Everything You Need to Know About Shopping in Colmar
Colmar is a city located in the lovely region of Alsace, located along the Rhine River in the northeastern part of France. In 1871, Germany conquered the entire Alsace region until after World War II, with Colmar being the last town in the region to be liberated and given back to the French. Because of its history, there is a noticeable German influence in Colmar’s culture, architecture, food and drink.
In recent years, the Alsace region has gradually become a popular holiday destination, attracting thousands of tourists all year long, and Colmar is no exception. Seemingly straight out of a postcard, the Renaissance-style town is adorned with cobblestoned lanes, medieval architecture, vibrant streets and other lovely features.
For the shopaholics, Colmar also has plenty to offer when it comes to retail choices. Different from the usual fashion items that other cities in France are known for, Colmar's shopping scene mainly involves unique products and specialty items that are native to the city, including local delicacies, wines and incredible Alsatian pottery.
Travel Tips: When you head out for the day, have a list if you have specific items you are shopping for. Also, don't be weighed down by your shopping purchases. Find a Colmar luggage locker and stow your fantastic finds while you browse the terrific stores for more!
When it comes to Colmar shopping, Marché Couvert is perhaps the best known shopping spot in all of the city. Also commonly known as the Covered Market, this retail center is housed inside a red and orange building located in the historic city center and has become a must-see attraction when in Colmar.
At the Covered Market, there are over 20 vendors and merchants that sell a wide variety of products, particularly food and produce. Shoppers can find an assortment of goods, such as olive oil, different types of cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables and some high-quality Alsatian wines.
Additionally, there are several café options within the market where you can sample some dishes offered for the day. The market’s lovely location by the canal also makes for the perfect place to go on a leisurely stroll while enjoying the lovely scenery.
Rue des Marchands
Found in the heart of the city is the Rue des Marchands, also known as Merchant’s Street, which is one of the oldest and most popular thoroughfares in Colmar. As its name suggests, this 270-meter long street (which starts from Grand Rue up to La place de l'École) is lined with an array of stores and merchants, making it among the best retail destinations in Colmar.
At Rue des Marchands, you can shop for products such as local food, souvenirs, jewelry and more. The street is also home to some of Colmar’s most recognizable landmarks, including the Pfister House and the Bartholdi Museum.
La Fromagerie Saint-Nicolas
Cheese is a major part of France’s culinary scene and is one of the top local delicacies that the French and foreign visitors shop for. In Colmar, there is an abundance of stores selling different types of cheese, including the famous La Fromagerie Saint-Nicolas. Situated inside a semi-timbered 17th century building, this family-owned shop is often regarded as one of Colmar’s best cheese markets.
The shop boasts its own cellars where they produce various kinds of cheeses, such as Camembert, Munster and Tomme. You can even bring your own bread or baguette and the store’s staff will gladly make a sandwich for you. It’s a definite must-visit for dairy lovers who want to take home some of the finest cheese the city has to offer.
If you’re looking for some amazing Alsacienne products to take home as a souvenir, then you need to pay a visit to Avenue d’Alsace. Housed in a lovely building in the heart of Colmar, the shop is one of the best places to buy locally-made items such as textiles, linens, home décor, baby clothes and more.
The Avenue d’Alsace brand, which is the brainchild of textile engineer Caroline Lux, takes traditional Alsatian motifs and symbols and gives them a modern twist. Lux creates the designs and patterns in her workshop (situated next door to the shop) and have the actual products printed in other cities in France. Other items that you can buy in the store include ceramics, jewelry, and other accessories.
Domaine Martin Jund
Alsace has long been famous for its wines, with millions of tourists visiting to sample some of the finest wines the region has to offer. Having said that, the city of Colmar is a treasure trove of shops that sell their own wine products and even offer private tastings for groups. One of the most renowned wineries in Colmar is Domaine Martin Jund, owned and operated by the Jund family.
In operation since 1997, this organic winery is situated in the heart of Colmar’s Old Town (see our guide about staying in Old Town) and is known for its vast selection of wines sourced from its own vineyard. At Domaine Martin Jund, free samples are offered, where you can taste their bestsellers, such as Rieslings, home-grown Pinots, Sylvaners and Alsatian sparkling wines.
Au Brin de Paille
Perhaps one of the most iconic shops in Colmar, Au Brin de Paille is a delicatessen and cellar that has been in operation since the 1900s. A one-stop shop for all things local, Au Brin de Paille sells Alsatian and artisanal products as well as gourmet items.
One of the top selling products from the shop is their artisanal beers; they offer nearly 150 different beers sourced from some of Colmar’s top microbreweries. Additionally, they offer several other spirits, including Alsatian wines, gin, rum, cognac and whisky.
Au Brin de Paille also stocks other gourmet products and food items such as cheese, organic jams, honey, truffles and mustard. For special occasions, the shop offers gift baskets and gourmet holiday baskets that make for the perfect present.
Choco en Têtes
If you want to satisfy your sweet tooth during your stay in Colmar, you’re in luck because the city is home to numerous dessert and chocolate shops, one of which is Choco en Têtes. Founded in 1995, this beloved chocolate shop is nestled between the Maison de Têtes and the Unterlinden Museum and offers a wide array of sweet treats.
At Choco en Têtes, you can find products such as Alsatian chestnuts, pralines, gianduja, seasonally-inspired truffles, nougat, ganache and more. During holidays and other occasions, the shop also offers novelty items such as Easter chocolates, conker-shaped treats and mini cupcakes.
Au Vieux Pignon
When it comes to Colmar shopping, you simply have to include Au Vieux Pignon in the conversation. Arguably the most eclectic shop in the city, this gift shop is an attraction in itself and a must-visit for any shopper or tourist. Found in one of the oldest buildings in the city, which dates back to 1588, Au Vieux Pignon is easily recognizable because of its oddly-decorated façade which changes every year. Their unique décor has led to several awards over the years and brought the shop international recognition.
Au Vieux Pignon’s products are divided into two categories, the first of which is a gift shop that stocks a broad range of souvenirs and novelty items. Some of the products they sell include stuffed toys, scarves, magnets, hats, scarves, socks and rag dolls. The second category showcases 100% artisanal and handmade products, which feature items such as cuckoo clocks, handmade soap bars and collectible ceramic houses.
Couer Paysan is a shop that is committed to highlighting the different local products and producers in the city of Colmar. The shop has partnered with over 40 different suppliers that offer a broad range of products, including fresh produce, poultry, jams, spices, milk and dairy products, honey, spirits, meat and much more. Their goal is to highlight the topnotch quality of Alsatian products, boost the city’s agricultural scene, and promote ethical and sustainable production.
Gingerbread is among the most popular local delicacies in the Alsace region and is a major part of Colmar’s local street food scene. If you want to try the best and most authentic version of this delicacy, then you should head to Fortwenger. Founded in 1768, Fortwenger has been known to produce traditional gingerbreads and other Alsatian specialties across the region, including Colmar. Here, you can also buy other food items such Florentines, small cakes and spritzbredele.
Antiquités Guy Caffard
If you are shopping in Colmar for some antiques and vintage items, among the top places to shop would have to be Antiquités Guy Caffard. One of the hidden gems found along the Rue des Marchands, this shop specializes in antique furniture as well as a selection of items such as books, bibelots, toys and postcards.
Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie
The Alsace region is well-known as a gastronomic destination, with several traditional foods and delicacies being offered. One of the treasures of Alsace’s culinary scene is the biscuit, which you can purchase at the Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie. One of the best biscuit shops in Colmar, Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie is dedicated to offering the finest products by using high quality, locally-sourced ingredients. Apart from the traditional biscuits, the shop also offers typical Alsatian cakes such as Kougelhopf and Beerawecka.
La Cave de Lina
Situated between the Cathedral Square and the Little Venice district, right in the heart of the city, La Cave de Lina is a shop that sells a selection of wines and spirits. Although it just opened in 2019, the cellar’s founder has over a decade of experience in producing Grand Cru and other alcoholic beverages (and even has a master’s degree in wines and spirits).
At La Cave de Lina, you can do more than just shop for wine and alcohol; the cellar also offers tasting sessions as well as learning workshops for those interested in pursuing a career in the wine industry. The knowledgeable staff can also help you pick out which product to buy according to your needs, budget and preference.
Chocolaterie Jacques Bockel
Jacques Bockel is a prominent French chocolatier and could easily be dubbed France’s version of Willy Wonka because of his knowledge of the world of chocolate-making. Bockel has multiple locations across the country, including the Alsace region, and his Colmar outpost is a must-visit for candy lovers.
Located along Rue des Serruriers in Colmar, Chocolaterie Jacques Bockel offers over 150 kinds of chocolates that come in a variety of tastes, forms and moldings. The shop also sells other delicacies such as ice cream, nougat, almond paste and Florentine. Apart from selling their products, the shop can also accommodate groups for their workshops, where guests can learn the tools of the trade and even get the chance to create their own chocolate.
If you happen to be visiting Colmar during the Christmas season, you’re in luck as the entire city transforms into one huge market for the holidays. Running from the last week of November up until the last week of December, for a total of five weeks, Colmar’s historic center is filled with Christmas decorations, carnival lights and live performances.
Typically, the city’s Christmas markets are divided into six locations, namely: Place des Dominicains, Petite Venise, Place Jeanne d’Arc, Place de la Cathedrale, Place de l’Ancienne Douane and the Koïfhus (Indoor Christmas Market). In each of the markets, you can find a broad range of products being sold, including handcrafted items, souvenirs, seasonal products, Alsatian delicacies, ready-to-eat food (find tasty street food here) and so much more.
Because the city becomes a wonderful winter wonderland during the holidays, some tourists prefer to visit during the Christmas season. However, similar to most travel destinations, the prices of hotels and goods can skyrocket during this period.
Shopping in Colmar, France
If you want to shop for quality objects during your trip to the city, you should definitely check out this guide on shopping in Colmar. This list includes everything from farmer's markets to specialty stores and several other options.
Browse and buy and then dine in one of Colmar's delightful restaurants. Make time to go on a hike and see a vineyard or a museum in between shopping excursions. And don’t forget to use one of the several luggage lockers where you can safely store your belongings while you shop!