For Georges Duhamel (as he wrote in 1931), Colmar was the “most beautiful town in the world”. It has also often been said that it is the most Alsatian town in Alsace! Without going over the top with superlatives, Colmar undoubtedly remains an exceptional town due to the wealth and variety of its historical and architectural heritage. The capital of central Alsace, situated near Germany and Switzerland between the Vosges and the Rhine, Strasbourg and Mulhouse, the town offers visitors an exciting glimpse of 1000 years of European history. Besides, with its 67,000 inhabitants, Colmar retains a ‘country town’ atmosphere which contributes so much to its charm. Wonderfully preserved from the ravages of time, its homogenous historical centre is classed as a ‘protected area’ and has benefited from careful restoration and ongoing improvements for more than 20 years.
The « little Venice » is the name given to the course of the Lauch in Colmar. This name probably came from the original line of the houses on both sides of the river, which serves the southeast of the city. This district starts behind the Koïfhus, goes through the fishmonger’s district and to the bridges Turenne and Saint-Pierre. It is therefore at the beginning of the Krutenau, whose etymology refers to places of market gardening on the outskirts of the towns. Originally inhabited by a rural community of wine-producers, market gardeners and boatmen, the Krutenau stretches out around the Turenne Street that the marshal took in 1674 for his triumphant entry in the city.
The fishmonger’s district is the place where most of the professional fishermen and boatmen of Colmar lived. They were in a powerful corporation. The caught fishes were stored in fish ponds or sold in the fishmonger’s district. In 1706 a huge fire destroyed more than forty houses in the district.
From 1978 to 1981, important renovation works made it possible to restore many half-timbered houses in this district which is between the Tanneurs district and the picturesque little Venice.