In the region of Alsace here in France, Christmas is a big deal.
The market in Strasbourg is considered one of the most famous markets in the world.
It draws around 2 million visitors each year,
some of them booking their hotel a year in advance.
It is also one of the oldest markets,
history showing they have been happening since around 1570.
Seeing as how they brought in around 16 million euros in profit last year just in Strasbourg you can probably understand why they are so vital to the cities and towns in this region.
It seems that every town or village of note has a market these days
and they all draw their own crowd.
Places you can park in most of the year are suddenly cordoned off.
Pay parks are set up and the people descend down upon Alsace in hoards.
This year I was able to visit three different towns to see their marché de noël:
Mulhouse, Colmar and Kaysersberg.
They were in high alert since the bomb threat to the Strasbourg Market in 2000
followed by the attacks in Paris this year.
I saw many an officer walking around with a machine gun in his hand. I didn't mind though. Hopefully that made things a little safer.
|Kitty sleeping in the Nativity|
I visited quite early this year.
Going to Colmar the first weekend and Kaysersberg on the second.
It's really the only way to visit without being crushed by the crowd.
It made a big difference in how much I enjoyed them.
The first year in Strasbourg we went near Christmas
and we could barely weave our way between the stands.
I loved it though so vowed to try and return at a better time.
This year I did it right.
There are stands for all kinds of goodies set up.
Candies and traditional Alsatian Christmas cookies,
all sorts of ideas for gifts
and of course the many spiced wine stands
and traditional Alsatian food stands dotted throughout the markets.
You can't visit without having at least one glass of hot spiced wine.
There are stands with huge pans 2 foot wide full of choucroute
and tartiflette, rosti and many other Alsatian specialties offered.
If you like potatoes and cheese you have found your way to heaven.
And then there are the dessert stands.
Crepes and waffles smothered in nutella and whip cream
are only the beginning of the offerings there.
Last but not least,
there is always at least one guy roasting chestnuts.
That is a treat you don't want to miss.
My last visit was Mulhouse and their market is much better than in years past.
They had many new stands and new lights and even a ferris wheel!
Mulhouse is the home of the fabrics museum
so each year they make a new fabric line just for Christmas
and use this fabric in the decorations around town.
This is the current line.
|The Mulhouse Christmas Tree|
I find Christmas here very enchanting and I look forward to it more and more each year. Unfortunately, I wont be decorating our house this year as we leave on Saturday to travel down south and spend the Holidays with Frenchie's family. Next year though I am having a tree and it will be decorated with lots and lots of icicles. I promise!
May this Holiday Season find you in good spirits.
May you be surrounded by friends and family
and find much joy in everything...