Christmas Markets Alsace : The top 3 !
The Christmas markets in Alsace, a region in northeastern France, are renowned for their enchanting charm and festive spirit. Alsace is a place where the Christmas traditions come to life, and its markets provide a magical experience. One of the most famous is the Strasbourg Christmas Market, which dates back to 1570 and transforms the city into a winter wonderland. The streets are adorned with thousands of lights and festive decorations, creating a fairytale atmosphere. Visitors can explore various locations, including the Cathedral Square and Broglie Square, where they’ll find an array of stalls selling Christmas decorations, gifts, toys, candles, and seasonal treats like bredele (Alsatian cookies) and mulled wine. The market also celebrates Alsatian culture with its focus on local traditions, making it a wonderful place to immerse yourself in the European Christmas spirit.
Colmar, another picturesque town in Alsace, hosts its own Christmas market, the Marché de Noël de Colmar. Set against the backdrop of Colmar’s medieval architecture and colorful houses, this market offers an authentic and cozy atmosphere. It spreads through the old town’s narrow cobblestone streets, and visitors can explore stalls featuring artisanal products, local wines, gourmet Alsatian delicacies, and handmade crafts. The Christmas decorations in Colmar are truly stunning, with thousands of lights and ornaments illuminating the streets. With concerts, shows, and cultural events happening throughout the holiday season, the Colmar Christmas Market is a perfect place to experience the magic of Christmas in Alsace. Whether in Strasbourg or Colmar, the Christmas markets of Alsace transport you to a festive wonderland where traditions, local culture, and the spirit of the season come together in a magical way.
Visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market
The Strasbourg Christmas Market, known as the “Christkindelsmärik,” stands as one of Europe’s most iconic and oldest Christmas markets. With a history dating back to 1570, this market transforms Strasbourg, a picturesque city in the Alsace region of France, into a mesmerizing winter wonderland. Its cobblestone streets come alive with an enchanting display of thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations, casting a spellbinding atmosphere over the city. The market is spread across several iconic locations, including the Cathedral Square, Broglie Square, and Kléber Square, each offering a unique range of stalls selling Christmas ornaments, gifts, toys, candles, and delightful Alsatian seasonal treats such as bredele (traditional Alsatian cookies) and mulled wine. The Strasbourg Christmas Market takes great pride in preserving Alsatian culture and traditions, making it an ideal destination to immerse yourself in the spirit of European Christmas.
One of the most cherished aspects of the Strasbourg Christmas Market is its dedication to local folklore and customs. The Christkind, representing the Christ Child, is a central figure at the market and is annually selected in a competition. Throughout the market, you’ll find a wealth of events and activities for visitors of all ages, including concerts, performances, choir sing-alongs, and horse-drawn carriage rides, all adding to the festive ambiance. From its rich history to its captivating decorations and vibrant cultural offerings, the Strasbourg Christmas Market is a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and magical Christmas experience in the heart of Alsace.
The Colmar Christmas market
The Colmar Christmas Market, known as the “Marché de Noël de Colmar,” is a charming and enchanting holiday destination located in the picturesque town of Colmar, in the heart of the Alsace region of France. Set against a backdrop of well-preserved medieval architecture and colorful half-timbered houses, this market offers a truly authentic and cozy atmosphere. It has earned a reputation as one of the most romantic and beautiful Christmas markets in Europe, attracting visitors from around the world.
The market spreads throughout Colmar’s historic Old Town, with its narrow cobblestone streets adorned with thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations. Strolling through the market, visitors encounter a delightful array of stalls offering a wide range of holiday treasures. These include artisanal products, locally produced wines, gourmet Alsatian delicacies, and unique handmade crafts. Colmar’s Christmas decorations are truly enchanting, creating a magical ambiance that transports you to a winter wonderland. The market’s festive atmosphere is enhanced by a rich program of concerts, shows, and cultural events taking place throughout the holiday season. This makes the Colmar Christmas Market a perfect destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in the warmth and magic of the Christmas spirit.
What sets the Colmar Christmas Market apart is its commitment to preserving Alsatian traditions and showcasing the region’s culture. Visitors can savor regional specialties like foie gras, mulled wine, and gingerbread while enjoying the sounds of carolers and the sight of beautifully decorated wooden chalets. The market truly captures the essence of Alsace’s rich heritage, making it a destination that not only offers a wonderful shopping experience but also an opportunity to embrace the authentic traditions of this charming region. Whether you’re shopping for unique gifts, sipping on seasonal beverages, or simply taking in the festive ambiance, the Colmar Christmas Market promises an unforgettable holiday experience in one of the most picturesque settings in France.
The Riquewihr Christmas Market
The Riquewihr Christmas Market, or “Marché de Noël de Riquewihr,” is a hidden gem among the charming Christmas markets of the Alsace region in northeastern France. Nestled in the heart of the picturesque village of Riquewihr, known for its well-preserved medieval architecture and enchanting ambiance, this market offers a truly intimate and authentic holiday experience.
The market takes place within the narrow cobblestone streets of Riquewihr, where visitors are transported into a winter wonderland. The village’s colorful half-timbered houses and historic buildings provide a stunning backdrop for the festive decorations that adorn the streets. The Riquewihr Christmas Market features a selection of stalls offering high-quality holiday goods, including handcrafted decorations, artisanal gifts, regional wines, gourmet Alsatian treats, and exquisite handmade crafts. The decorations in Riquewihr are truly magical, with the streets illuminated by thousands of lights and ornaments. Visitors can also enjoy live music, carolers, and other cultural events that add to the warm and festive atmosphere.
What sets the Riquewihr Christmas Market apart is its tranquil and authentic setting. This market is not as widely known as some of the larger Christmas markets in Alsace, creating a more relaxed and personal experience. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking a quieter and more intimate atmosphere to celebrate the holiday season while still immersing themselves in the rich traditions and culture of the Alsace region. Whether you’re shopping for unique gifts, indulging in local specialties, or simply enjoying the festive surroundings, the Riquewihr Christmas Market promises a memorable and cozy Christmas experience in one of France’s most charming villages.
Day Trip from Strasbourg : Discover Colmar
Colmar is a charming town located in the Alsace region of northeastern France. Known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, picturesque canals, and vibrant atmosphere, Colmar offers visitors a delightful blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. Here’s a concise presentation of Colmar:
Historic Town Center: Colmar’s historic town center is like stepping into a fairytale. Its cobblestone streets, colorful half-timbered houses, and flower-lined canals create a romantic and enchanting ambiance. The well-preserved architecture reflects both French and German influences.
Little Venice: One of the highlights of Colmar is the neighborhood known as “Little Venice.” This picturesque area features canals lined with charming houses and colorful façades. Taking a boat ride or leisurely stroll along the canals is a must-do activity.
Unterlinden Museum: The Unterlinden Museum is a cultural gem in Colmar. Housed in a former 13th-century Dominican convent, the museum exhibits an impressive collection of art, including the famous Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald.
Quaint Squares and Churches: Colmar is dotted with picturesque squares and beautiful churches. The Place de l’Ancienne Douane, Place des Dominicains, and Place Jeanne d’Arc are just a few examples where you can relax, enjoy a coffee, and soak in the charming surroundings. Don’t miss the Saint-Martin Church, with its soaring spire and remarkable stained glass windows.
Alsatian Cuisine and Wine: Colmar is renowned for its culinary delights. Sample traditional Alsatian dishes such as tarte flambée, choucroute (sauerkraut), and baeckeoffe (a meat and vegetable stew). Pair your meal with a glass of local Alsatian wine, such as Gewürztraminer or Riesling, known for their exceptional quality.
Christmas Markets: Colmar hosts enchanting Christmas markets that attract visitors from near and far. The markets transform the town into a winter wonderland, with beautifully decorated stalls selling crafts, festive treats, and warming drinks. It’s a magical experience not to be missed.
Natural Beauty: Colmar is surrounded by scenic vineyards, rolling hills, and charming Alsatian villages. Consider taking a short drive or bike ride to explore the idyllic countryside, visit local wineries, or discover other nearby towns like Eguisheim or Riquewihr.
In summary, Colmar is a captivating town that captivates visitors with its medieval charm, canals, rich cultural heritage, and culinary delights. Whether you’re strolling through its historic center, admiring the artwork at the Unterlinden Museum, or savoring Alsatian cuisine, Colmar offers an unforgettable experience in the heart of Alsace.
Taste Local Products from Strasbourg and Alsace
Strasbourg and the Alsace region are renowned for their unique and delicious culinary specialties, influenced by both French and German traditions. Here are some notable dishes and culinary delights you can find in Strasbourg and Alsace:
Choucroute: Choucroute, also known as sauerkraut, is a signature dish of Alsace. It consists of fermented cabbage cooked with various cuts of pork, sausages, and potatoes. The combination of tangy sauerkraut and flavorful meats creates a hearty and satisfying meal.
Flammekueche: Flammekueche, also called tarte flambée, is a thin, crispy pizza-like dish. Traditionally, it is topped with a mixture of cream, onions, bacon, and sometimes cheese. The combination of flavors and textures makes it a popular choice for a light lunch or snack.
Baeckeoffe: Baeckeoffe is a traditional Alsatian meat and vegetable stew. It typically consists of layers of marinated meats (such as beef, pork, and lamb), potatoes, onions, carrots, and herbs. The dish is slow-cooked in a sealed casserole dish, resulting in tender and flavorful ingredients.
Kougelhopf: Kougelhopf is a classic Alsatian cake, often enjoyed for breakfast or dessert. It is a yeast-based cake with a distinctive shape, resembling a tall, fluted mold. Kougelhopf is often flavored with almonds, raisins, and sometimes rum, giving it a delicious aroma and taste.
Tarte aux Fruits: Alsace is also known for its delectable fruit tarts. These tarts feature a buttery crust filled with fresh seasonal fruits, such as apples, pears, cherries, or plums. They are often enjoyed with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Alsatian Wines: The Alsace region is renowned for its excellent wines. Alsatian wines are mainly white, with notable varieties including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Sylvaner. These wines are known for their aromatic qualities, crispness, and ability to complement the local cuisine.
Munster Cheese: Munster cheese, named after a town in Alsace, is a soft and pungent cheese with a distinctive orange rind. It has a rich, creamy texture and a strong aroma. Munster cheese is often enjoyed on its own, in salads, or melted in traditional dishes like tarts or quiches.
These are just a few examples of the culinary specialties you can savor in Strasbourg and the Alsace region. The local cuisine offers a delightful fusion of flavors, reflecting the unique cultural heritage of the area. Bon appétit!