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Place Benjamin Zix, the Christmas market in the heart of Petite France

Published on 7 December 2023

With its half-timbered houses, Christmas decorations worthy of the finest Instagram accounts and picturesque little streets, Petite France is a unique setting for the Christmas market. Find out more.

Heading down the rue du Fossé des Tanneurs from the Grand Rue, you soon come to a small square adorned with majestic plane trees: this is where the Place Benjamin Zix Christmas market lights up. Surrounded by cobbled streets, small canals and typical Alsatian houses, this market offers visitors an almost magical atmosphere.

Hot wine with white wine

Among the dozen or so chalets on hand, you're quickly drawn in by the smell of mulled wine concocted by Marilyne Lefebvre, manager and creator of the Vietnamese restaurant Poids Plume. In her chalet, she offers the traditional mulled wine made with red wine, but also a mulled wine prepared with white wine. But what Marilyne really enjoys cooking is her soups, for which she changes the recipe every two or three days. "I start with seasonal vegetables and season them with spices, ginger, turmeric, or coconut milk" she says. Marilyne's culinary influences come from her Vietnamese grandmother. "Through my cooking, I like to take my customers on a journey, introducing them to new textures and flavours, while respecting traditions and a taste for meticulous work", Marilyne confides.

Traditional gingerbread

The gourmet experience continues at the Mireille Oster gingerbread chalet! Here you can (re)discover her unconditional gingerbread bars and bags, as well as confectionery, "bredele" and spirits. This House stands out for its ability to reinvent gingerbread through original and varied recipes. These creations include ginger, goji berries, candied melon, orange blossom and figs. To vary the pleasures and tastes, different flours and different types of honey are used.

For an Alsatian touch

After salivating over these gourmet stands, another type of chalet catches our eye: those devoted to Christmas decorations!

Marc Berger's chalet is a showcase for Alsatian craftsmanship. Among the items on display are bredele cookie cutters, reconstituted stone reproductions and the must-have Christmas "Springerle".

We continue our journey in Alsace with the chalet of Matthieu Doger, who creates Alsatian houses in terracotta, made exclusively from real models. More than just a decorative reminder of the typical architecture of our region, these cottages can even be transformed into essential oil diffusers. "All you have to do is insert a candle and place a little water and oil in the chimney" he explains.

In the same spirit, Nathalie Wilm offers blown glass photophores in her chalet, featuring the typical landscapes of our Alsatian capital. Petite France, the Cathedral, the Kammerzell House... the whole of Strasbourg is represented! "These original decorations are the creations of my son-in-law, Julien Fuchs", explains Nathalie.

An enchanting setting

The more specialized "Noël en Alsace" chalet showcases everything you need to decorate your home in the colours of Christmas. Nativity scenes, hanging ornaments, Santons, Christmas trees, stars... The chalet offers a wide range of decorative items, from the most sober to the most extravagant.

Still on the theme of Christmas decorations, the Site Verrier de Meisenthal is exhibiting its famous and highly prized glass baubles in its chalet, made using unique know-how. The chalet's star attraction will be its 2023 Christmas bauble: the "Stella", which evokes a dazzling cabaret dancer.

Last but not least, typical German decorations are also making an appearance at the Christmas market! Elie Laumont's chalet features candle pyramids, nutcrackers, and small incense-burning figures.

The essential candles

Not far away, a small chalet catches our eye: the one run by Light & Co. The sales area features a number of richly decorated vases and jars in which candles are floating. "We don't sell traditional candles, but kits that you can make yourself" explain Laurence Anna and Guillaume Kilbert, co-founders of Light & Co.

The principle is simple: simply fill a transparent vase with water and insert decorative objects. Fragrant oils can be added to diffuse a gentle scent of orange or cinnamon throughout your home... Once lit, the candle can burn for between 20 and 30 hours without fading. And to start again for a similar length of time, replace the wick with a small piece of rolled-up toilet paper! In a different style, Petro Zaripov has several scent diffusers in his chalet, in the form of ceramic houses or small historical and fantastic figurines.

For a look made in Alsace

The Christmas markets also give visibility to local clothing and accessories designers. Sophie Peirani, a designer of jewellery, hats and accessories, is in the spotlight at the Place Benjamin Zix. Many people already know her from her boutique, which has been set up in the heart of Petite France on rue du Fossé des Tanneurs for 31 years! What does she love? Personalising her creations to suit the style, desires and personality of her customers. "At the Christmas market, I'll be offering hats, berets and capelines made from beautiful materials. What's popular at the moment is the fabric I call 'doudou', which is warm and comfortable to wear", Sophie shares.

It's hard to leave such enchanting surroundings... and yet, at 9pm, the Christmas market on Place Benjamin Zix is about to close. All we want to do is come back tomorrow to see it decked out in lights once again.