gone there alone or if we had had more time in this town … there would have definitely been an extra bag (of stuff bought from their Christmas markets) to bring back home! hehehe … 🙂
It was certainly a lovely experience just to meander through the pretty but crowded streets of the old town of Colmar … and simply soaking up the festive mood. Thankfully, since we were spending the night in Mulhouse which is less than half hour away by train … we were able to stay until late to enjoy their beautiful Christmas light up, too. Nice!
Okay, having shown you Colmar’s buildings in the previous entry … here are some of this town’s Christmas decorations and Christmas markets for you to ogle! hehehe … 🙂
I found it soooo pleasurable to walk through the busy streets of the old town of Colmar … trying to take in their festive decorations.
You should have seen me … craning my neck, turning here and there trying to look in greater detail all the beautiful decorations that I saw in that old town! I truly adored them … 🙂
Some of the Christmas decorations were quite simple … such as the ones above and the ones below.
But nevertheless still quite pretty and interesting lah … and certainly added to the festive atmosphere in the old town!
Others were a bit more elaborate …
… or should I say, really elaborate! 🙂
And some even a bit fanciful … but which I quite liked though ... 🙂
I have to say that the residents and shop owners here certainly are very creative and resourceful in the way they decorate their buildings and shops … even apples and large branches made for beautiful display!
And then there were these beautiful Christmas exhibits outside the shops. Are they not splendid?
While many of these decorations looked very beautiful in the daylight … there were others that only come ‘alive’ when it gets dark!
Pretty lights, no?
Okay, enough about the Christmas decorations for now and let us check out Colmar’s Christmas markets and especially how it looked at night illuminated with lights!
The children’s market near La Petite Venise … one of the 5 Christmas markets in Colmar.
The main attraction here is this merry-go-round (called Santa-Claus’s sledge in French) which seemed quite popular among the children. According to the programme leaflet, there was a giant letterbox in the area for the children to send letters to Father Christmas … but unfortunately we did not see it, especially since it started to rain when we reached this area. So we were more concerned about finding some shelter … and then making our way to the highly picturesque area of La Petite Venise to take some photos of this must-see place.
It was really crowded near La Petite Venise at the bridge rue Turenne despite the rain!
Interestingly, while we were at the other side of river Lauch of La Petite Venise near boulevard Saint-Pierre … we saw this gondolier ferrying Christmas exhibits on the river! So cute! 🙂
We also made a quick visit to Colmar indoor market hall (Marché Couvert de Colmar) to check it out. As was shared earlier, this building had only just recently been re-converted to its original purpose (that as a market) after many years as a carpark!
The hustle and bustle of Colmar’s market hall one week before Christmas …
… with many stalls lavishly displaying their produce. However, we did not stay very long inside but soon made our way out to check out the other Christmas markets and the must-see places in the old town.
The beginning of the Christmas market located at place de l’Ancienne Douane/rue des Tanneurs, an area without any doubt a focal point of the old town of Colmar because of the central position of place de l’Ancienne Douane. It was starting to get a bit dark when we reached here … since as you might know, it gets dark very early in December in Europe.
With one stall after the other selling their wares … visitors were certainly spoilt for choice!!!
The big crowds at place de l’Ancienne Douane in front of the other side of the Covered Market of the Koïfhus.
The Christmas huts extended even along the narrow part of place de l’Ancienne Douane that runs along the river Lauch.
Same area, taken from the same vantage point … but looking to the other side, i.e. towards rue des Tanneurs.
The end part of place de l’Ancienne Douane where it joins Grand Rue, one of the main streets in the old days, decked with beautiful Christmas decorations.
Looking back towards place de l’Ancienne Douane and Grand Rue with a beautifully decorated house in between.
At the junction between Grand Rue and rue de l’Eglise — this road is normally open to traffic, so it was nice being able to have the road to ourselves, as it were. 🙂
Arriving at the Christmas market at place Jeanne d’Arc. The huts at this market were meant to look like small Colmar houses, complete with the half-timbered façades so characteristic of the region of Alsace. After a quick look-see of this market …
… we continued with our walk through the beautifully lit streets of the old town of Colmar and found ourselves at Christmas market number 4.
The Christmas market at place des Dominicains, in front of the Church of the Dominicans (started in 1283) … was certainly full of life!
Some of the many chalets (or huts in English) at place des Dominicains, together with one with two female sale assistants dressed in the traditional costume women wore in Alsace until the 20th century.
The huge crowds at the Christmas market at place des Dominicain … not much room left to move!
Place des Martyrs de la Résistance with the tower of the Collegiate Church of Saint-Martin in the background and the river Sinn below.
At this time of the day, rue des Marchands was not as crowded as when we first went through it mid-afternoon … as many prefer to flock to the Christmas markets!
We then walked to the end of rue des Marchands, where it joins Grand Rue, and found ourselves in front of the Covered Market of the Koïfhus, another one of the 5 Christmas markets at Colmar. But as we were a little short of time … (we still had to return to Mulhouse) … we decided not to explore this covered market.
Corner of rue des Marchands and Grand Rue, turning our backs on the Covered Market of the Koïfhus. We then decided to check out some of the other places that we had visited during the afternoon before returning to Mulhouse.
Back at the Children’s Christmas market at Place des Six Montagnes Noires. Unfortunately, we did not take any photos of the various huts selling their wares here … only of this nicely illuminated merry-go-round at night.
Then back to bridge rue Turenne at La Petite Venise … with the beautiful glow of the Christmas lights illuminating the area and the river Lauch.
As well as to the famous quai de la Poissonnerie at night … almost seeming a little eerie, no?
Hmmm … although we were only in Colmar for a few hours, we certainly had a lovely time … exploring the old town and soaking up the festive atmosphere … as well as admiring its beautiful Christmas decorations and lights!