It’s Christmastime in Strasbourg, the “Capital of Christmas”, which naturally means that hotel prices are out of this world, and the city is flooded with tourists. Despite all of these inconveniences though, it’s a wonderful time to be in Alsace.
The past couple of weekends, I’ve had the opportunity to do some day trips from Strasbourg and explore the markets and festivities outside of the city I live. Because let’s face it- I love Strasbourg, but it’s definitely not all there is to this region.
The first day trip I made was to Colmar, which, admittedly, I’ve been to before, only not in time for the Christmas markets.
Colmar is essentially your classic, storybook French city, packed with all the colorful half-timbered Alsacian buildings you can imagine. Add mulled wine, cute little christmas trinkets, and all the potatoes, saurkraut, and sausage you could want, and you have a tourist’s dream. Colmar is a beautiful city to just walk around and see all the sights for a day or a weekend (including the other Statue of Liberty and museum and Bartholdi Museum).
The next weekend, I hopped on the Christmas Navette (a bus that goes from Colmar to a few of the villages with Christmas Markets), and made a stop in Kaysersberg, which you may remember as “France’s Favorite Village”.
You may think that a small village couldn’t possibly be that crowded, right? Well, you’d be wrong. I’m not sure what Christmas in the village was like before, but winning that award definitely made Kaysersberg a tourist destination if it wasn’t already.
Kaysersberg is one of those smaller villages that I love- unlike the way too small villages I’ve worked in, this village as a definite and very cute center of town, and more than a couple of restaurants, a bakery, and a grocery store. (I realize that that’s not a lot to ask for, but I work in REALLY small villages.). In other words, something to do. Spending a day walking through the markets and little artisan shops, walking up to the castle remains and in joying the view of the vineyards and village was a very nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Last, but certainly not least, I was able to spend my last few hours in Riquwihr watching the sun set and the Christmas lights light up.
If Kaysersberg was crowded, Riquewihr was even more so. Despite the crowd, the markets were lovely, and the lights even more so. As nice as it would have been to stay longer or see it in the daytime, Kaysersberg took much longer than anticipated and so we had enough time to explore all the markets and window shop a bit, but not much else. But even with the limited time, I still think it’s a charming village and definitely worth the visit!
After Riquewihr, it was time to go home for a much-needed rest and a place with heating. I love travel, but sometimes it can definitely be exhausting.