An Alsatian Christmas experience

In Christmas, Europe, France, Memories, Mini Breaks, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, Unesco, World Travel by JanisLeave a Comment

Amazingly since 1570.

A Christkindelsmärik has been held around the Strasbourg Cathedral, making it one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets.

Hansel and Gretel, Christmas, Strasbourg, France

So in 2008 we were off to see how they did it in France.

After our enjoyment at Bruges in Belgium and our wonderful experience at Cologne in Germany, we headed to the capital of the Alsace (now Grand Est), region of France, to the beautiful city of Strasbourg.

Our preferred mode of transport for these trips is always the car. On a good day it should take around 5 ½ hours to drive the 390 miles (630 km) from Calais to Strasbourg.

But this was winter and after battling with the snow it took us about 7 hours. Then, however the snow soon turned to rain.

Strasbourg actually holds one of the largest Christmas markets in France.

In view of the Catherdral, Christmas, Strasbourg, France
Welcome to Strasbourg at Christmas, Strasbourg, France

Set amongst the medieval architecture and arranged around the lovely Strasbourg Cathedral with its imposing gothic towers.

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  • Soaking up the atmosphere and merriment whilst ambling around the markets.

Although there are two or three main markets in Strasbourg, it’s a lovely surprise finding the other little ones dotted around the town.

One of our particular favourites back in 2008, was the International market, with its stalls from different countries of the world.

Take your time to appreciate the work and effort that has been spent on decorating the charming wooden huts.

There are wonderful displays of baubles, tree toppers, fairy lights, nativity scenes & Christmas decorations.

The delight of standing in the cold and sometimes rain, sipping a vin chaud.

Lovely festive decorations throughout the surrounding streets.

  • Christmas spirit & friendliness of fellow revellers.

The historic centre of Strasbourg the Grande île (Big Island), which is surrounded by the River III, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1988 and it is easy to see why.

The timbered buildings are beautiful along with the amazing sandstone Cathedral of Our Lady, with its astronomical clock.


Listening to the street musicians, especially the wonderful Luc Arbogast playing medieval music.

Street musicians performing at the Christmas market, Strasbourg, France

Trying the local food and drink from the market stalls, particularly the vin chaud (hot wine).

Also you may like to sample;

  • Jus de citron chaud (lemon)
  • Jus de myrtille chaud (blueberry)
  • Cidre chaud (hot cider)

For a bite to eat why not try a Crepes, Galettes, gingerbread or a pretzel.

These markets aren’t only for children; you see people of all ages are enjoying themselves.

Of an evening the markets are mainly frequented by adults.

  • Enjoying a traditional Alsace tarte flambée, in the warmth of a local bar.

- We ate in the Lohkas restaurant, in la Petit France. The atmosphere was bustling and if you appreciate Franco-German cuisine, you’ll love this.

Hearing the laughter of children enjoying the merry-go-round and ice skating rink.

- We stayed in a luxury hotel, Régent Petite France & Spa. The hotel was in a fantastic location, extremely central and on the banks of the River III. Additionally, they had car parking facilities which was great for us.


Our musical snow globe from Strasbourg

Hand painted local Christmas decorations.

A slight disappointment

  • This may have changed since 2008, but we found there weren’t so many food stalls as there are in a German market.
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Point of Note

  • You may not come across too many other Brits, as currently there are no direct flights from the UK.

  • You really need to book early as these markets are very popular.

  • Dress warm and comfortable.

  • If snow is predicted and you are taking your car, then snow tyres would be a good option if you have them.

Have You?

Enjoyed a French Christmas Market? What's your experience of the fun?

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Inspired to visit Strasbourg at Christmas?

Soak up the festive spirit, enjoy the Vin Chaud and feast on Tarte Flambée?

Why not check out the deals on Booking.Com?
In view of the Catherdral, Christmas, Strasbourg, France

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