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Strasbourg, the Capital of Christmas

Updated 12.01.2013

A decorated building near the cathedral in Strasbourg, France.

At the Strasbourg Christmas markets, the decorations are elaborate.

Although in France, the Strasbourg Christmas markets rival those of Germany when it comes to elaborate Christmas decorations and displays. Alan and I enjoyed the festive scenery while on a walking tour with AMAWaterways. Our Rhine River cruise had stopped in Europe’s capital city—the European Parliament meets here—for an all day discovery that included a morning walking tour and an afternoon canal ride.

A decorated house in the Le Petite France section of Strasbourg, France.

A decorated house in the La Petite France section of Strasbourg.

Walking through the La Petite France section of Strasbourg, we caught our first glimpse of wreaths decorated with stuffed animals and more hanging from almost every window. Historically a German town, Strasbourg became part of Louis XIV’s France in 1681. In the following years, the city teetered between France and Germany depending on the current political situation.

A food booth near the cathedral in Strasbourg, France

A food booth near the cathedral

Strasbourg Christmas markets number 12 in all. You’ll discover a beautiful Christmas tree on Place Kléber and a skating rink on Place du Château. Many of the markets are located only a few blocks apart making for a pleasant day of walking or shopping. However, eating is a major part of the fun.

A glass of vin chaud will warm you up at the Strasbourg Christmas markets.

A glass of vin chaud will warm you up at the Strasbourg Christmas markets.

A hot drink  of vin chaud is the best way to warm up at the Strasbourg Christmas markets on a cold and slightly snowy December day. The decorative glasses are yours to bring home as a souvenir. Here’s a recipe for the tasty mulled wine just in case you’d like to fill up that glass after returning home.

Carousel in Strasbourg, France

Carousel at the Cathedral Christmas market

Christmas markets are family affairs. A fanciful carousel near the Strasbourg Cathedral provides fun for the children to make up for all the shopping that they must endure.

Teddy bears hang from rooftops in Strasbourg, France.

Teddy bears hang from a building near the Strasbourg Cathedral

Dating from 1570, the Strasbourg Christmas markets are the oldest in France. No wonder the city bills itself as the Capital of Christmas. My only regret is that we didn’t return for a night visit to see thousands of lights strung throughout the streets. What a sight that must be.

To read more about this trip of a lifetime, visit the Rhine River Christmas Market Cruise page.

Have you visited Strasbourg, France? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

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