So for the last few years we have spent a weekend visiting a European Christmas market. Years ago we went to Copenhagen, (although that was just for the festive shops and Tivoli gardens), and since then have been to Bruges, Cologne and Brussels, and last year Vienna. The Germanic ones are the best by far, but going by Eurostar (which we did for Bruges and Cologne) is far better. When we were looking this year, Strasbourg in France came up as being voted the best Christmas market, and it looked such a pretty place too.
This huge Disney soft toy tree is at the train station. While we were stood there a man walked past, reached over the fence and pulled one of the toys, and the whole tree rippled (they must be attached to a cone shaped structure)- not sure what he was thinking would happen…
So on Friday night we got to the last train out to Paris, stayed in a hotel by the station, and on Saturday morning got the train to Strasbourg. Train travel is so relaxing- we brought some lunch with us, listened to podcasts, chatted and enjoyed the view.
We arrived at around 1pm, and our hotel room was ready so after leaving our bags we headed out.
This huge tree was in the centre of a square and smelled amazing! Like you were in the middle of a pine forest.
There were so many beautiful buildings- like something from a fairy tale. There were lots of markets (maybe 8?) scattered about the centre of the town, all within easy walking distance, so we just wandered.
There was a huge cathedral with a market in front- this was really similar to the centre of Cologne. We stopped for a drink here- I had some gorgeous hot apple juice with 7 spices and honey (I like going to France because I can actually understand a lot of the signs!) and Andy had a Gluwein (which is half the point of going I think!).
As well as plenty of Christmas markets, there was a lovely river so we had a walk along that for a bit as the sun was going down.
We had a bit of a rest in the hotel before heading back out to enjoy the markets in the evening before they closed.
Everywhere looked so pretty in the dark.
We walked back to the same markets from earlier. This time I had a hot chocolate to warm up (it’s got to be done).
The next morning our train wasn’t until lunch time, so we had a walk around the town, had a breakfast of almond croissant+ hot chocolate, before getting the train back to Paris.
We got the underground into the centre (after buying tickets, it turned out that the trains were free for that day) and then walked along the river, to the Louvre, then along to the Champs Elysée to the Christmas market there, although that was a bit of a nightmare and more like how I imagine Winter Wonderland to be- a lot of tat, a lot of fairground rides, and not really that festive. It was really busy, but there were police everywhere (not surprising) and most shops were searching bags, so one of us would wait outside with our rucksacks while the other went in. We bought some sandwiches for the train, and then headed back to check in for the Eurostar home.
It was such a lovely weekend- travelling by train is so much less stressful than by plane, and the markets were so festive, it was a great place to visit. I even managed to buy a few gifts so have finally begun my Christmas shopping (and nothing on Black Friday either!).
Are you starting to feel festive now? Are you a fan of Christmas markets?