There is nothing quite like the tingly, festive feeling experienced when you walk around a Christmas market. The smells of traditional festive fare wafting through the air such as ginger, cinnamon and mulled wine tantalise the nose. The eyes are treated to a host of visual delights, from Christmas trees and tinsel to Swiss-looking chalets and snow decorations. Anyone who has been to a Christmas market will remember it and the Europeans have a particularly impressive selection to choose from.
Here is a list of the top three Christmas markets in France and Germany.
𝑭𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒄𝒆 – 𝑱𝒐𝒚𝒆𝒖𝒙 𝑵𝒐𝒆̈𝒍!
The Alsatians have a strong advantage when it comes to Christmas markets. The beautiful half-timbered architecture lends itself completely to that festive feeling with buildings already resembling gingerbread houses. All that is needed is a bit of festive spirit and lights and smells and you have a very convincing Christmas atmosphere. It not surprising, then that two of the best three French Christmas markets are in Alsace.
At the top of the list is Strasbourg, the oldest Christmas market in France and known locally as the Christkindelsmärik. This word comes the from the Alsatian language and literally means “Christ child’s market”. Situated near the hugely imposing and impressive cathedral and with the beautiful half-timbered houses all around the feeling here is one that is rarely replicated. A real feast for all the senses!
In second place is Reims. Christmas chalets pop up all around the famous cathedral and there is a Ferris wheel so the beautiful sight can be viewed from on high. A spectacle not to be missed.
Third place goes to Colmar. In Alsace, and having the advantage of those gorgeous gingerbread houses, there are actually six different markets in Colmar. It is a small city, so they can all be visited on foot in the same evening, but the bunting and festive decorations spread throughout and offer a truly festive feel.
𝑮𝒆𝒓𝒎𝒂𝒏𝒚 – 𝑭𝒓𝒐𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒆𝒊𝒉𝒏𝒂𝒄𝒉𝒕𝒆𝒏!
Cologne (Köln in German) has first place. There is something about having an imposing cathedral as a backdrop to remind us of the origins behind the Christmas market. There are several markets in Cologne, but the real stunner is the Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom (Christmas Market at Cologne Cathedral). You can make a lovely weekend of visiting Cologne during the Christmas market season.
Dresden is in second place. It is the oldest German Christmas market dating back as far as 1434. It is traditionally known as Striezelmarkt. Striezel is the today known as Stollen – a rich marzipan bread – and originated in Dresden. The lovely baroque buildings and high-quality stalls make it a wonderful experience to visit this delightful city at Christmas.
In third place is Berlin. There are several individual markets spread across the city, but the most eye-catching and impressive is the one in Charlottenburg with its artisan stalls, roast chestnuts and various rides.
𝑨𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒍𝒍 𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒏𝒆𝒓 …
Perhaps overall, though, the best is Strasbourg. There is nothing that truly matches the architecture of this UNESCO-listed heritage site. With the gothic cathedral and the Hansel and Gretel houses, the atmosphere in Strasbourg in the run-up to Christmas is quite unlike anywhere else.
𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚 𝐓𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐭𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐨𝐧 𝐄𝐧𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞 (𝐂𝐄), 𝐈𝐆𝐂𝐒𝐄, 𝐀 𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥 / 𝐈𝐁𝐃𝐏 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐟𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐲-𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐢𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐥𝐲 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐝.
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