Strasbourg isn’t just one of the most beautiful cities in France. It’s also home to the “Christkindelsmärik” a spectacular Christmas market and one of the oldest in Europe. It’s where you’ll find the highest Christmas tree in Europe, and if that’s not enough to bring you out in a severe dose of Christmas fever, there are several more Christmas markets in the city. Oh yes, it’s also the most illuminated city in Europe in December. No wonder it’s called the “Capital of Christmas”. A former winner of “Best European Christmas market destination” – here’s all you need to know about Strasbourg at Christmas…
History of Strasbourg Christmas Market
It began in 1570 in front of the Gothic Cathedral with just a few stands. Today there are more than 300 market stalls spread throughout the city. The heart of the market remains in Place Broglie (where it moved to in 1870) and Place de la Cathédrale, the lovely medieval square in front of Strasbourg’s graceful Gothic cathedral.
What makes Strasbourg Christmas Market so special
Strasbourg’s Christmas atmosphere really is unique. The city is adorned in its most beautiful finery, the houses are richly decorated and at nightfall the illuminations are nothing short of astonishing. The “Carré d’Or” (the “Golden Square” which encompasses the city’s prettiest streets) is especially spectacular. Don’t miss the rue des Hallebardes, with its magnificent crystal chandeliers hanging in glass boxes above the street – only in France!
And, don’t forget to pop into the pharmacy at No. 10 Place de la Cathédrale. It’s the oldest pharmacy in France and well worth stopping off for. This lovely area is full of pretty houses including the Maison Kamerzell built in 1571, a fabulous example of Renaissance architecture.
At the heart of this latticework of Christmas lights, the Cathedral is bathed in golden light. Throughout December, Strasbourg is the most illuminated city in Europe – if you’re a fan of Christmas, you’re going to love it.
Strasbourg Christmas markets 2023
Expect to have your Christmas spirit lifted with scents of spices, cinnamon, mulled wine and bredle biscuits. A profusion of garlands, Christmas decorations, cribs, nativity scene figures and advent wreaths decorate the streets. Stalls are piled with traditional pottery, tablecloths, decorations and handmade toys at the colourful markets. This is the place to buy great arts and crafts. From glass paintings, marquetry, music boxes and embroidered tablecloths to earthenware pottery. The food stalls will certainly tempt you. Spiced bread, kugelhopf cake, berawecka cake, traditional sweets and cakes, mulled wine and, of course, foie gras.
You will find the Strasbourg Christmas markets at:
The “Christkindelsmärik”, Place Broglie. There are around 100 chalets tempt you to buy artisan goods, decorations and local products.
The Christmas Market, Place de la Cathédrale. You’ll find it front of the Gothic cathedral – it’s picturesque and has a lovely atmosphere.
And, there are several themed markets where you can buy speciality produce from the local area, gifts and more. Details from the tourist office website (below).
Strasbourg has hosted a traditional Christmas tree for centuries. An ancient manuscript from 1605 describes decorated fir trees placed in Strasbourg’s guild houses during Advent. Every year, a thirty-metre tall Christmas tree is brought to Place Kléber. It’s decorated with colourful ornaments and shimmering lights. It is the highest decorated Christmas tree in Europe and its best to visit at 5 p.m. when the lights come on.
There are concerts, carol singing, storytelling, a carousel, ice rink and entertainments. Everything you need to make your Christmas trip complete!
Finally, don’t miss a visit to La Petite France, located on the Grande Île (Main Island). The river splits up into a number of canals and cascades through a small area of medieval half-timbered houses and baroque sandstone buildings. You’ll also find a year-round Christmas decorations shop here too!
When: From 24 November to 24 December 2023
More on Christmas in France
More on Strasbourg
Can’t make it to Strasbourg Christmas Market this year? Make your own traditional Alsacian Kugelhopf cake at home with Rachel Khoo‘s wonderful recipe.
It might not surprise you to know that mostly – Christmas in France is all about food… so buckle up, or maybe unbuckle your belt, for a fun, festive and foodie podcast: The A to Z of Christmas in France
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