The Strasbourg Christmas Markets are some of the oldest in France, and possibly even in Europe. In existence since approximately 1570, they encompass the entire Old Town and Petite France area of Strasbourg. They have beautiful lights creating a ceiling above you and decorations on almost every facade, lining every street. It’s like a walk thru a winter wonderland, day or night!
Strasbourg’s historic city center is actually an island surrounded by the Île River and is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1988. It is less than 1 mile long and about a half-mile at it’s widest, so it’s quite easy to walk the Grand Île, but there are a couple tram lines that run through it as well. It’s a beautiful city with a mix of old and new architecture.
The Christmas Decorations are just as pretty during the day, so be sure to pay attention to the building facades to see just how differently they’re decorated. Some of my favorite decorations were the animals!
Cathédrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg
Cost: FREE (Film about Astronomical Clock: $4)
The Roman Catholic Strasbourg Cathedral is the 6th tallest church in the world. (And, from 1647 to 1874 it was the world’s tallest building!) The site of the current cathedral dates as far back as the Argentoratum period (12 BC) and has been the site for many different religious buildings. Construction of the current building began around 1176 and lasted over 200 years. The cathedral houses one of the largest astronomical clocks. You can walk thru the Cathedral for free, but at noon each day, you can also see the film about the Astronomical Clock and the Apostle Procession that follows – the film & procession requires a ticket which can be purchased daily for $4.
Capital de Noël – Strasbourg’s Christmas Markets
The entire Grand Île area comes alive at night during Capital de Noël! With a ceiling of lights leading you down one street to the next, you can walk the entire Old Town area. Each square has a unique feel despite being in the same city. There’s a beautiful Great Tree at Place Kléber, the Guest Country market highlighting Christmas traditions from another country (it was Iceland when I was there in 2017 and is going to be Finland in 2018) and the interesting OFF Market that highlights mindful consumption in the holiday season.
One of the women at the front desk of my hotel suggested I take a boat tour around the island, so I did that the next morning. Just over an hour long, it is on a covered flatboat, so cozy enough in the December weather and includes headphones with commentary in a multitude of languages. During the ride, you learn about the history of Strasbourg, the old and new parts of the city and get to see the European Parliment Building in Strasbourg.
Museum Pass (1 Day)
If you enjoy art or history museums, then Strasbourg is the place for you! There are over a dozen museums here. You can visit an individual museum or buy a 1- or 3-day pass to visit as many as you wish!
On my 1-day pass, I saw:
1) the Musée Historique, where I tried out different armor helmets;
2) L’Aubette 1928 to see the art deco designs that were shocking when the building first opened in… 1928;
3) beautiful Renaissance and Baroque art at Musée des Beaux-Arts;
4) incredible Medieval stained glass and statues at Musée Œuvre Notre Dame; and finally,
5) the Musée Alsatian which offers a view into the life of everyday rural life in Alsace in the 18th and 19th century.
Food in Strasbourg
I did enjoy my first lunch at the Christmas market with the ever-popular vin chaud (mulled wine) and pretzels! The second day, I escaped a brief winter rain with a delightful quiche lorraine for lunch at Le Part Thé. And the first evening, I had an amazing pork chop and gnocchi dinner at Restaurant Les Saveurs. (Breakfast, not pictured, was at the hotel buffet.)
Where to Stay in Strasbourg: Best Western Plus Hôtel Monopole Métropole
Best Western Plus Hôtel Monopole Métropole was the perfect place to stay! It’s a short walk from the train station and another couple blocks into the Grand Île Old Town area. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. Plus, there were beautiful sitting areas on the first floor and a breakfast room with a full buffet every morning. The front desk staff was very friendly and offered recommendations when asked.
Budget for Strasbourg
My budget for 2 days at the Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, France came to a total of $253:
My budget has been translated to USD, based on my final credit card charge or a google conversion where I paid in cash.
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Love your Christmas Market posts! They are really putting me in a holiday mood.
I’m so happy you’re enjoying them!!
Love the museum pass idea! That’s how we like to see major cities, buying passes for attractions. Looks like a wonderful city!
They have so many museums there! The Museum Pass is an excellent, economical way to see them.
I just done the Christmas Markets for this year in Lille, France and Brugge, Belgium and loved it so much I am already thinking of next year. I am looking at doing some in Germany and maybe this area of France (I love a good road trip from London) and Strasbourg market does look interesting and beautiful. Got me thinking now 🙂
Ooh, I briefly considered Lille and Bruges on that trip but couldn’t fit them in. I do want to go back and visit both of those cities one day though! I’ve heard Germany is amazing and, of course, would highly recommend Strasbourg and Mulhouse.
Such a charming City. I love that you included the prices..
It was a very charming city!
I’d love to visit a European Christmas market! I’m off to the Birmingham Christmas market next week and hope that it will get me in the Christmas mood. The buildings in Strasbourg are very pretty and your post is great at showing how you don’t have to spend very much to enjoy your time there.
I’m so glad you liked the post! Have fun at the Birmingham Market. Christmas is coming, might as well put yourself in the mood as soon as you can!
We always love going to the Christmas markets in Europe. There is something so enchanting about them on a cold day, especially if it snows! I do miss that about Christmas in Australia! We visited the markets in Hamburg last year and it was wonderful, but I was freezing! I imagine that Strasbourg is even more romantic as it’s an even more beautiful city!
The snow and cold are often countered with hot wine (or hot chocolate)! And, yes it was absolutely magical and enchanting!
Such a good break down of costs and what to do. I love Christmas Markets and the Strasbourg ones look amazing. I love all of those Christmas trees!!
Looking forward to visiting here one day. Did you enjoy the Boat Tour? Would you recommend?
I did enjoy the boat tour! I found it a great way to learn about the history of Strasbourg and heard a fun story that made me look at the Cathedral de Notre Dame differently (namely about the spire being covered in a cap!).
I especially love the big teddy bears and other decorations on the outside of the buildings! It just looks so cozy! The boat tour is a very good tip. What a good alternation with walking around all day and discovering a city by foot.
The boat tour was a nice break from the walking! And, I agree – the teddy bears were one of my favorites!
Oh, Strasbourg at Christmas. The lights and decorations are so beautiful and add to a very charming city already! Beautiful pictures!
Thank you, I’m glad you liked them! The lights and decorations were some of the most beautiful I’ve seen.
Ok. I’m sold! This looks beautiful, especially at Chritmas time. I wonder if it is possible to take the boat trip at night? That would be magic with all the lights. A lunch with mulled wine and pretzels at the market is also for me!
I can’t remember how late the boat tours went, but it would be interesting to see everything lit up at night!
I have had the European Christmas markets on my list for awhile now but never really did any research as to which ones or where. Strasbourg sounds like one to add to our future travels! I had no idea they have the 6th tallest cathedral.. how neat!
I would absolutely recommend Strasbourg – and may even go back for a second visit one year to see it all again!
Nice to know that this can be done on a budget. Seeing the Christmas markets is one of my bucket list items. Strasbourg is one of my favorite places in the world so this would be fantastic to see. I love how the teddy bears are hanging from the buildings like garland accents. 🙂
This was my first time in Strasbourg and I absolutely loved it! I definitely want to go back, for the Christmas Market again but also to see it at other times of the year. The teddy bears were adorable – and very popular!
Wow, what a nice Best Western! Who is the cute lady in the helmet? 🙂 From a person who adores Christmas time, this hit the spot. Thanks for the blog!
It was a great Best Western! I had so much fun here. I think you will love visiting here, especially at Christmastime!