summer in colmar

From French folklore nights to open-air concerts to Alsatian gastronomy celebrations — Discover Colmar’s top five timeless events & experiences this summer.

Summer in Colmar means meandering boat rides along the Petite Venise, languid lunches at the friendly winstubs, and evening walks down the charming cobblestone streets. It’s also fairly likely that summer visitors will happen on a festival, concert, cultural exhibition — or all of the above. Here’s a guide to Colmar’s top summer events and experiences.

summer in colmar petite venice

May-September: Folklore Evenings

Brimming with history, culture, and liveliness, Colmar’s folklore evenings celebrate Alsace’s rich heritage as a prominent medieval trading village. As dusk settles over the storybook town of Colmar, Alsatian residents don traditional costumes of bright skirts, frocks, headdresses, and top hats. They take over the town square, singing and dancing to French folk music. Feeling the infectious energy of the gregarious performers, you’ll be ready to slip on an Alsatian frock and dance right alongside them. 

July: The Colmar International Music Festival

In the first weeks of July, classical music vibrates throughout Colmar. Dubbed by the New York Times as one of the top ten festivals in Europe, the Colmar International Music Festival celebrates the infinite variety of classical music. Featuring the rising stars of the genre, the event honors artistic spirits of authenticity, originality, and boldness. 

Under the artistic direction of Russian conductor and violinist emeritus, Vladimir Spivakov, the festival is organized around a theme that pays homage to a different musician, instrument, country, or culture each year. 

Held in Colmar’s Gothic churches and medieval heritage sites, the performances range from intimate chamber ensembles to symphonic orchestras. Enveloped by the ornate architecture of the High Middle Ages and awed by the brilliant classical musicians, audiences will be carried away by Colmar’s summer music series. 

August: The Alsace Wine Fair

Renowned for its Riesling, pinot gris, and gewürztraminer wines, Alsace has been producing wine since the second century. Protected by the Vosges Mountains and bordering the Rhine River, the lush region of Alsace boasts mineral-rich soils, noble grapes, and a dry climate. 

Every August, Colmar’s 70-year-old Alsace Wine Festival celebrates the region’s agricultural bounty and gastronomist culture. Summer visitors will be delighted by guided wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, and regional delicacies. After indulging in all the Alsatian food and wine your heart desires, you can dance to live music performed by regional artists and witness the fateful election of the Alsace Wine Queen.

Not to be overshadowed by the food and wine exhibitions, the festival also features mainstream musicians in a 10,000-seat open-air theater. In years past, Lenny Kravitz, Sting, and Santana have performed. 

Summerlong: Explore Colmar by Boat, Train, or Carriage

Situated between Germany and France, Colmar was subject to a sort of cultural tug of war throughout much of its history, giving the town its romantic, intricate character. Since its founding in the ninth century, Colmar has held the stories and secrets of rural winemakers, bustling traders, medieval monks, battle-hardened soldiers, and, of course, the timeless Alsatians. This summer, visitors can discover the stories and secrets of Colmar by boat, train, and carriage. 

Colmar by Boat

Float along the Colmar’s idyllic canal in a flatbottomed boat. On the serene boat ride, take in Colmar’s lush summer sweetness in the gardener’s district, overflowing with flowers at peak bloom. In the Petite Venise district, visitors will experience Colmar’s iconic pastel-colored, timber-accented terraces from the water. 

Colmar by Train

Hop on one of Colmar’s little city trains to explore the town’s medieval and Renaissance heritage sites. Visitors will learn the stories behind Colmar’s historic monuments, museums, and churches. During the 40-minute tour, you’ll be transported back in time as you chug along the streets of Colmar, listening to your tour guide through simultaneous translation headphones. 

Colmar by Carriage

For an utterly Alsatian experience, tour Colmar by carriage. Two strapping horses will trot along the cobblestones streets as you marvel at the city’s artistic French-German architectural expression, wondering if you’re actually a character in a fairytale.

Summerlong: Farmer’s Markets

Colmar’s weekly markets, a tradition that began in the middle ages by feudal lords intending to convert the land’s products into coins, continue in the heart of the town today. In the old days, farmers and merchants floated their goods along the River Lauch, propelling their flatbottomed boats with long poles. Today, Alsatian farmers and merchants still bring their locally-grown products to the town’s bustling outdoor and indoor weekly markets. 

Though the market takes place all year long, summer visitors will be enchanted to find bright flowers and tantalizing berries. As you sample Alsatian goods, like Munster cheese, dry white wines, chestnuts, and honey, the farmers and merchants will share their secrets to simple French recipes and enticing wine pairings. If you dare to breach the subject, the Alsatian producers will also passionately describe how they grow their truly locally sourced goods.

Visiting Colmar in the summer allows you to experience all the intricacies of Alsatian culture. Long after you’ve left, Colmar’s timelessness will keep you daydreaming of your return to the fairytale-like town.

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