What to see at Strasbourg's Christmas Markets......in the 'Capitale de Noël'
Strasbourg - Capitale de Noël
Part of us was looking forward to discovering the changes, but also, we hoped to find still the little familiarities that we fell in love with the first time around.
Strasbourg was our first stop on our 2017 Christmas Market road trip before we headed on to Munich, Frankfurt & Cologne. So, we were having a soupçon of France prior to our wurst fest in Germany.
Where we stayed
Our accommodation for the two nights in Strasbourg was at the Mercure Centre. Lovely friendly staffed and welcomed you with a vin chaud, what could be better.
Parking was good. However, security around the Grande Île was extremely high, with vehicles only being allowed to enter before and after Christmas market hours.
The festive atmosphere here is all around the Grande Île, so head in and enjoy the fun.
We visited Place Kléber first to see the amazing Christmas tree, and it indeed is a sight not to be missed.
The height of the tree is astonishing; I think they must have used a crane to decorate it.
They even have a viewing platform for it, so that you can get closer.
The tree in Place Kléber
It’s all about the lights
While strolling the streets and lanes of Strasbourg, our outstanding memory is the illuminations throughout the city.
It’s not just your average twinkling street lights; there are eye-catching themes running all the way through.
One lane was even lined with huge boxed chandeliers.
Decorated in Pink
There is no expense spared here for exterior illumination; you’re all going to be dazzled while sipping your vin chaud.
There has been a Christmas market held around the Cathedral in Strasbourg since 1570, making it one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. So, it’s not surprising it holds the accolade of Capitale de Noël.
The cathedral as a backdrop to the market
Avenue of Angels
At the feet of the Cathedral are bustling little market huts selling a variety of gifts, decorations and local delicacies, all the while a children’s carousel is whirling around.
Vin Rouge or Vin Blanc
Take your time and wander around the Place de la Cathedral, and we highly recommend sampling the vin chaud, it’s a little bit sweeter than gluhwein but certainly just as warming.
Two Vin Chauds
Before we left for Strasbourg Gary and I looked through his photos from 2008, and when we arrived at the vin chaud stall that we remembered visiting nine years ago, the same happy chap was still there. Now that brought a smile to our faces…
A familiar face
Pouring the warming nectar
Attention to detail
We always say that the Christmas markets come alive when the sun goes down, however, Place de la Cathedral is stunning day and night.
The Carousel in the market place
The half-timbered dwellings that encircle the square are unbelievable, the care and maintenance taken to keep them looking so beautiful is a tribute to the city.
Browsing a stall
Soak up the atmosphere
The street not to be missed off the square is Rue du Maroquin.
During the festive season, I urge you to stroll up and down here during the day, and in the evening, you won’t stop looking high above you at the décor.
Rue du Maroquin
Glittering Rue du Maroquin
At the bottom of Rue du Maroquin, we turned left, to follow the river along and come across another market (Place du Marche-aux-Poissons). From memory, we don’t believe there was one here in 2008, it had some unusual stalls and had a charming local feel to it.
The market at Marche-aux-Poissons
Not quite Christmassed out, there are still more markets to visit. We headed over to Petite France, which will take your breath away at how picturesque it is before you have even reached the festivities.
Wandering through Petit France
Looking over Petit France
Fun & Friendly
One of the largest markets on Grande Île is Christkindelsmärik, held in Place Broglie. This is a really friendly bustling market and full of colourful gifts and great treats for everyone.
The entrance to Christkindelsmärik
Weaving your way through you’ll discover some wonderful stalls, and you won’t go hungry around here.
Vin Chaud in Copper pots
Land of Fire & Ice
Every year in Place Gutenberg, Strasbourg welcomes a different country to highlight their traditions around Christmas, this year it was Iceland’s honour.
The Blue Tree and the Bear
The Icelandic Market
The Astronomical clock
Inside the Cathedral
A selection of gingerbread
There are great things to eat around the markets especially if you have a sweet tooth.
However, a visit to the Alsace region of France, would not be complete without enjoying a tarte flambée.
The traditional Alsatian dish of Tarte flambée
It is loved by everyone young and old.