🎄 A Detailed 2023 Guide to the Colmar Christmas Market

Colorful, half-timbered houses display their Christmas decorations along a small river.

The Colmar Christmas market is an absolutely adorable Christmas wonderland set in a village that is straight out of a fairytale.

Said to be the village that “Beauty and the Beast” is based on, the town exudes idyllic Provencal life. I legitimately squealed on several occasions while exploring the streets of Colmar (and I’m no stranger to charming French villages – I’ve visited many, many towns in France in my lifetime).

Add in colorful, half-timbered buildings strung with garlands, lights, and decorations, the quaint stands in the markets, the Christmas music playing on speakers, and the Christmas trees dotting the many squares, and you can see why Colmar is a winter wonderland come to life.

But first off – the basics! Colmar is on the very eastern edge of France – right on the border of France and Germany – and is in the region of France known as Alsace. This region has actually changed hands between France and Germany several times, so it’s no surprise to see a lot of German/Bavarian influence in the town. 

One thing you’ll notice is that gingerbread men are everywhere in Colmar – it is a particularly popular treat in this area of France! In French, gingerbread is “pain d’épice.

A woman in red holds a gingerbread man up to a Christmas tree decorated with silver hearts, spheres and cloth gingerbread ornaments.

Colmar is just an hour south of the Strasbourg Christmas Market (one of the best markets in all of Europe), and is very easy to reach. It should definitely be on your Christmas market bucket list!

Planning Your Visit to the Colmar Christmas Market

To help you plan your trip quickly, here’s a snapshot of where to stay and how to get around:

Top Hotel Options in Colmar:

These are the best hotels in Colmar – top-rated and centrally located spots in the city. I would highly recommend you book your hotel early, as hotels definitely fill up.

  • The Colmar Hotel ($): Basic but very clean and offers free parking and free breakfast – a great value
  • Hotel Le Marechal ($$): Located in the cutest part of the city, this gorgeous historic hotel makes you feel like you stepped back in time
  • L’Esquisse Hotel and Spa ($$$): A luxurious hotel with an adjoining spa, and high comfort level and attention to detail throughout the property

How to Get Around Europe:

Drinks at the Colmar Christmas Market

All over the city, you can find drink stands where you can buy vin chaud (hot, mulled wine), non-alcoholic hot cider, or hot chocolate. When you buy your drink, you also pay a small deposit for the cup it is served in.

In Colmar, the deposit was one euro for the plastic cups, and anywhere from 3-5 euro for the ceramic mugs.  

A woman in light winter gear holds warm cider in a decorative cup near a blue Christmas booth at the Colmar Christmas Market.

Note: In other Christmas markets in Europe, the markets exclusively used ceramic mugs, no plastic cups. In France, the plastic cups were much, much more common, but there were one or two stands in the city that had mugs available as well.

When you are done with your drink, bring the cup/mug back to the stall where you bought it and you get your deposit back.

Alternatively, you can keep the cup/mug as a souvenir. The mugs and cups are really cute and each city has different designs on their mugs. 

Since we had been collecting mugs from the different markets in Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, we really wanted to continue the collection in France, so I will be making note of where we found mugs in Colmar. (We also kept a plastic cup from Colmar, but you’ll have no trouble finding that.)

Colmar Christmas Market Dates for 2023

The Colmar Christmas Market opens Thursday, November 23, 2023, and closes Friday, December 29, 2023.

Opening Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 10am-7pm
  • Friday to Sunday: 10am-8pm
  • 24 December: 10am-5pm
  • 25 December: 11am-8pm
  • 26 December: 11am-7pm

The Gourmet Market is open from 11am-10pm every

The 6 Markets in the Colmar Christmas Market

There are 6 distinct markets in Colmar, each with its own vibe and theme. In this section, I’ll give a detailed description of what you can expect to see and enjoy at each of the 6 Christmas markets in Colmar.

Market 1: Place des Dominicains  

I loved this market at Place des Dominicans – it was one of the bigger markets in Colmar, and it was set up in the cutest square!

A woman in a light brown coat, looks up at a decorated Christmas tree in the midst of the Colmar Christmas Market.

In addition to being surrounded by cute, timbered houses, the stands themselves were timbered too, which was a wonderful touch. Each stand had a religious painting at the top of it. This market was one of two in the shadow of a church and it embraced that with its decorations and theming.

There was a good balance of wares and food at this market, with a large variety of ornaments and candles, notched rolling pins and spatulas, Christmas ceramics, and even a Santa Claus-themed stall. 

A booth filled with Nativity figurines and large ornaments in Colmar, France.
Decorative rolling pins and other baking utensils are displayed for sale in a Christmas market booth at Colmar.
A Christmas market booth displays Santa figurines and stockings.

This market had the only stall in the six markets that we noticed selling ceramic mugs instead of plastic cups for drinks, so we had to grab one! How adorable is this red gingerbread mug? 

A hand holds a red, boot-shaped mug with the words, "Marche de Noel Colmar" and images of a gingerbread man and woman. A night-time Christmas market is in the background.

There was also a little, mini kid’s ferris wheel here in Market 1.

A small, colorful Ferris wheel is part of a Colmar Christmas Market.

Market 2: “Terroir” and Tradition

People wander through charming booths in a French Christmas market.

This market in Place Jeanne d’Arc was the smallest of the traditional markets in Colmar. The stalls were trimmed with garland, and some of them had extra decorations – like these polar bears! The theme was officially “terroir and tradition” or, the culture of the region.

A booth decorated with polar bears and lights sells delicious treats.

This market had some tasty food offerings, such as skewers of chocolate covered fruit, sausages, or a cheese stall. There was also a stall selling mousse balls (“boules mousse”) – chocolate covered mousse, which were delicious!

Chocolate covered mousse treats are displayed in a Colmar market booth.
A skewer filled with chocolate covered berries is held in the midst of a colorful Christmas market.

Some notable wares at this market included artwork, Christmas ceramics, and wine for purchase. 

Be sure to check out this building just outside the market – the shutters are covered in Christmas decorations, and there’s this adorable little Christmas scene above the first level!

A beautiful building decorated in classy Christmas decorations in Colmar, France.

Market 3: Place de l’Ancienne Douane

Market three was a FUN market! There were a lot of things happening here! First off, the theme of this market is undoubtedly toys and games. Each of the stands had a picture from the local toy museum at the top of it. 

To keep the theme going, there was also a kiddie train ride with Disney characters along the track. 

A children's ride featuring Disney characters is a major feature in one of the Christmas markets in Colmar.

This market was long and skinny, winding down the street, along a canal and around a fountain, which were both insanely picturesque. The canal had decorations across the top of it, and the fountain was trimmed out in garland. 

Christmas decorations line a canal.

Fun fact: The fountain Belle sits at to read at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast closely resembles this fountain, the Schwendi Fountain!

A woman stands near a decorated fountain in Colmar, France. This fountain, the Schwendi Fountain, was the model for Belle's town fountain in Beauty and the Beast.
I want much more than this provincial liiiiiiiiiiiife!

Interesting goods at this market include homemade jams, cookie cutters and cookie presses, wines, specialty coloring pencils, handmade leather writing books, crayon-shaped chocolates, and even Russian nesting dolls.

Additionally, you can find traditional gingerbread, Alsacian cookies, and other Christmas ornaments and decorations. 

Baked goods, including a basket of gingerbread men, are displayed.
Intricately decorated leather covers are displayed at a booth in Colmar.

And of course, I can’t forget to mention that the most Instagrammable spot in Colmar is found at market 3, by this Christmas tree and pink house. It’s an adorable spot!

A woman reaches toward a Christmas tree with a pink decorated house behind.
This spot is all over Instagram – for good reason!

Market 4: Indoor Market Koifhus

This was the most unique of the markets in Colmar. It was an indoor market and the vendors were set up at simple tables, no cute wooden stalls decked out with garland and other decorations. The wares for sale were the main attraction, with everything displayed being either a handmade artisanal good or an antique. 

You could tell that these goods were incredibly high quality and made with a lot of care. Some things we saw included jewelry, art, chocolate sculptures, tablecloths, pinecone wreaths, books, cutting boards, and ceramic plates and serving bowls. 

Pinecone wreaths and baskets fill a table in a artisanal market.
Handmade frames and paintings are displayed on a table.
A intricately decorated Hansel and Gretel themed gingerbread house.

Note that there is a lower level and an upper level, with two different entry points for each level. The small square around the entrance to these markets is really cute, with a distinctive house decorated with polar bears and the area was magical at night.

Half-timbered buildings surround a small square in Colmar, France.

Market 5: Petite Venise

Market 5 is in the Petite Venice area of Colmar, which is an absolutely ridiculously adorable part of town. FOR SURE plan to spend some time just wandering this area of town, especially along the Quai de la Poissonerie. 

A man and woman walk while holding hands down a colorful street in Colmar, France.
A bridge crosses a canal in Colmar with colorful, half-timbered homes in the background.

The market here had a somewhat different feel! There were still stalls selling goods and food, but there were several rides, including this horse riding ride that was, dare I say, just as fun for adults as for kids 😉

A man rides a white horse on a popular ride at a Colmar Christmas market.
3 euro well spent! 
People browse colorful Christmas stalls in Colmar, France. Numerous Christmas decorations are displayed for sale.

In the back corner of the market you’ll find a nativity (or crèche) with actual live animals! Now, the animals weren’t all together, but there were rabbits and sheep in different pens around the nativity area. It was a cute concept!

A creche, or Nativity scene.
Live sheep are part of the ambience one Colmar Christmas Market.
Hello, little sheep!

Between the rides, the animals, and being right next to the adorable canal, Market 5 is one not to miss!

Market 6: Gourmet Market

Finally, we have Market 6: the gourmet market. This market is one big tent, with individual food stalls around the perimeter and lots of tables for eating in the middle. 

White tent stalls and numerous Christmas trees highlight the Gourmet Christmas Market in Colmar.

Types of foods available at the Gourmand Market include: butternut chestnut soup, spaetzle, foie gras, fried potato cakes, savory crepes, pork stew, smoked pork plate, pretzels, escargots, oysters, burgers, and truffle risotto.

As you can see, there is a wide variety of different types of foods – definitely something for everyone!

High quality desserts are advertised at a food stall.

There are also cooking shows on many days – you can consult the official schedule for details.

This tent was set up in the shadow of the beautiful St. Martin’s church, with a Christmas tree decorated in gingerbread men and a reindeer ride nearby. 

Bonus – Place Rapp 

While not a market itself, this spot by the Champ de Mars park is a must-stop destination while visiting Colmar during the holidays. 

Here, you can go ice skating (8 euro gets you admission plus ice skate rentals), ride a mini roller coaster, or get a drink at the Carousel bar. 

A woman smiles as she ice skates in Colmar, France.

The vibe in this area was super festive and jolly and happy! 

The Carousel bar was a fun, unique spot, and it did spin (albeit very slowly!). I mentioned that we found the only mugs in Colmar in Market 1, but the Carousel bar had their own mug (with a carousel on it, of course), so we had to get one of those as well. 

A woman drinks hot chocolate at a Christmas Market, sitting on a bench.
A rotating bar on a carousel is a fun feature of the Colmar Christmas experience.

Plus, the drinks we got here (cranberry cider and nutella hot chocolate) were seriously top contenders for best drinks of the entire trip. 

A commemorative Christmas cup and mug from Colmar sit on a counter, filled with spiced cider and Nutella hot chocolate.

Map of the Markets

What to Eat

There are a lot of different options of foods to eat while perusing the markets!

  • Tarte Flambée: Reminiscent of pizza or flatbread, this “tart” has a very thin, crispy crust, and is topped with cream, onions, bacon, and cheese. Delicious!
  • Baguette Flambée: This is a baguette topped with cream and cheese, and then toasted. There are a lot of varieties of baguette flambée you can choose from in the case, and then it is toasted fresh for you. Don’t miss it!
  • Croque Monsieur: A ham and gruyere sandwich, covered in béchamel sauce and then toasted.
  • Chocolate covered fruit 
  • Kougelhopf: A traditional German/French cake made in a bundt pan, and sometimes with different flavors. Mini ones are 4 euro, whereas big ones can be 9-10 euro and are BIG.
  • Manalas: These are essentially brioche buns shaped into a little man. They are traditionally eaten in the Alsace region to celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6, but you can buy them from the markets all season long.
  • Crepes
  • Pretzels
  • Waffles
  • Churros
  • Sausages and hot dogs
Kougelhopf, a traditional Christmas treat.
Kougelhopf on the left
Manalas, a traditional Christmas treat.
Croque monsiers ready to be toasted and served.
Croque monsiers ready to be toasted
Pretzels, waffles, baguette flambee, croque monsieur, and crepe ready to serve.
Pretzels, waffles, baguette flambée, croque monsieur, and crepes
Chocolate covered fruit.
Chocolate covered fruit
Tarte flambee and a sausage and ham plate.
Tarte flambée in the background and a sausage and ham plate in the foreground
A decorated food stall in Colmar.
And of course, lots and lots of meal options at the Gourmet Market (see description of Market 6 for a long list of types of foods available!)

Goods for Sale at the Markets

This is a sampling of the many offerings for sale at the markets around Colmar:

A large variety of ornaments for sale.
A large variety of ornaments
Christmas ceramics for sale at the Christmas market.
Christmas ceramics
Nativity figurines.
Gingerbread treats for sale.
Gingerbread men and cakes
Mousse balls displayed for purchase.
Mousse balls (boules mousse)
Wine bottles on display.
Bottles of wine
Cheese for sale in Colmar.
Cheese to go
Homemade jams for sale.
Homemade jams
Numerous unique cookie cutters for sale in a Colmar Christmas market.
Cookie cutters and presses
Leather sketch books.
Leather sketch books
Regional Alsatian cookies.
Regional Alsatian cookies
Regional Alsatian cookies featuring coconut.
More regional cookies
Many Christmas decorations for sale.
A large variety of Christmas decorations
Sculptures and other artworks for sale in Colmar.
Artwork, sculptures, and other handmade goods (see description in market 4!)

How Long Do You Need?

Because Colmar really is just a village, one day is plenty of time to see the sites in town. The city center isn’t all that big and it’s totally walkable. There’s really no need for any kind of transportation other than your two feet to get around Colmar. 

Other Things to Know About the Markets

  • There are no entrance fees to visit the Christmas markets.
  • I would plan to visit the markets during the day, and then wander back through the city at night. It’s a whole different vibe with all the lights on at night!
  • People in Colmar speak French, of course, but many also speak German. In addition, you will find that most people interacting with tourists speak at least some English.
  • Plan ahead and bring cash with you! You may be able to find a stand or two that accept cards, but most are cash only. However, there are ATMs around the city, so it’s not hard to find a spot to pull out some euros if you need more.
  • Weekends are very busy, so if you can, visit on a weekday

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Securing some travel insurance is an important part of prepping for any international trip – you never know when something might happen, and your regular insurance generally won’t cover you overseas. Costs for a medical emergency on vacation can add up extremely fast, so it’s just better to be safe than sorry. 

I like booking insurance at Insure My Trip, as they offer a variety of plans with different coverages to choose from, so you can find the right option for you. Plus, they have great customer support if you need help before, during, or after your trip.

👉Check rates at Insure My Trip here

The Wrap Up

We absolutely ADORED Colmar and the day we spent frolicking through the city and her markets. I cannot recommend Colmar enough!

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