The Alsace region bursts into festive spirit and shows its wonderful magical side at the beginning of December. That’s when the Christmas markets open in stunning Strasbourg, captivating Colmar as well as in the fairy tale villages that dot the vineyards of this beautiful part of France.
The Alsace is also famous for its delicious white wines. There are the well-known Rieslings and Pinot Gris and the lesser known but delectable Gewürztraminer and Crémant (read sparkling wine). Alsatian foods are in a category of their own. Tarte flambée, the Alsatian style pizza is thin and tasty, tangy Chocroûte is a must-try. Bäckeoffe is a hearty casserole dish and Kugelhopf is a delectable bundt cake. Plus there are mouth-watering pretzels and vin Chaud (mulled wine) to enjoy while walking the streets and shopping the markets.
A Christmas tour that will make you believe…
Why not combine a stay in charming Strasbourg with a stop over at the foothills of the Vosges Mountains – the whole area really is picturesque beyond belief. The local colourful half-timbered houses look even prettier in the Christmas season. You half expect Hansel and Gretel to come skipping across the cobbles. Lights twinkle and every home with a window box is decorated for the holiday in high style. This area is home to several Plus Beaux Village de France (most beautiful villages in France) though you’ll need a car to see them all. And, we guarantee that the festooned, cobblestone streets of Riquewihr, Eguisheim and Kaysersberg are a sight you’ll never forget.
Enchantment in Alsace
Visit a cheese farm in the mountains, take a regional cooking class and go to a pop-up restaurant. Take a brilliant street art tour and learn about the special Christmas fabric that the town of Mulhouse creates every year to decorate the ancient town hall with.
Visit the Mulhouse Eco-Museum, which is nothing like what it sounds. The creator of this outdoor museum has collected authentic antique homes, barns and other buildings from throughout Alsace. He then moved them to one spot to create a village which at Christmas is beautifully decorated.
At the eco-museum village you’ll see people creating all types of Christmas specialities. There are artisan crafts and chefs making hearty winter stews and mulled wine – and of course, tastings are encouraged.
Christmas gifts galore
The only problem with taking a Christmas Market tour in Alsace is that at some point, you’ll wish you brought an empty suitcase. Why? Well you’ll want to transport all the unique, hand crafted items you pick up at the markets! Each market is different and unique. Some specialize in regional foods and gourmet items, scrumptious Christmas cookies, local beers and ciders. Others focus on handmade crafts including the most exquisite Christmas decorations that will definitely become family heirlooms. There’s knitwear, gift items as well as a gigantic choice of utterly charming knick knacks you will want to have back home to remind you of this amazing region…
Take a tour with family run Ophorus and visit the city and village markets of Alsace for your festive fix: ophorus.com
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