When spending your vacation in the picturesque city of Colmar in the Alsace region of northern France, museum hopping may not sound ideal unless you are a history buff or art enthusiast. But Colmar and its surrounding towns do offer some pretty great museums you will not want to miss!
Finding the best museums in Colmar can be a little daunting when you do not know the area. There are several large museums you shouldn’t pass by but there are also small, private museums that should also be on your list of places to visit when in Colmar. We've compiled the perfect list of must-see Colmar museums. Why not get started?
Before you set out to spend a lazy afternoon checking out these wonderful places, find a nearby Colmar luggage storage locker and stow your extra gear or large bags which are generally not permitted in museums. You'll be pleasantly surprised and quite entertained as you meander through Colmar's treasures.
The Hansi Village and Museum
Address: 28 rue de Tetes, Colmar
Located in front of the Maison des Tetes, The Village of Handi and Museum is dedicated to the life and achievements of artist Jean-Jacques Waltz, called a Hansi. As you meander through this fascinating museum you will learn about the World of Hansi, located on the first floor.
His works are an important part of the Alsatian culture and when you sit and observe his earliest works you will feel such emotion and begin to understand Alsace as Waltz experienced it. The museum focuses on his artistic development beginning as a child and passing through the time of his exile.
Included are several of his publicity signs and hand-painted clothes and tableware. Interactive exhibits allow you to step into his shoes and experience some of the emotions he conveys in his artwork. Drop by the gift shop, named Uncle Hansi’s Boutique, for terrific gift ideas and souvenirs. It's the ideal spot for a quick Colmar shopping spree!
Choco-Story - Chocolate Museum
Address: 12 Place de la Cathedrale, Colmar
Head to Place de la Cathedrale in Colmar and find the Chocolate Museum. Be sure to sign up for the interactive and immersive walk where you will get to enjoy free samples, learn about the history of this decadent treat and how several of the most delicious chocolates are made.
All ages will fall in love with this museum and want to visit time and again. It is an educational museum where you will learn a lot and get to experience many fun, and yummy, exhibits. Be sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out and stock up on your favorite chocolates and other cute gift ideas and souvenirs.
Natural History and Ethnography Museum
Address: 11 rue Turenne, Colmar
Spend an afternoon in the historic building right in the middle of the Little Venice district (a lovely neighborhood in which to stay in Colmar) that houses the Colmar Museum of Natural History and Ethnography. The vast collections of exotic and regional animals are something you do not want to miss.
Be sure to check out the gallery dedicated to the geology of the planet including the precious minerals and fossils that have been discovered in the area. There are even several prehistoric animal fossils that have been located in and around the Alsace region creating an impressive exhibit.
There are even rare ethnographic artifacts and objects from the Marquesas Islands, Latin America, China, and Africa. Check out the ancient Egypt collection filled with mummies, jewels, ancient writings, and Coptic fabrics; it is the only ancient Egypt collection found in the Alsace region.
Musée du Jouet
Address: 40 rue Vauban, Colmar
Children and adults will have a blast at the Toy Museum. Located in the city centre, the Musée du Jouet is home to a huge collection of toys ranging from the 19th century to present day. The museum is delightfully set up in different themes so you can easily find entertaining toys from your childhood.
Stroll through exhibits filled with teddy bears and dolls, video games and robots, board games, Playmobil, and miniatures. The exhibit of Barbie dolls is very interesting, ranging from the very first Barbie that came out to present day Barbie and Ken dolls.
The entire second floor is dedicated to a fantastic train network complete with running trains chugging along the tracks. Sit down and watch a nostalgic puppet show or play one of the vintage video game consoles. It is a lively museum where you will feel like a kid again and your children will find so many awesome things to see and do.
Musée des Usines Municipales
Address: Rue du Rudenwadelweg, Colmar
The building where the Museum of Municipal Factories is housed is the Colmar basin’s former water pumping station and dates back to 1884. The museum has preserved the industrial heritage and the factories that moved the city into the Industrial Age. Learn about the history of the city including gas lighting, public transport, and electric power.
With the development of the city during the 19th and 20th centuries, the standard of living had to be improved which included clean drinking water, electricity, and better public transportation. You can sign up for a guided tour through the museum or you can wander through on your own.
Address: 30 rue des Marchands, Colmar
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi was a sculptor and painter born in Colmar in 1834. He is best known for designing Liberty Enlightening the World or as those in the United States call her, the Statue of Liberty. The house where Bartholdi was born has been converted into a museum dedicated to the famous sculptor.
The museum opened in 1922 and is set up much the same as it was when he was born with family furniture, clothing, personal items, and family photographs. The three floors of the museum include several drawings, models, engravings, and paintings that Bartholdi completed. Bartholdi died in 1904 in Paris but is buried in Colmar.
Address: Place Unterlinden, Colmar
The Unterlinden Museum was originally located in a 13th century convent that is now associated with the former municipal baths building, which opened in 1906. The two buildings were connected by a contemporary extension that was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. The Musée Unterlinden is a terrific place to visit when in Colmar.
There is a fabulous underground gallery that has three exhibition rooms underneath the canal and leads into the newer building named the Ackerhof. The Unterlinden Museum has a vast encyclopedic collection that should not be missed. Stroll through the museum orchard and cloister garden, then stop by the café for refreshments. The gift shop has some pretty cool souvenirs.
Musée du Vignoble et du Vin Alsaciens
Address: 1 Grand’Rue, Kientzheim, Colmar
The museum opened in 1980 and has three floors devoted to the wine growing and wine making process. Make your way through several of the exhibition halls located on the ground floor which have been set up to showcase a model wine cellar. See several wine presses, some dating back to 1640. You can even see a few original carts that were used during the grape harvest.
Keep exploring and view tools that have been used through the years to cultivate and harvest the grapes and make the wine. The second floor showcases wine making instruments including filters and pumps that were used in the late 19th century and early 20th century.
Special events such as workshops and wine tastings are hosted at the museum throughout the year. These special events are not included in the general admission price and usually require advance registration. Check their calendar of events for more details.
Address: 62 rue du Général de Gaulle, Kaysersberg Vignoble
While not in the city of Colmar, the Historical Museum is in the medieval town of Kayersberg and is filled with lovely gems. This museum is in the former home of Reinhard von Wilde, the owner of a silver mine from Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines. The home was built in 1521 and was fully restored in 1972 when the museum opened.
Enjoy looking at breathtaking religious works of art including several sculptures and paintings such as an opening Virgin dating back to 1380 and a Palm Sunday Christ that has been dated back to the 15th century. There are also several interesting archaeological finds from the Alsace region including weapons, pottery, and textiles that were used by the Romans.
Musée du Travail du Bois et du Patrimoine
Address: 395a La Place, Labaroche
The Museum of Woodworking and Heritage is located just outside Colmar in the small town of Labaroche. When you step inside you will be immediately immersed in the wonderful world of woodworking. With four floors to explore, you will spend a few hours learning about woodworking and wood crafts.
You will be introduced to several fantastic artists who chose wood as their medium and learn how they used their love of woodworking in a fantastic career. As you make your way through the museum, you will discover the various tools used through the years to create absolute masterpieces. Special workshops are available but pre-registration is required.
Schlitte-Museum and Wood Crafts
Address: 11 rue de la Gare, Muhlback sur Munster
While the Museum of Woodworking and Heritage focused on the fine arts side of woodworking, the Schlitte-Museum and Wood Crafts focuses on logging operations. The museum opened in 1973 in the Munster Valley just outside of Colmar.
Exhibits include several different tools used by craftsmen throughout the years such as clog maker, tun maker, joiner and turner. Timber sledging was started in the Munster Valley and the museum does pay homage to this practice. When logs and firewood needed to be moved from the forest, they were loaded onto a timber sledge which was guided by a logger and slid down the trail on beech ties.
The Linge Memorial Museum
Address: D 11 VI Collet du Linge, Orbey
Orbey is not far from Colmar and if you have the opportunity to visit, it is home to one of the most poignant museums in the region. The Linge was one of the bloodiest battles to occur during World War I. It started on July 20, 1915, and ended on October 15, 1915. It began when the Germans organized their troops and artillery in Orbey in an effort to stop the advance of the French army towards Colmar.
Flamethrowers and gas shells were used during the battle and over 17,000 soldiers lost their lives on this battlefield. A memorial has been placed on the battlefield and The Linge Memorial Museum is a somber place to visit filled with stories of those who lost their lives and those who survived.
Artifacts from the battle have been preserved and displayed. Wander through the museum and see personal belongings from those who perished on both sides as well as ammunition, weapons, and other wartime relics. Photos and models of the battlefield are also interesting to see.
Enjoy Colmar Museums
Museums filled with permanent and temporary exhibitions will grab your attention as you museum hop through Colmar and some of the nearby towns. Learn more about sculptor Auguste Bartholdi, check out ornate wine barrels, and learn about the history of the region through many of the Colmar Museums.
The time spent taking in the rich collections of decorative arts, folk art, and natural history will amaze you. Branch out and visit some of the museums listed that are not in Colmar but are just a short drive away.