Alsace 101: Colmar: The Alsace Wine Capital
January 22, 2018
Though there’s much to admire in all of Alsace, Colmar is one of the region’s best-loved cities for its beauty and bounty. At the heart of the famous wine route, the small city (population 68,000+/-) is the center of a constellation of Michelin-starred restaurants. Luckily, this “Capital of Wine” is up to the task of providing food-friendly wines that complement any dish the city’s talented chefs can serve. Numerous wine taverns offer colorful and comfortable venues for exploring the diversity of Alsace producers.
Unlike many villages, Colmar’s medieval core escaped destruction through numerous conflicts over the centuries, and is a magnificently preserved time capsule. Visitors can roam narrow streets, admire the distinctive red- and green-tiled roofs and wander through “Petit Venise,” the quarter where fishmongers, butchers and other purveyors once set up shop.
Just as the wines of Alsace carry a sense of place, so does the city of Colmar with its distinctive architecture. The cityscape is informed by eight centuries of Germanic and French influences—a veritable showcase of local customs and building materials such as pink and yellow sandstone from the Vosges mountains and timber framing. Some buildings such as the Masion Pfister are a fantastic amalgamation of styles.
The city’s museums, too, reflect a tradition of arts and crafts, from the Musée du Jouet (Toy Museum) and the Musée Bartholdi (designer of the Statue of Liberty) to the impressive Unterlinden Museum, covering a multitude of eras and genres.
Throughout the year, the city is illuminated at nightfall every Friday and Saturday night: 100,000 lights scattered throughout the city and activated for a lightshow unlike any other in France (indeed, Colmar was the first city in France to create such a spectacle). We suggest finding a comfortable spot, a delicious bottle of wine, and enjoy the show.