Text by Molly Wilkinson
A mix of French and German culture makes Strasbourg one of the most interesting towns to visit in France. Located near the German border, the region has a strong identity and traditions built on both country’s customs. Discover the city with us, including how to navigate its legendary Christmas markets.
The historic center features the iconic Alsatian architecture of brightly colored buildings and exposed beams. The center is small and encircled by a canal. We’d suggest exploring the windy streets by foot or bike, using the Cathedral as a guide on the horizon.
Things To Do
Each year at the end of November, Strasbourg hosts some of the best Christmas markets in France. There isn’t just one but rather several spread across the town in squares and down long boulevards.
Our best advice, go early in the day and just wander. The stands open around 11 a.m. and are fairly crowd-free until the sun sets. Visiting mid-afternoon allows for a different perspective and certainly less worry that your vin chaud will be jostled by a fellow marketgoer. The markets are often set up in surprising places, so the best is to walk around and see what you find.
There are authentic stands from local businesses and more touristy stands. How do you tell the two apart? Read the signs that hang behind the counter or at the front of the stand. You are looking for the Alsatian name. If they do not have this sign, they could be a reseller that’s come in to sell for the holidays.
Keep an eye out for the Mirelle Oster pain d’epices (gingerbread) stand. As well as her famous shop in just two steps away from the Cathedral, she has a beautiful stall in the markets as well.
Foodie favorites include: kugelhopf, vin chaud made with different wines, and aligot (gooey mashed potatoes and cheese).
For a more detailed guide on the Christmas markets in 2023 click here.
If you want to widen your Christmas market experience, visit nearby Obernai, Kaysersberg, Colmar, or Barr. Germany is just a 30-minute drive from Strasbourg and the markets in Baden-Baden are certainly worth the trip.
Where To Stay
Where To Eat
6 rue de la Rape
A magical tea shop that specializes in expertly decorated madeleines (themed after a French film or actor) and tea blends inspired by travels that the two owners have taken. The tea room is very cosy and has been visited by celebrities and politicians the world over. Stop for tea or brunch, and finish with a browse in the shop.