Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Strasbourg: The Christmas Capital

Two weekends ago, I took a trip to beautiful Strasbourg! It lies on the border of France and Germany, in the Alsace region of France. In its long history, Strasbourg has exchanged French and German hands many times, which explains why you kind of feel like you're in Germany but speaking French. The mixture of the two can be seen in everything from the food to the architecture. 

Despite the beauty of the city, Strasbourg is most well known for being the Christmas capital. Every December, the city transforms into a Christmas wonderland filled with markets, food, lights and toys. The markets are set up in different sections of the city centre, mostly in the main squares and streets, which makes it easy to see everything. Strasbourg's puzzle of cobbled laneways are beautiful, but not in a way where you'll get lost. Ditch the map- you really don't need it.

Strasbourg is also home to one of the most amazing cathedrals I've ever seen. It is just so... I don't really have the words to describe it, because using words like 'big' and 'beautiful' just don't cut it. It's a must see, and you can't spend any amount of time in Strasbourg without eventually stumbling upon it. It's a cornerstone of the city.

The must-not-miss street for me was Rue Mercière. You look up and see the street lined with timber-framed houses and the gold lights purposefully hung leading the eye down the street, to the Cathedral. It's the perfect backdrop, in all its majesty. Other favourites were Rue des Serruriers, Rue du Bain-aux-Plantes, Place du Marché aux Cochons, Place Benjamin Zix and Place Saint Thomas.

You can't leave the Strasbourg christmas markets without trying some of the regions specialties. Try the mulled wine (french: vin chaud), choucroute (a dish of sauerkraut and sausages) and bredle (little Alsacian biscuits). Eating at the markets is half the fun of going, so definitely go on a empty stomach because you'll come out of the Christmas market haze with a belly as big as Santa Claus'.

I had a great couple of days in Strasbourg and really recommend it to anyone who wants to see a really great Christmas market. Are there any other christmas markets you have visited that we should all see? Let me know in the comments below!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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