Strasbourg is self-proclaimed la Capitale de Noël after it was named the Best European Christmas market by European Best Destinations. A couple years ago it lost its title but it remains a beautiful city to discover and it’s the oldest Christmas markets in France (started in 1570).
The centre of the city is on an island and it’s also where the markets take place. During the Christmas season, it’s mostly pedestrian-only. Cars are permitted in some places during certain hours (you can see the coloured dots on the picture below; each bridge has different instructions for cars).
All of this information, we received after first arriving on the island and getting a map at the information chalet.
The map for the Christmas markets and Illuminations
The Airbnb we rented was in the middle of the island, close to Place Kléber and very convenient to visit all the markets.
The weather Saturday was great, a little chill and with some blue skies. Sunday started off rainy but cleared by mid afternoon. If you’re able to do the markets during the week, I definitely recommend it. There will be less people even though the markets close at 8pm. They close at 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday’s markets were very busy but by Sunday mid afternoon the crowds had thinned and we were able to go through much of the markets, stopping and seeing what they had to offer.
My favourite markets was at Place Broglie and place Benjamin Zix both for very different reasons.
A chalet at Place Benjamin Zix
Another chalet in front of the UNESCO site la Petite France building
The market at place Benjamin Zix was small but had lovely stuff; Christmas ornaments, decorations, nativity scenes, food and mulled wine. It was also close to la Petite France which made the scene magical.
The photos above are of the markets at Place Broglie which was the biggest Christmas market in Strasbourg so there was more of everything; ornaments, decorations, nativity scenes and lots of food and wine. There are also more people but we still enjoyed strolling along and checking out different stands.
The market at Place Kléber is worth a visit, mostly to see the Christmas tree. The chalets there seem mostly like charities which is a great idea to encourage to give back.
We visited all the markets and enjoyed them all, on Place Saint Thomas which had live music when we were there. Palais des Rohan market, although small, it’s close to the river and quaint.
The market on Place Gutenberg was dedicated to Finland this year. There were some chalets with wine and some artisan work.
The markets surrounding the cathedral were always busy so we walked through them but didn’t browse much. By Sunday evening once we went to see them as it was less busy, they had already started closing up.
The other highlight of the markets and the Christmas season are the lights. There are some everywhere on the island and they are beautiful. Pictures don’t do it justice but here’s a little taste of what you would see;
At la Place Kléber with Strasbourg Christmas tree (there’s also an ice rink)
A close up of the Christmas tree (the lights change colour)
A make shift Christmas tree on a building
Chandeliers hanging at every 40-50 feet on this street
More Christmas lights along the streets in Strasbourg
Beautiful light display over market chalets
Entering the city, more pretty lights
The cathedral lit up and the street leading up to it is also lit up with beautiful lights
I haven’t been to any other European Christmas markets but I would without a doubt recommend Strasbourg.
We enjoyed the food immensely and the prices were good (especially now that we’re paying Paris prices), we enjoyed some of the local cuisine which is highly influenced by Germany. Even if our accommodations were a little more expensive then what we wanted to pay, if you plan in advance you should be able to find something more affordable.
I would also suggest at least two full days to be able to fully discover the market and walk through them. If you can go during the week, I highly recommend it as well, it’ll be a little more easy going as you browse through the markets.
We came home with a couple souvenirs (Christmas themed, of course) including a small wooden Christmas tree since we’ll be sticking around Paris for the holidays this year.
I hope you all enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it and looking back at our weekend away!