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Alsace late November

Hi everyone,

I will be travelling from Paris to the Alsace region on November 24th. I will be staying a week in the area before heading back to Paris to fly home.

Fortunately the Christmas markets will be just beginning in the region. We would like to choose one base and do day trips. We are interested in visiting Colmar, Strasbourg, a few of the Route de Vin villages, Chateau Haut-KÅ“nigsbourg and possibly heading into Germany for a day trip.

Does anyone have any suggestions about...
a) the best base in the region?
b) opinions about the best Christmas markets in the small Route de Vin villages?
c) a good day trip option into Germany (we are open to travelling for 2 hours each way)
d) the cheapest option to get from Paris to Strasbourg/Colmar?

Posted by Debbie
Narberth, PA
376 posts

Hi, Spencer.

I have not done this particular trip, but I planned it two years ago. Myself, I was going to base in Colmar because I have a tiny bit of familiarity with it, and I believe it to be centrally located for public transportation either up to Strasbourg or down to Basel or east to Freiburg and the Black Forest. As for Christmas markets in the wine villages, check out this link and keep checking closer to time for an updated schedule for the shuttles that run from Colmar to these smaller markets.

http://www.noel-colmar.com/en

If flying into Paris, I was planning on taking the train. If you use Rome2Rio, you can plug in starting and ending points.

Visiting Germany: I was targeting Black Forest markets, and yes, transportation time was on my mind. Again, using Rome2Rio, you can get an idea of how to travel from Colmar to Breisach am Rhine via bus and then on to Freiburg via train. Lots of other folks who post here will chime in with other suggestions.

One thing you can do while awaiting more responses is to use the Search feature at the top of the page. I recall many posts and replies re where to stay in the area.

Have fun researching. Though not something I can do in 2017, I hope to take this trip sometime soon.

Debbie

Posted by Spencer OP
17 posts

Thanks Debbie. The search function has been helpful.

It's funny, I posted a similar post on another forum and someone basically said "why would you stay in colmar?? The best Christmas markets are in Germany!" Another said "Colmar in November. Dreary and dull! Reconsider!" Everyone has their preferences...but I wanted some reassurances that Alsace is the right decision. We want to visit quaint villages, and see some Christmas markets along the way. Colmar seems like a great base for that.

Due to some restrictions I need to fly out of Paris...so going further into Germany seems like I would have to backtrack....

Should I reconsider and look at German markets instead? :O

Posted by Debbie
Narberth, PA
376 posts

I was planning a trip of about a week. So much to choose from. If you went by train from Paris (or CDG) via Stasbourg, you could choose to make it a day trip or stay over night, so say 2 days (or would you make it 2 nights?). Then on to Colmar for days 3,4,5,6. I think transportation is about 1 hour. Give 2 days (in any order) to Colmar itself, 1 day to go to the Black Forest (and return the same day), and one day for wine villages. Or any variation on that theme. If you stay 4 nights, you can mix it up however you wish. Maybe two days in wine villages, but still sleeping in Colmar. OR, if the Black Forest seems too labor intensive re transportation, give a day to Basel, just 45 minutes away by train. I would base (sleep) in no more than two places.

I have been to Colmar only in spring. But who cares if it rains and is damp? Think of the yummy food, the wealth of destinations, the Unterlinden museum. I will be in Christmas markets in Germany and Austria, but I still yearn to experience Alsace.

Posted by Kim
Paris
3161 posts

I don't know about the "cheapest" option, but by far the best option for traveling to Strasbourg (and then on to Colmar) is the TGV from Paris. Driving takes something like 4.5 hours, but the train is a little more than two hours. Buy your tickets in advance to get the best prices. Check trainline.eu.

I think late November is the perfect time to go see the Christmas markets -- it's before they get too terribly crowded, so they are much more enjoyable.

Personally I would base myself in Strasbourg -- there are 5 or 6 different areas of markets there alone. Take the train (20 minutes I think) to Colmar for one of the days. I don't have any knowledge of Christmas markets in the smaller villages.

I'm not sure why you would want to take a day trip into Germany if you don't have a destination in mind, but maybe someone will have a suggestion.

I like the Hotel Beaucour in Strasbourg. Kind of medium-sized, and located just across the river.

http://www.hotel-beaucour.com/fr/

I used to stay at the Gutenberg, but they've "jazzed" it up a little too much for my tastes now.

Enjoy!

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2252 posts

Either Colmar or Strasbourg make good places to base. You don't mention renting a car, so if you're not going to rent a car DEFINITELY stay in one of those two cities.

I prefer Strasbourg a bit because I'm a big city girl, but for your desires, I'd base in Colmar, rent a car one or two days to visit the smaller villages (not easy to do by train or bus honestly) and to go to Cheatue Haut-Koeningsburg (which is cool and worth it!) I've only been to the markets in Colmar and Strasbourg but they're both quite nice.

If you decide to stay in Strasbourg, you day trip to Germany should be to Stuttgart for our excellent market. Good train connection but buy your tickets now and check the dates of Stuttgart's market before you do so. If you stay in Colmar, it's probably easier to visit Freiburg which is a lovely city although it's market is nothing special.

I was visiting Riquhwier right as they were setting up their market, but before it opened, and it looked delightful. It's a touristy but very charming town.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
10077 posts

Google "Noel en Alsace" to see when the Christmas markets open in the villages. With a car, Colmar would be a good base for the villages. I think there is also regular bus service to see them. With or without a car, I would split the time between Colmar and Strasbourg.

German markets or French ones? I'm a Francophile and I preferred the markets in Strasbourg and Colmar (those are the ones I saw) to the German ones, partly because they seemed to focus more on locally made goods and more on children. The German ones got very crowded at lunchtime and from 5 pm onward with locals out to eat and drink. Many of the markets there were so crowded by 7 pm that you literally couldn't walk through them without pushing or getting pushed. The Colmar markets closed at 7 p.m. The one market in Germany that was really special was the medieval market in Esslingen. There are a couple direcct trains from Strasbourg to Stuttgart. From there it's a suburban train ride to Esslingen. Sarah in Stuttgart can give you details.