Old Customs House (Koïfhus)
Located at the intersection of Colmar’s two major roads back in the medieval days, the Old Customs House (Koïfhus)—also referred to as the "Ancienne Douane"—always had a strategic mission. The former customs house was built in 1480 and was mainly used for two things: the ground floor was a massive warehouse used for storage, and the second floor served as a tax office for import/export and a meeting area for the magistrate and the emperors of Alsace, which later on became the Colmar Chamber of Commerce. Several buildings were added onto the existing one throughout the years, creating an amalgam of architectural styles and proving that the Old Customs House was significant enough, both commercially and locally, to justify extensive renovation and expansion works. The roof, which consists of colorful varnished tiles, is particularly striking. Wondering which part is the oldest? Look for the two-headed eagle of the Empire, which surmounts the two main entrances. The Old Customs House was made a historic monument of France in 1974. It nowadays houses small shops and cultural events, like the much-acclaimed Alsatian Christmas markets.
The Old Customs House is not accessible by car but there is a small outdoor parking lot named Parking Marché aux fruits nearby. The best way to get there from the A35 motorway is D13, rue de la Semm, route de Bâle, rue de Turenne, and rue Saint-Jean. For those coming in on foot, the train station is 1.3 kilometers from Koïfhus via Avenue de la République and rue des Augustins.