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Strasbourg Christmas Markets

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Strasbourg is the "Capital of Christmas" (Capitale de Noel), and has one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. The city goes all out - streets are illuminated with garlands of lights and stars, the Gothic cathedral soars into the night sky, store windows are decorated in the most delightful way with bears and Pere Noel (Father Christmas), and from the markets are irresistible smells of hot chocolate, mulled wine, sweets, chocolates.

Strasbourg Christmas Markets Photo Album
strasbourg photo album
 

Christmas markets – Ten different Christmas markets are located in squares (places) throughout the city center, each one is different. The largest ones are located at Place de la Cathedrale, Place Kleber, and Place Broglie. Place St. Thomas has a "children's village" (Village des enfants), with hands-on activities for kids. Tip: The markets are more crowded on weekends.

    Place de la Cathedrale – The Marche de Noel extends all around the beautifully illuminated Gothic cathedral. Stalls santas, trains going round and round, ornaments, food, gauffre, musicians. stuffed bears gingerbread men or sweet dough boys. large gingerbread boy blinking lights on the tourist office, very festive. Little kids will want to take a ride on the charming carousel.
    Tip: Go inside the Cathedral to see a gorgeous life-size creche - with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus surrounded by shepherds, and arrival of three Wise Men with large camel and elephant.
    Place Gutenberg – From the Cathedral, stroll down Rue Merciere, to the Place Gutenberg Christmas market. In the center of the square is a copper green statue of Gutenberg (who lived in Strasbourg). At this market, we bought lovely handmade Christmas ornaments figures in traditional Alsace red and white (we have a Christmas ornament collection, and our ancestors came from Alsace).
    Place Kleber – In the center of this large square is a multi-story evergreen Christmas tree, which comes from the Vosges mountains nearby. The tree is decorated with blue glass baubles, silver reindeer and 75,000 fairy lights. The market has food and clothing, and a stage with live music.
    Place Broglie – This it the oldest market in France, Christkindlmarik ("Baby Jesus market), going back to the 16th century. Here's where you'll find hand-painted santon figurines for creches - peasants holding ducks and pigs, housewife with her market basket or baby under one arm, fish and produce sellers, three Wise Men, angels, pigs, donkeys - so many to choose from!
    Place d'Austerlitz Here is the "Village des Bredle" - bredle (bredele) are butter or spice cookies. Stock up on these delicious Alsatian cookies in all shapes and flavors.
    Place du Temple-Neuf – In Carre d'Or market, we found local food products from Alsace and France, and stocked up on marron glaces (candied chestnuts), and chocolate shaped like Christmas baubles. The patisserie Christian was beautifully decorated with winged white horses and silver stars.
    Place Benjamin-Zix In the Petite France neighborhood, this is a very atmospheric market, surrounded by medieval half-timbered houses around the square. Look up to see a dramatic diorama of the three Wise Men (Rois Mages) high up on one building.
    Place des Meuniers You'll find traditional foods of Alsace (try the honey), mulled wine and hot drinks, just around the corner from Place Benjamin-Zix.
    Place du Corbeau – A small Christmas market which you'll pass through while walking on rue d'Austerlitz in the direction of the Place d'Austerlitz market. Stalls have charming displays of wooden figure Christmas scenes.
    Place de la Gare – Located right across from the central train station (Gare Centrale), it's convenient if you've forgotten anything, and need to pick up some cookies or sweets before departing on a train.
  Place Saint Thomas – Children's Village – The Village des Enfants has special hands-on activities for kids - decorate Christmas cookies, make paper stars and cards, play board games. There's a play area for kids under 6, and, of course, visits from Pere Noel (Father Christmas). Hours for the Children's Village are afternoons Wed., Saturday and Sunday, 2pm - 6:30pm.
  Walk down Grand'Rue – During the December holiday season, walking down Grand'Rue is incredible. We would only go a few feet before having to stop into the next sweet shop to check out the amazing chocolates, like nothing we'd seen before. The streets are imaginatively decorated with stars, garlands, animals of all kinds ( including penguins), Pere Noels dangle from window sills. At night it's just enchanting.
  Ice skating If kids would like to go ice skating, there's a very small rink at the Centre Rivetoile shopping center. No experience required, and skates in kid's sizes.
   

Fun food

   

As you wander through the markets, stop to try Alsace holiday drinks and sweets. For kids there is chocolat chaud (hot chocolate), apple juice, and hot orange juice with honey; parents will want to sample different versions of vin chaud (mulled wine).

   

So many sweets to choose from – the bonhomme mannele (little gingerbread man painted with frosting), pain d'epices (spice breads) stars with white icing, sapin chocolat (chocolate Christmas trees decorated with candied fruits and nuts), macarons, gauffres (waffles), crepes, kuegelhopf (cakes).

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