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The Christmas Markets in 3 days: A mixture of culture, tradition and something a little different
Your day starts at Rue Mercière, where you can admire Strasbourg Cathedral – an imposing Gothic masterpiece. If you fancy a peek inside, then head in before 11:35 am to appreciate the famous astronomical clock, and admire the vast nativity scene. Stroll among the wooden stalls at the Christmas market at Place de la Cathédrale and take your pick from the range of crafts on offer, including wooden toys, home decorations and stuffed toys. And if you’re feeling peckish, then treat yourself to a delicious hot crêpe. Head along Rue du Maroquin until you get to the Palais Rohan terrace and Place du Marché-aux-Poissons, where you’ll find the Alsace Christmas food market, serving up delights such as bredle, hot wine and foie gras.
For lunch, discover another Alsatian traditional dish and have a taste of tarte flambée in one the restaurants of Rue du Maroquin.
Continue your tour of Strasbourg on Rue des Frères, until you reach place du Marché Gayot with its bistros and terraces, where you can stop off and enjoy a coffee. Are you a DIY enthusiast? Workshops for the creation of decorations will allow everyone to contribute to the beauty of the participative Christmas tree. Just a short walk away, place Saint-Etienne, take the time to enjoy some musical and artistic performances. Next, head along Rue du Faisan and Rue des Charpentiers towards Place Broglie, which houses Strasbourg’s oldest Christmas market – the famous Christkindelsmärik. Here, you’ll find a stunning array of Christmas decorations such as fairy lights, crib figures, wooden figurines, baubles in a multitude of colours and tinsel.
If you want a little break out of the maze of stalls, then head to Neustadt, an area of the city built by the Germans between 1871 and 1918. Make your way towards Place de la République – home to iconic landmarks like the Palais du Rhin, the National University Library and the National Theatre of Strasbourg.
You can also follow the Nativity Scene Tour to admire the wooden, living, or craft nativity scenes set up in the Episcopal Palace and in the shop windows on rue des Juifs.
Day two begins with a tour of Strasbourg’s picture-postcard Petite France quarter, before the markets open at 11 am. Start at the Vauban Dam and its famous panoramic terrace, then stroll along Quai de la Petite France, cross the small swing bridge on the left until you reach Place Grimmeissen and discover the alternative Christmas tree.
Next, head towards Place Saint-Thomas to admire the Saint-Thomas Church – known locally as the Protestant Cathedral.
And if you’re hungry, take your pick from one of the many restaurants that line the Grand’Rue.
Amble along the water’s edge, cross the Ill and pop into the Alsatian Museum, taking a journey through local popular traditions. After exploring the museum, admire the illuminations along Rue du Vieux-Marché-aux-Poissons and Rue des Grandes-Arcades as night falls. Make your way to Place Kléber, a magical, sparkling scene that houses the Great Christmas Tree and the Village of Sharing (Village du Partage).
Spend your evening marvelling at the Christmas lights in the Carré d’Or quarter. You can also join one of the walking tours run by the Tourist Office, every evening at 6 pm (the night watchman tour is a particular favourite).
Start your day by exploring Finland – the homecountry of Father Christmas. Finland is this year’s guest country at Strasbourg’s Christmas Markets, following in the footsteps of Iceland and Portugal. Stroll among the wooden stalls in the Finnish Village at Place Gutenberg and familiarise yourself with the local crafts and cuisine.
Next, head along the Grand’Rue to Place des Meuniers, which houses the Alsace farmers’ market, where you can sample some of the best local produce.
Make your way to Place Grimmeissen to explore a different side of the Christmas Markets with the OFF Market. Here, you’ll find unique gift ideas from local, socially responsible and ethical organisations, such as vintage furniture, custom clothing, original crafts, second-hand appliances and organic foods.
For art-lovers, the Strasbourg Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMCS) – boasting 5,000 m2 of exhibition space – is an absolute must-visit. To celebrate twenty years of bringing 20th and 21st-century art to the public, during this “Happy 20” anniversary season, the MAMCS has extended an invitation to internationally renowned artists and undertaken a comprehensive review of the presentation of its collections. After your visit, take the time to follow the Street-Art Tour of the Station district and slowly go back to the city center to enjoy a good Alsatian dinner.