Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas

This weekend we rented a car and spent Saturday in Strasbourg, France.  Strasbourg is on the border of France and Germany and throughout it’s history has been a part of each country several different times.  Although currently a French city, it is clearly German in heritage…the name, the language, the architecture.  One of our goals for the day was to walk into Germany across a pedestrian/bicycle bridge which we did.  Unfortunately the bridge was much further from the part of the city we were in so the three mile walk to Germany was unexpected.  But, regardless, I’m adding Germany to my list of countries visited this year!  Who cares that we were only there for 10 minutes?

We were out the door very early but I had a warm loaf of cinnamon/cream cheese bread from the Paris Bread Co. on my lap and that kept us content for the long drive.

Strasbourg is home of Europe’s oldest Christmas market.  Now, I don’t know if that’s really true but it dates back to 1570 and I haven’t read of any that occurred prior. Strasbourg is also home to the largest living Christmas tree and we saw that, too.  Very pretty and there was a choir singing while we were in the plaza with the tree, so that was a treat.

It was a chilly day but we attempted to keep warm with hot apple cider and chaud vin (hot wine).  The food has a distinctive German flair…pretzels (I’m sorry…bretzels) were all over the place but they had a tough competitor in very large beignets.  We ate both.  And there was lots of gingerbread.  I have a loaf in my refrigerator here and a nice bag of iced gingerbread cookies we nibbled on while we decorated the tree last night.

There are 12 Christmas markets in Strasbourg.  The main market, but actually a smaller one, surrounds the Cathedral Notre Dame which is quite beautiful and boasts of an astronomical clock but we missed the 12:30 time when the clock puts on a little “show”.  We found very funny hats at that market.

We visited three of the 12 markets and that was plenty.  At a certain point they all begin to look the same.  But we enjoyed looking at all the Christmas decorations for sale as well as the decorations in the streets.  The buildings and alleys were quite beautiful.  I can see it being a nice weekend getaway but we only had a day and we all felt we accomplished what we set out to do.  We left with a large bag of beignets, gingerbread and some trinkets as keepsakes.

We are now ready to take on the Christmas markets in Paris.  While not quite so famous, they are close and quite festive…some with ice rinks and others with ferris wheels.  There is just too much to do in December, isn’t there?

Trolls?  Witches?

Trolls? Witches?

Rows and rows...

Rows and rows…

Oh, so many to choose from.

Oh, so many to choose from.

Are they drooling?

Are they drooling?

Bretzels!

Bretzels!

Every imaginable nativity set.

Every imaginable nativity set.

A vendor's sign for his drinks.

A vendor’s sign for his drinks.

Chaud vin.

Chaud vin.

Nutella being drizzled on Elizabeth's crepe.

Nutella being drizzled on Elizabeth’s crepe.

Always best to take in the aroma first.

Always best to take in the aroma first.

Pretty bird ornaments.

Pretty bird ornaments.

Gingerbread ornaments

Gingerbread ornaments

Gingerbread ornaments

Gingerbread ornaments

Chocolate crayons!

Chocolate crayons!

Something curious about the mushrooms ornaments.  They kind of grow on you.  Like mold.

Something curious about the mushrooms ornaments. They kind of grow on you. Like mold.

Fluffy beignets; so good!

Fluffy beignets; so good!

The witches of Grimm.

The witches of Grimm.

Not much to say about this.

Not much to say about this.

No.

No.

Pretty Germany with the Black Forest in the distance.

Pretty Germany with the Black Forest in the distance.

Dusk.

Dusk.

I just liked the sky on our tram back into the city.

I just liked the sky on our tram back into the city.

Flocked trees just like Grandma Kelley!

Flocked trees just like Grandma Kelley!

With "the tree".

With “the tree”.

This is one of my favorite pictures.

This is one of my favorite pictures.

It's the largest living Christmas tree in Europe!

It’s the largest living Christmas tree in Europe!

This is why you don't ask others to take your family picture.

This is why you don’t ask others to take your family picture.

This is a typical scene even in Paris.

This is a typical scene even in Paris.

All the alleys were decorated differently.

All the alleys were decorated differently.

Our favorite market.

Our favorite market.

Stacks of beautiful gingerbread.

Stacks of beautiful gingerbread.

Tom and his German concoction.

Tom and his German concoction.

Chocolate-covered pineapple on a stick.  My face is now frozen I'm so cold.

Chocolate-covered pineapple on a stick. My face is now frozen I’m so cold.

All kinds of gingerbreads.

All kinds of gingerbreads.

It's frost but had the look of snow.  And it did snow on the way home but didn't last.

It’s frost but had the look of snow. And it did snow on the way home but didn’t last.

No.

No.

Enjoying a candied apple.

Enjoying a candied apple.

No.

No.

Yes!

Yes!

No.

No.

This would not fit on my house.

This would not fit on my house.

Our drive to Strasbourg.

Our drive to Strasbourg.

The stork is the official bird of the Alsace region.  That is all I know.

The stork is the official bird of the Alsace region. That is all I know.

Lots of Santas.

Lots of Santas.

The Rhine River.

The Rhine River.

We thought these were perfect for Santa Mouse!

We thought these were perfect for Santa Mouse!

Tom and Julian strolling the path in Germany.

Tom and Julian strolling the path in Germany.

On the Rhine.

On the Rhine.

The balls on these trees are mistletoe!

The balls on these trees are mistletoe!

Crossing the bridge back to France.

Crossing the bridge back to France.

Pedestrian bridge over the Rhine.

Pedestrian bridge over the Rhine.

First into Germany!

First into Germany!

Categories: Kelley's Kilometers | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas

  1. Rebecca

    It’s all so familiar to me!! The Belgian ones are so similar….must be more heavily French than Dutch influence! German markets ( and Austrian are awesome too….I am still have all my beautiful. Mad linens from there). So glad you got to enjoy!! ( though I think you might hit sugar coma soon! :). )

  2. Colleen Hartman

    Would it be true to say that you ate no balanced meals on Sat.? Everything looked so pretty and delicious.You all looked like you were having so much fun. Thanks for increasing our education! The bread treat for the drive sounded scrumptious! Your adventure sounds like one very long and lovely vacation! Th pictures are fantastic! Hugs.

  3. Great photos, looks like a great little visit!

  4. Linda

    Wow! If your blog doesn’t put me in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will. I love all the amazing photographs. It reminds me of one of my favorite cities in Germany, Stuttgart. It is worth another trip to Germany. The entire village is decorated for Christmas & they sell some of the best ornaments in Europe. We are decorating our tree this week. How long does it take a letter to reach you from Middleton? I’ll send you a card as soon as we receive them from Tiny Prints.

  5. Karen Hoffmeier

    The pictures are fabulous. It just seems like a wonderful adventure. What a great education for the kids. Wish we could share some of these side trips with you.

  6. Karen Hoffmeier

    With all the beignets, baguettes, and gingerbread, it’s a good thing you all have to walk a lot. Sounds like a wonderful day Saturday. I also loved your blog about trimming your Christmas tree. You may have prettier trees some years, but this will always be the most memorable tree. Great pictures, too,
    which will just add to the memories.

    How soon after you return to stateside will you write your book?

    Love, Dad/grandpa H.

  7. Megan

    Magical! Lovely festive photos. What fun to visit this city at Christmas time.

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