Ever want to visit one of the many European Christmas markets? Well, I went with a couple friends to the "Marche de Noel" or "Christkindelsmärik" in Strasbourg, France! Instead of me just gushing about it, I thought you could see for yourself how magical Strasbourg is this time of year! Enjoy!
But first, a bit about the market...
Apparently, Strasbourg first held a Christmas market back around the 12th century. But the market that we know today started around 1570, right around the time that Alsace (the region in which Strasbourg is located) changed from one branch of Christianity (Catholicism) to another (Protestantism). Either way - 12th century or 16th century, you get the point - it's one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe.
Today, the market boasts 300 stalls, spread over nearly a dozen locations throughout the city. Frankly, it's pretty amazing! If you want to check out more about the market or are interested in going, check out the Strasbourg Capital of Christmas website!
Cool facts about the Christmas Market and Strasbourg:
Alsatian, a dialect of German, was spoken in the region until the 20th century.The name "Christkindelsmärik" is actually Alsatian in origin.
The market gets about 2 million visitors annually (I think all 2 million were visiting when I was).
The Great Christmas tree (in French le Grand Sapin) displayed in Strasbourg is always a minimum of 30 meters (that's almost 100 feet tall) and comes from one of the forests of Alsace, Moselle and the Vosges Mountains. This year, the tree came from the Donon area of Lorraine.
Strasbourg is one of the three main capitals of the European Union. The other two are Brussels and Luxembourg.
Strasbourg is on France's eastern border with Germany and has been part of both Germany and France (depending on the war).
The name "Christkindelsmärik" is still used for the market, along with "Marche de Noel".
There are gnomes everywhere!
And we saw a blue bear...
Beautiful, and yep, it was that crowded...
The buildings are all decked out....
The Strasbourg Cathedral makes a beautiful backdrop to the decorations...
The building's facade is not only decorated with actual Christmas decorations, but also with a trompe l'oeil embellishment.
Every kind of Christmas decoration is available!
Churches are festive...
Just like the department stores....
Come back next week to find out
what we ate and drank
Have you been to a Christmas market in Europe, in the U.S. or somewhere else? I'd love to hear about it on Facebook or in Traveleidoscope's comment section!