December has been enchanted by Christmas for me as far as my childhood memories stretch back. There was the Advent calendar and its chocolate-filled windows to be opened each morning. There were crisp toffee apples consumed together with my parents, followed later by traditional Bredele, those little cakes shared as a family, and finally with mulled wines shared between friends (take note that mulled white wine is sometimes more popular here). This is all that Strasbourg has to offer as the capital of Christmas! This city of discovery is being prepared for you as we speak.
At the heart of the Grande Île
Discovering Strasbourg during the Christmas season naturally entails booking your flights and hotels well in advance of the month of December. I advise those travelling without a car to choose a hotel at the heart of the central island or its immediate surroundings. There’s something here to suit all budgets, and among these I can heartily recommend Hôtel Beaucour which is three minutes on foot from the Cathedral and is particularly well placed. The hotel’s well thought out rooms, cosy family spirit and enchanting decor put up for Christmas make the Beaucour a great starting point.
From here you will naturally go on to visit the enchanting spectacle of the stands around the cathedral.
There will be stands and stalls all around the centre of the city. If you truly feel the magic in front of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, it is because this is where the spirit of Christkindelsmärik has lived and resonated through Strasbourg since 1570.
Christkindelsmärik since 1570
Following la Place Broglie, you will then walk onto Place Kléber, where the unmissable and sizeable Christmas tree will be the most popular attraction to be photographed and put on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. It must be said of the tree that it is particularly majestic and that its decoration is exceptional.
More than ten thousand people will be present for the switching on of the Christmas lights.
None of the historic centre’s areas will be outdone. La Place Benjamin Zix, which is in the Petite France quarter, welcomes the Rois Mages or Wise Men market. Not far from here, I strongly advise you to visit the Diehard Alsatian Local Producers market. With its beers, jams and gingerbreads, this is where local artisans are showcased, recognised and appreciated by the Alsatians. You will love the Confitures du Climont with their Christmas jam, a recipe made from organic clementines, thin strips of candied angelica and fir liquor.
Small producers, a large Christmas tree and romantic enchantment
It is at the end of the day, as night falls, that you will truly enjoy discovering Strasbourg. This is when the romantic magic sets in. The warmth of the mulled wine, the conviviality of the winstub or traditional Alsatian wine bar and the illuminated town let the magic flow like never before. You will adore walking around the Carré d’Or, which is one of the most inspiring areas, where you can enjoy a late cruise with Batorama and take in Strasbourg’s vibrant festive colours.
Strasbourg is simply enchanting and will let your imagination run riot. She holds the power to make you into her best ambassador.
2 Hints and tips
Mark your calendar: from the 25th of November to the 31st of December 2016 (weekends are of course popular among getaway enthusiasts)
The following sites will help you to find out more about entertainment on offer:
– For Strasbourg
– For Alsace