Strasbourg was given the honored distinction of being the “Christmas Capital in 2015”, so of course, we had to put it on our European Christmas itinerary! And it’s not without reason. Strasbourg is touted as having the oldest Christmas market in all of Europe, originating in 1570. The city of Strasbourg is really quite beautiful and is the economic and cultural capital, as well as largest city, of the Alsace region. The Alsace region has quickly become one of my favorite places in all of Europe. You can read more about our time in the magical city of Colmar, as well as the wine route through the area.
A few of the fun things we did in Strasbourg included:
1) Walk the city at night! The whole city is lit up with a beautiful light show. There is a huge lit Christmas tree in the main plaza, as well as strings of lights for miles. It’s gorgeous!
2) Enjoy one of the free Christmas concerts. My favorite Christmas concert on the whole trip was in Strasbourg. I found the listing on this website here (for Christmas activities in the Alsace). One night we sat in a beautiful church, cozied up on benches, and listened to two a cappella groups sing Christmas carols in French, German and English. It was so wonderful and really helped us ring in the Christmas spirit:)
3) Wander through the Christmas markets. My favorite market was the one around the huge cathedral of the city. We drank Vin Chaud (hot mulled wine with spices, yum!), and feasted our eyes on the gorgeous ornaments and other handmade crafts:)
4) Stroll through Petite France. The oldest area of Strasbourg is called Petite France, and is made up of the quaint half timbered homes made famous in the Alsace. The area has canels and the river flowing through it, and it makes a fun walk going over bridges and surveying the old town!
5) Take a ride on the Battorama. This little boat cruise, complete with headsets in your language is a fun and informative little jaunt around the city. While I would have liked to learn more history of the city, it did help me get my bearings and see a lot of the city I would never had encountered just walking.
Strasbourg is a fascinating city. Unfortunately, because of the bombings in Paris a few weeks before we went to France, many of the regularly scheduled Christmas events were closed. However, it’s still worth a visit at Christmas, it’s just beautiful! I just could not get over how charming the architecture was, and loved the vibe of the big city. It’s certainly bigger than any of the other towns in the Alsace, but has a lot of fun restaurants and fun to enjoy:)