I decided to spend the first two days of my vacation in the Capital of Christmas, also known as Strasbourg, France. The Alsace region of France, specifically the cities of Colmar and Strasbourg, are known specifically for their superb Christmas markets, which have been around since the 16th century! Although I didn’t make it to Colmar this time around! hopefully next time I will get there!
Situated right on the border of Germany, Strasbourg is the capital of the Alsace region in eastern France. It is also the official seat of the European Parliament. The city has any Germanic influences within its architecture and culture– even most shops and restaurants have signs in both French and German.
I arrived in Strasbourg via the night train– I opted for a couchette this time around. Basically, when you take a night train, you can either choose: 1st or 2nd class sièges, meaning that you sleep on a chair (first class chairs are more comfortable and there are less of them, but they are more expensive), OR you can pay more and sleep 1st or 2nd class in a couchette, which is basically a small bed in a compartment. The difference between first and second class is again price, bed comfort, space, and number of beds in a compartment (6 in second class and 4 in first class). I once paid for a second class siège back in 2010 when we went I Annecy and it sucked, so I splurged for a second class couchette- totally worth it because I was much more awake and energized when I arrived. It was about a 12-hour journey from Toulon, and luckily I was so tired I slept like a rock.
I arrived in Strasbourg ready to explore! After finding my hostel (which was more like a 500-person hotel) I grabbed a special Christmas market map, mapping out the ten markets in the city, and went on my way. The next two days were filled with checking out all of the markets, conversing in French and English with various vendors, sipping vin chaud, attending a Christmas concert at the Temple Neuf,and also seeing the major “must-see” attractions in Strasbourg. Overall, I think this would be a great place to be an assistant because you are close to quite a few cool cities in France, as well as Germany, Belgium, and Luxemburg.) I am extremely glad I got to spend a few days in France’s ninth-largest city; I highly recommend a trip to any die-hard Christmas fans like myself!
Notre Dame de Strasbourg was one of the most impressive cathedrals I have ever seen! I was literally blown away by the details.
La Petite France was one of my favorite areas of Strasbourg!