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If you were to research “Best Christmas Market in Europe”, (which I would think is the reason that you’re reading this), the city Strasbourg will always be listed. The rumors are true, the reviews are not lying, this is hands down one of the best Christmas displays on the continent.
Beautiful lights hang from building to building and light up the streets in a scene that you will not find elsewhere. Shops seemingly compete with one another for the title of best decorated entrance. Gigantic teddy bears and candy canes float from windowsills allowing visitors some incredible photo ops. If the term “Deck the Halls” epitomizes one place, it is that of Strasbourg. The scenery is stunning from morning through night and plays host to a Christmas experience you will never forget.
Friday, November 20th to Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
(CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS)
There truly isn’t one central location for a market in Strasbourg as there are in other market destinations. The entire city is dressed to impress as lights and decorations are scattered all over town. You can find hot wine and food in just about every direction while taking in the endless views of Christmas spirit. If you’re in search of the most abundant set of vendors and stalls, you will find them surrounding the Cathédrale Notre Dame. Standing as the biggest piece of architecture in all of Strasbourg, this Gothic cathedral is extremely hard to miss. You only need to look up to find the location from just about anywhere. At this spot, you will find many different cheeses, hot wines and souvenirs while surrounded by colorful and unique buildings.
Only a few blocks away, on Rue de Maroquin, you can observe what is probably the most beautiful display of buildings in the city. This short and gorgeous avenue is home to a block of restaurants, all showing off their love of Christmas in a way that is unmatched elsewhere. While all the restaurants have their own distinctive way to flaunt their spirit, the ever so popular Le Tire-Bouchon does it best. Giant, white teddy bears hang from wreaths upon each window while golden presents and red ornaments are arranged beside them to add some twinkle and flare. Return to this spot at night time for a holiday light display like you have never seen before. This specific scene will take you to another world, one you had only previously seen from the imagination of your childhood. If you can only take one photo while visiting this holiday market, this is it.
Another popular location adorned in decoration is L. Bollinger. Situated on Rue Marciêre, this souvenir shop is only a few steps away from the Cathédrale. This beautiful building is one of the most photographed in Strasbourg as its corner street location offers a special view of the Cathédrale. The holiday season only adds some more charm as the surrounding streets are draped with sparkling angels whilst the windows are covered with wreaths, presents and bears. L. Bollinger looks as if it is a present waiting to be opened up, but the true gift here lies within the scene.
Make sure to walk throughout the city during both the light of day and the darkness of night. While the daylight offers a nice look onto the colorful buildings and Christmas displays, the night time spectacle is undoubtedly brilliant. You can spend hours weaving in and out of every street finding displays that you had yet seen before. Each street takes you into a different scene of a Christmas world.
When you come to France, you should expect to have some of the world’s best cuisine, specifically the wine, cheese and bread. If you’re in search of traditional Christmas Market foods, then you won’t have a problem at all. The market does its job of offering some great hot wines, gingerbread, sausages and pretzels. Where France differentiates itself from other Christmas Markets throughout Europe is with its crepes. On just about every street corner throughout the city sits some form of Creperie. Whether it’s a small, hand pushed wagon or a large vendor stall, this culture excels in making a crepe. Crepes can go for as little as $1, while the addition of each ingredient tacks on some price. Sweet crepes can include Nutella and bananas while savory are typically filled with melted brie cheese and prosciutto. Never visit France without stuffing your face with a crepe.
While the vendors have plenty of food to offer, the best food in Strasbourg comes from the restaurants and bakeries. The French are very well known for their dining experience, therefore a night out at a restaurant will go a lot farther than a sausage in the cold. Bakeries are stuffed top to bottom with some of the freshest breads and croissants while table dining is accompanied by a plate of assorted cheeses and a bottle of French wine. For the best food experience at Strasbourg’s holiday market, go for a bakery in the morning, a market vendor for lunch then finish it off with a bottle of wine and a night of French dining for dinner. Eat everything and don’t look back, you can’t go wrong.
As the entire city is draped in holiday get up, it doesn’t need some tree demanding the scene, right? As other markets throughout Europe display their tree right smack in the center of their largest market, Strasbourg strays away from this common style. Although, the tree is quite big and impressive as you would expect based on the rest of the decorations throughout the area. You can find the tree at Place Kléber surrounded by those colorful half-timbered gingerbread style houses that Strasbourg is known for.
There are plenty of vendors through out the city, selling ornaments, toys, foods, etc. Finding a souvenir isn’t difficult, but finding the perfect one may be. I found it to be a bit difficult to find something that really symbolized Strasbourg for my annual Christmas Tree. Most of the gifts are similar to the ones that you will find in neighboring Germany, but this is of course France. A heart ornament is a good choice as France is known for its beauty and romance. Another option is a big stuffed bear such as the one pictured above. They are hanging from windows through out town, why not purchase one and recreate the display every year from your own windowsill?
If Strasbourg is not the best Christmas Market in Europe, then it is easily in the top 3. Spending the entirety of the day walking throughout the city will transport you into a holiday movie like atmosphere. Extraordinary decorations are on display in every direction while the beautifully designed buildings and streets only add to its charm. Strasbourg’s scenery takes you back in time as you sip on your mulled wine whilst enjoying some fresh bread and cheese. It is hard to find a better holiday market with the overall atmosphere than that of Strasbourg. Don’t forget your camera as this is a Christmas you will never forget.
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