|Christmas enchantment abounds along Rue des Marchands in Colmar, France. © CRTA - Zvardon. All images in this post are property of Alsace Tourism and are copyrighted. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Updated for 2016
Do you believe in Christmas magic? You will by the time you visit the enchanting Christmas markets of Alsace, France! The Christkindelsmäriks or Christmas markets of Alsace have long attracted visitors as well as locals since the 16th century, namely Strasbourg with its Christmas Market established in 1570. From the moment you arrive, you'll find these storybook villages come to life with vibrant markets, twinkling lights and delightfully decorated stalls brimming with hand-crafted gifts and ornaments not to mention the tantalizing aromas wafting through the air with the promise of gourmet delights and spicy mulled wine. Alsace celebrates the Seven Lands of Christmas from Haguenau in the north to Mulhouse in the south and is a journey of holiday splendor from one village decked out in its finest to the next—all welcoming visitors and residents alike to revel in the sights and sounds of Christmas! If you enjoy Christmas as much as I do, you must visit one of these Alsatian Christmas markets during the holidays!
Strasbourg—November 25 - December 31
|Strasbourg's Place de la Cathédrale in France is lined with market chalets brimming with gifts and tasty treats. © CRTA - Zvardon|
Steeped in history and tradition, Strasbourg’s Christmas market has been drawing visitors since 1570 thus making it France’s oldest. Each year, a country is invited to be the official Guest of Honor and this year, you’ll find the cultures and traditions of Switzerland flourishing in Place Gutenberg alive with folk music, Swiss cuisines and handcrafted gifts. Listen carefully for the sounds of carolers carried on the wind as you make your way through the colorful chalets of the Christmas market. The main markets are located in Place de la Cathédrale, Place Gutenberg, Place Broglie, Place Kléber is filled with cakes and breads, Petite France is home to fresh produce and to fresh-baked gingerbread, and finally Place de la Gare.
- Sun.—Thurs. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Fri.—Sat. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Dec. 24: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Kaysersberg—Nov. 25 - Dec. 23, Fri-Sun ONLY PLUS Dec. 19-23
Moving south to Sélestat, you’ll find the Land of the Christmas Trees in this central Alsatian province. Within the Humanist Library in Sélestat, there are historical accounts revealing the very first documented sale of Christmas trees dating back to 1521. Did you know that in the 15th century, Christmas trees were first decorated with ribbons and colored paper with apples and candies as ornaments? It wasn’t until the 18th century when candles were placed in holders on the trees and not until the 19th century when glass balls replaced the red apples.
The Kaysersberg Christmas Market is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. but ONLY Friday through Sundays from Nov.25—Dec. 18. Plus, Mon.—Fri., Dec. 19—23.
Colmar—November 25 - December 31
|Perhaps one of the most picturesque of all the Alsatian villages, Colmar is home to the 2nd largest Christmas market in Alsace, France. © CRTA - Meyer.|
Claiming title as the 2nd largest Christmas market in Alsace, France is Colmar. Perhaps one of the most picturesque of all the Alsatian villages, here you are immersed in Christmas sublime with storybook timber-framed buildings beautifully decorated with sparking lights and festive garlands creating an ambiance that is truly Christmas. There are four main markets in Colmar: Place Jeanne d'Arc is brimming with tempting gourmet delights; Place de I’Ancienne Douane features handcrafted gifts and toys plus tempting morsels; Place des Six Montagnes Noires caters to children with toys and treats; and finally in Place des Domincans, you’ll find all the Christmas trees, garlands and holly plus countless decorations you’ll need.
Hours may vary by location but generally run from:
- Mon.—Thurs. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Fri.—Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Dec. 25: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- Dec. 31: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
|Christmas gifts are plentiful in one of Colmar's Christmas market stalls. © PSN - Betsch.|
Mulhouse—November 22 - December 28
|Renowned for its Christmas fabric, the Mulhouse Christmas market in Place de la Réunion is draped with festive garlands and fabrics. © CRTA - Meyer.|
Renowned for its unique Christmas fabric manufactured by local businesses just for the Christmas market, Mulhouse’s Place de la Réunion is draped in festive décor from its lavishly decorated buildings to its Christmas market chalets brimming with homemade gingerbread, scrumptious delicacies, handcrafted ornaments and toys. Combine the scents of mulled wine and cinnamon with the sounds of Christmas carolers, and you complete the Christmas theme in the village square. Plus when night falls, the City Hall is transformed into a giant Advent calendar from December 1 to 24 and each night, one window opens up to reveal hidden surprises while troubadours recount the stories of the Nativity!
Mulhouse Christmas Market Hours:
Nov. 24—Dec. 27: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., EXCEPT:
- Dec. 24: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Dec. 25: CLOSED
- Dec. 26-27: 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
I hope you enjoyed this tour through the Christmas Markets of Alsace, France. As you can see, they are filled with the classic traditions and Christmas wonder that we all have come to love during this festive time of the year.
Share your plans for the holidays with our readers.
I leave you with these parting shots of the magical Alsatian Christmas Markets.
|Kaysersberg, Alsace, France is yet another picturesque village with storybook houses adorned in their holiday best.© CRTA - Meyer.|
|The Christmas market in Place Kléber in Strasbourg sparkles in a tapestry of Christmas lights in this dramatic view of the square. © CRTA - Meyer.|