Year round, Strasbourg scores for traditional charm, but during Advent the capital of Alsace is even more magical. Half-timbered houses are decorated with giant red-and-white hearts, stars, angels and snowflake garlands are hanging over the cobbled streets. The Christkindelsmärik was first held in Strasbourg in 1570, making it the oldest one in Europe, and even the towering fir tree on the Place Kléber is a 400 years old custom.
There are eleven “villages” – themed areas – all around the city:
Place de la Cathédrale – Located all around the cathedral, this market is a must-see, especially in the evening. Don’t miss out the big Nativity scene inside the cathedral.
Place Kléber – This is the place where the big Christmas Tree (Grand Sapin) is situated. The minimum height of the tree is 30m and it’s provided by the France’s National Forestry Office. They start the search for the perfect Christmas tree early in March every year. To get a really glamours shape, more branches from other trees are added. The tree is decorated with 7km of twinkling lights, baubles, angels and stars. In the end, it’s all worth it. In the past, people used to put presents for the poor under the tree. Today, there are more than 60 charity stalls, selling souvenirs and food for a good cause. This market is called the Village of Sharing.
Place Gutenberg – Each year Strasbourg dedicates this Christkindelsmärik to a different country, and its Christmas traditions are therefore celebrated here.
Place Broglie – This is the biggest Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg. It is held on the place of the traditional Christkindelsmärik from the 16th century. Over 100 stalls offer festive decorations, pottery, glass jewellery, handmade toys and many more. This market sells the best food and the variety is huge. If you look for a place to eat, go there. Also the best mulled wine is offered here.
Place du Château – This small market right next to the palace is the most charming of all. The stalls are surrounded by half-timbered houses, decorated with cute polar bears and festive garlands.
There are six smaller ones at:
Place du Marché aux Poisson – If you’re looking for some treats, definitely visit the this Christmas market. The stalls are stocked with local wine, beer and tasty food from the region. Don’t miss to try Nut’Alsace, mouth-watering hazelnut cocoa spread (much better than Nutella).
Place du Temple Neuf – It’s a lovely small market for handicraft items in front of a 19th-century church.
Place Saint Thomas – This small market with festive decorations and food is right next to Saint Thomas Church.
Place des Meuniers – The Christkindelsmärik features products from small producers from Alsace.
Place Benjamin-Zix – Tucked away between half-timbered houses, it sells all kinds of decorations.
Place Grimmeissen – It’s an alternative market that features vintage furniture, original handicrafts and organic food.
Other Christmas-related must-see things:
Porte de Lumières – Stunning and magical gateway in gold and white, with two huge bears connected by a ring of lights – plunges visitors to Strasbourg into the magic of Christmas. The giant Männele figures between red curtains guide visitors from the Porte de Lumières to the Christmas Tree, the iconic symbol of Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas in the heart of the city.
Discover a twinkling, 10-metre-high Christmas tree in front of the Rivetoile shopping centre.
And at Place des Halles, you’ll find a dazzling crystal-white tree standing 12 metres tall, with a stunning light show.
The giant chandelier, complete with magical, food-themed details, hangs on the corner of the Grand’Rue and Rue du Fossé-des-Tanneurs.
And that’s not all, since you’ll find Christmas decor and ornaments literally everywhere, not only at these spots that I’ve just listed!
All in all, I find the Strasbourg Christmas market by far my most favourite one! I know it sounds unbelievable, BUT from all the markets I’ve visited throughout the years, this was by far the most tranquil one…no masses, no lines, no waiting; unlike in Budapest, Vienna or Krakow.
So yes, even after what had happened, I definitely recommend you to visit this town along with its markets, you won’t regret….the markets are running only until 30th of December, so hurry up!
Have a great day!