As winter descends upon France, there’s a magical transformation that takes place in the region of Alsace. Nestled in the northeastern corner of the country, Alsace is renowned for its picturesque villages, half-timbered houses, and rich cultural heritage. However, during the holiday season, it becomes even more enchanting as it hosts some of the most captivating Christmas markets in Europe. For those seeking a festive escape from the bustling streets of Paris, a day trip to the Christmas markets in Alsace is the perfect solution.
Christmas markets in Alsace (2023)
When And How To Get There
From Paris, Alsace is easily accessible by train. The high-speed TGV train offers a comfortable and convenient option, whisking you away to Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace, in under two and a half hours. A network of well-connected trains makes traveling from Strasbourg to Colmar a breeze. Christmas markets typically kick off on the last weekend of November. However, in select towns, they might open a weekend earlier than the official start date. Additionally, some markets extend their festivities between Christmas and New Year, allowing visitors to continue enjoying the holiday spirit into the new year. If you have specific villages in mind for exploration, below you’ll find the precise 2023 dates along with their official websites for more detailed information.
|Location||Christmas Market Name||2023 Dates||Official Website|
|Bergheim||Marché de Noël de Bergheim||Dec 1 – 3
Dec 8 – 10
|Colmar||Colmar: La Magie de Noël||Nov 23 – Dec 29||Official Website|
|Eguisheim||Marché de Noël Authentique d’Eguisheim||Nov 24 – Dec 23||Official Website|
|Guebwiller||Noël Bleu||Nov 25 – Dec 24||Official Website|
|Guemar||Marché de l’Avent de Guemar||Dec 16 – 17||Official Website|
|Kaysersberg||Marché de Noël Authentique de Kaysersberg||Nov 24 – 26
Dec 1 – 3
Dec 8 – 10
Dec 15 – 19
|Mulhouse||Marché de Noël de Mulhouse||Nov 24 – Dec 23||Official Website|
|Obernai||Marché de Noël de la Gastronomie et de l’Artisanat d’Obernai||Nov 24 – Dec 31||Official Website|
|Ostheim||Marché de l’Avent d’Ostheim||Nov 25||Official Website|
|Pfastatt||Marché de Noël de Pfastatt||Nov 24 – 26
Dec 1 – 3
|Ribeauvillé||Marché de Noël Médiéval de Ribeauvillé||Dec 2 – 3
Dec 9 – 10
|Riquewihr||Marché de Noël Traditionnel de Riquevir||Nov 25 – Dec 21||Official Website|
|Sélestat||Noël à Sélestat||Nov 25 – Dec 29||Official Website|
|Strasbourg||Strasbourg: Capitale de Noël||Nov 24 – Dec 24||Official Website|
|Thann||Marché de Noël de Thann||Nov 24 – Dec 23||Official Website|
|Turckheim||Marché de Noël des Lutins||Nov 24 – Dec 30||Official Website|
Day Trip From Paris to The Christmas Markets in Alsace
Embarking on a day trip from Paris through the picturesque region of Alsace is quite an intense adventure, but it’s doable if you carefully select a few places to visit and plan your time in each destination. However, it’s highly recommended to stay overnight to fully experience the magic of this region.
Strasbourg: The Capital of Christmas
Start your day trip in Strasbourg, which boasts the oldest and one of the most renowned Christmas markets in Europe. The city’s UNESCO-listed Grande Île is transformed into a festive paradise, with the market’s centerpiece located in front of the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral. Stroll through the market’s wooden chalets adorned with twinkling lights, and discover handcrafted ornaments, regional delicacies, and unique gifts. And there’s more to explore beyond the central market at Place de la Cathédrale. Thematic markets offer a diverse range of treasures, from traditional crafts to contemporary designs.
Don’t miss the Place Kléber market, known for its magnificent Christmas tree and festive decorations. Indulge in a warm cup of mulled wine, and savor traditional Alsatian treats like bredele (small spiced cookies) and flammekueche (a savory, thin-crust tart).
Colmar: A Fairytale Town
After immersing yourself in the festivities of Strasbourg, continue your journey to Colmar, often referred to as the “Little Venice” of Alsace due to its charming canals and picturesque architecture. Colmar’s Christmas market is spread across several squares, each offering a unique atmosphere.
Christmas in Colmar is a truly enchanting experience, as this Alsatian town transforms into a holiday wonderland straight from a storybook. The cobblestone streets are lined with festively adorned half-timbered houses, each window adorned with twinkling lights and vibrant wreaths. The aroma of spiced mulled wine and freshly baked gingerbread fills the air, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that draws visitors into the heart of the festivities. The town’s central square, Place des Dominicains, hosts a bustling Christmas market where artisans showcase their handcrafted wares, from delicate ornaments to intricately designed candles. Carolers sing traditional Alsatian carols, adding a melodious backdrop to the joyful merriment. Every corner of Colmar exudes a magical ambiance, making it a destination that captures the essence of holiday cheer.
Riquewihr: A Medieval Gem
For a taste of medieval charm, make a stop in Riquewihr, a village that seems frozen in time. A short bus or car ride from Colmar is all it takes to reach this medieval gem. Surrounded by vineyards and fortified walls, Riquewihr is a living postcard of Alsatian heritage. Cobblestone streets wind their way through rows of impeccably preserved half-timbered houses. Riquewihr’s Christmas market, a jewel in the town’s crown, is a place where the holiday spirit comes alive in the most authentic way. Here, stalls offer handcrafted ornaments, local delicacies, and regional wines, creating an atmosphere of warmth and conviviality that invites visitors to partake in the rich traditions of the season. Riquewihr’s medieval ambiance, coupled with its festive market, ensures that every visit is a step back in time, an experience steeped in history, and an immersion in the heart of Alsace. As Riquewihr is a tiny village, its Christmas market exudes a more intimate ambiance than Strasbourg and Colmar.
The Village of Kaysersberg
Conclude your day trip in Kaysersberg, another exquisite Alsatian village nestled in the heart of the Vosges mountains. The Christmas market here radiates a cozy, authentic feel, with stalls selling handmade crafts and local specialties. Take a leisurely stroll along the cobblestone streets, soaking in the beauty of this charming town.
Staying overnight in Alsace?
Strasbourg and Colmar serve as ideal starting points for exploring other villages in Alsace due to their strategic locations and excellent transportation connections. Both cities are well-connected by train and road networks, making it convenient to venture out to neighboring towns. Additionally, Strasbourg and Colmar offer a range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals, making them comfortable bases for travelers. Furthermore, these cities provide a wealth of amenities, from restaurants serving local cuisine to shops and cultural attractions, ensuring that visitors have access to all they need during their stay. From Strasbourg and Colmar, travelers can easily plan day trips or short excursions to nearby villages, allowing them to immerse themselves in the unique charm and culture of each location before returning to the comfort of their base city in the evening. Overall, Strasbourg and Colmar’s central positions, transportation links, and amenities make them perfect hubs for exploring the wider beauty of Alsace. Explore the best accommodation options below!
A day trip to the Christmas markets of Alsace from Paris promises a memorable winter escape filled with enchanting sights, delightful aromas, and a warm, festive atmosphere. From Strasbourg’s grandeur to Colmar’s fairytale charm, and the medieval beauty of Riquewihr and Kaysersberg, each destination offers a unique experience. So, grab your scarf and gloves, and let the magic of Alsace’s Christmas markets create lasting holiday memories.