Old Town, Colmar
Every evening, going to our usual restaurant at Koïfhus, we passed on this corner of the Rue des Marchands.
Each time I tried a photo in the dark without tripod; most are blurred, a few are acceptable. As apparently all photos here are on day time I will add a few at night with the Christmas illuminations.
The "Maison Pfister" is probably the most original house of Colmar and a symbol of the town. Interesting that a hat maker, Ludwig Scherer, could have such a wealthy house build in 1537! Must have been a profit full job in that time.
Le soir, sur le chemin de notre habituel restaurant au Koïfhus, nous passions devant cette maison qui est probablement la plus originale de Colmar.
Mes photos avec la maison illuminée sont souvent floues mais illustrent bien l'ambiance romantique de Colmar en période de Noël.
Qu'un chapelier Ludwig Scherer ait pu construire en 1537 un telle demeure m'interpelle!
Le nom Pfister provient d'un propriétaire au 19e siècle.
At the time of my first visit in Colmar this construction had intrigued me by its name “Koïfhus” of which I did not see the link with "douane" in French or "Zoll" in German.
I thought of “Kauf Haus” but I did not find confirmation of this linguistic origin.
The building which was used for the storage and control of the goods by the customs appeared small to me for such a use. Involuntarily I compare with a warehouse like that of the “Lakenhalle” in Ypres, Belgium, which by its size could contain a half dozen Koïfhus. (That the inhabitants of Colmar forgive my access of chauvinism).
If the building is small it is all the more pretty seen from all sides with its balustrades, staircases and coloured tile roofs. It was used as town hall, Chamber of commerce and nowadays in December it shelters shops of the Christmas Market, what makes it possible to visit the interior.
The small river, nicely lit in the evening, which runs at the back of Koïfhus, is an arm of the Lauch river which crosses Colmar (by the "Petite Venise"). It is said that in old times goods would arrive at the Koïfhus by small barges.
Lors de ma première visite à Colmar cette construction m'avait intriguée par son nom "Koïfhus" dont je ne voyais pas le lien avec Douane qui se dit "Zoll" en Allemand. J'ai pensé à "Kauf Haus" mais je n'ai pas trouvé confirmation de cette origine linguistique.
Merci à ceux qui voudront bien m'éclairer.
L'édifice qui servait au stockage et au contrôle des marchandises par la douane m'a paru petit pour un tel usage. Involontairement je compare avec un entrepôt comme celui de la "Lakenhalle" à Ypres, Belgique qui pourrait contenir une demi douzaine de Koïfhus. (Que les habitants de Colmar pardonnent mon accès de chauvinisme).
Si l'édifice est petit il en est d'autant plus joli sous toutes ces façades avec ses balustrades, escaliers, toits en tuiles de couleur. Il a été utilisé comme mairie, Chambre de Commerce et actuellement en décembre il abrite des échoppes pour le Marché de Noël ce qui permet de visiter l'intérieur.
La petite rivière, canalisée et joliment éclairée le soir, qui coule à l'arrière du Koïfhus est un bras de la rivière Lauch qui traverse Colmar (par la Petite Venise). Elle permettait dans les temps anciens l'arrivée de marchandises par barques.
Colmar is, since we discovered this town in the nineties, our favored Alsatian city. The one were we like to stay especially in December at the time of the Christmas markets.
Indeed our preference goes to Colmar a "family sized" town much safer than Strasbourg which holds the sad record in France to have been the first to see burning cars at New Year's Eve.
Furthermore we always preferred the Christmas markets of the Alsace to those of Germany.
There is the linguistic proximity; but more, we much like the architectural style of Colmar, the many typical houses and a small river, the good atmosphere, the Alsatian food and then the excellent white wines.
There is also the fact that each shop window in Colmar, especially at the time of the Christmas Markets, is an invitation to gourmandize. And I am a gourmet-gourmand.
All this explains that in Colmar I don't visit museums (my usual task here on VT) but walk in the streets and look at the houses and at the shops. So none of my usual long tips on museums here, but tips about food and wine under my Local Customs reviews.
Colmar has a very well preserved old town centre, concentrated along the Grand Rue, and up along Rue des Marchand and around the Cathedral. Here you will find most of Colmar's oldest and most magnificent architecture, like the Koifhus, the Pfister House and the wonderful houses at the junction of Rue des Marchand meets the Grand Rue.
A beautiful historic old building built in 1609 and today in excellent condition. Located in Rue des Tetes which is a street full of many fine buildings. Well worth the walk to enjoy the view and why not have a coffee or lunch whilst there.
The Tourism Notice gives you the history of this building - second photo.
We enjoyed walking around the covered market as it was a change from the Old Town buildings. Most of all we enjoyed looking at the flower stalls and the food stalls. The European meats present and taste much better than most at home, although in recent years there are more genuine Eupopean food stores at home.
The Old Town of Colmar is walking friendly, most areas are flat, little traffic on the roads and well signposted for tourist sights.
As long as you have your Colmar Tourist map, we picked ours up at the rail station on arrival, you will find your way through the Old Town easily. If lost just look for one of the many tourist Direction signs and you will soon be back on track.
We came upon the market and immediately decided to have a look inside this huge Market Building.
Everything inside looked new, there were a number of cafes and food vendors, fruit and vegetable market, all sorts of clothing etc etc.
We enjoyed walking around but did not buy anything to take home as our suitcases were already overweight for our return flight to Australia.
A covered market, a handy place to visit should it be raining.
We thought about resting here for a coffee and pastry as this street was such a beautiful part of the town. The time was 12:30 and I decided we should push on for a little longer and then have lunch. My Tourist Trail Map showed we had barely touched the sights of Colmar Old Town.
As we walked through the Old Town I saw what looked like a water pressure cleaner, I have one at home . But then I saw what looked like a vacuum cleaner head on the window. Never seen that before, am still looking for one since we arrived home.
Anything to make window cleaning easier!
We followed this tourist map for our self guided walking tour of Colmar. No troubles following the map, but remember there is so much to see and do, do not get caught up on souvineer shopping as it will result in you missing some of the attractions.
Colmar has streets of continuous old wooden buildings, all beautifully kept. I doubt if I have seen anything to compare with the continunity of the old town. Red numbers indicate Tourist Trail:
1 Unterlinden Museum
2 The House of Heads
3 Town Library
4 Dominican Church
5 Voltaire's Residence
6 Bartholdi Museum
7 Pfister House
8 Adolph House
9 The Former Guard House
10 Saint Martin Collegiate Church
11 Town Hall
12 Seat of The Ploughmans Guild
14 Former Hospital
15 St Matthew's Church
16 Former Protestant presbitery
17 Tanner's district
18 Schwendi Fountain
19 Former Customs House - 'Koifhus House
20 Law Court
21 Monument dedicated to Pfeffel
22 Covered Market
23 The Fishmonger's district
24 Natural History Museum
25 Little Venice
26 Former St John "Commanderie"
27 House of St John's Knights
28 Roesselmann Fountain
29 Bartoldi College
30 St Peter'sChapel
31 Monument dedicated to Hirn
32 Water Tower
33 St Martins Circle
34 Monument dedicated to Bartholdi
35 Court of Appeal
37 Buart Fountain
38 Monument of General Rapp
39 The "Catherinettes"
41 Museum of Toys & Little Trains
42 "Espace Malraux"
Every colour of home had a signification, every corporation of trades had its colour, it was easier to identify them on the street. The blue also represents the Catholic families, and red Protestant families.
In the square you can pick up an easy 4-mile English tour through the Old Town. We understand that the train does not stop, so you will have to return to take photos unless you have a fast camera.
We needed a tour that could work for a group of people of all ages and mobility. This is our solution, I believe. At least, it is a good way to get your bearings and an overview of the Old Town in the pedestrian-only zone.
DATES AND TIMETABLES INDIVIDUAL PRICES:
Trains run from Easter to All Saints', every day at the following times :
9:00 - 9:30 - 10:00 - 10:30 - 11:00 - 11:30 - 12:00
13:30 - 14:00 - 14:30 - 15:00 - 15:30 - 16:00 - 16:30 - 17:00 - 17:30 - 18:00
5.50 each 3.00 each
(2 to 12 years old)
Group prices (minimum 15 people) :
1 driver and 1 guide free of charge for 60 people
15 to 60 people : 4.50 each
61 to 120 people : 4.00 each
up to 121 people : 3.50 each
School prices :
under 12 years : 3.00 EUR each
12 to 18 years : 4.00 EUR each
Owner : Anne LUDMANN - DANICHER
Head office :
9b rue Adolphe Hirn - Logelbach
Tel (33) 3 89 24 19 82
Fax (33) 3 89 41 50 34
Annual holidays :
23rd December 2006 - 31rd January 2007.
The Koifhus complex was in use in 1480 for administration on the first floor and at ground level as a warehouse. The main entrance is up two levels of stairs on the west side. The building is of sandstone and has a sharply pitched tiled roof. The side opposite the entry has a ground level three arcaded ground floor and with a loggia above it. These look out on the Place de l'Ancienne Douane. In the middle of the Square is a fountain topped by a statue of Baron Lazare of Schwendi (1522-83). lord of Holandsberg. The work was created by Bartholdi in 1897.
The Old Guard House wasbuilt in 1575 on the site of a previous St. James chapel. It has a semicircular main entrance which has a finely decorated loggia on its first floor level with sculptured ornamentation. Immediately to the left on the Place de la Cathedral is the Adolph House, the oldest house in Colmar from the 14C with some Gothic windows. In 1584 some changes were made at the right edge with ornamentation.