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France Christmas Markets

My daughter and I are spending six days in Paris for the Christmas markets. We’ve heard Strasbourg markets are spectacular and are wondering if we should plan 1 or 2 nights there?
Thoughts? Paris only or Paris and Strasbourg??

Posted by
1218 posts

We spent two nights at the Strasbourg Christmas market and one night at the one in Colmar which is a short train ride away from Strasbourg. I highly recommend both.

Posted by
938 posts

There are descriptions of the individual markets that are planned for Paris, Strasbourg, Colmar, etc. Look on the visitor sites or Google Xxx Christmas markets. You can get an idea what you will find and decide if you think one day is enough. Paris alone has, IIRC, something like 15 markets. Colmar has 4 or 5.
Some are only on certain dates or a limited time, such as the St Germain market which doesn't start till the second week of December or so. Hard to give advice because each person may want to go to different ones, or all of them!

Posted by
149 posts

I'm not sure where you're traveling from, but the 3+ hours train ride to Strasbourg/Colmar gets you to some of the best markets in Europe! (If you're making a 6 hr trip from the US then you should take advantage!) Paris is known for many things but Christmas markets aren't in the same realm as Strasbourg.

And you have plenty of time I believe. In December, we are flying into Paris and going straight to Colmar to spend 2 days there, 1 day in Strasbourg and one in nearby Eguisheim. (but our first trip we only did 3 days in Strasbourg and Colmar total) We're heading back to Paris for 4 more days. Unless it's your very first trip to Paris (which needs more like 4 days in the city) I would squeeze the trek to Strasbourg in!

Posted by
10261 posts

I left Colmar on Monday. The people at my hotel are gearing up for the Christmas markets and said the hotel is filling up. They expect it to be like it was pre-pandemic.

Posted by
1039 posts

Two years ago we based in Colmar for 5 nights and also visited Christmas Markets in Eguisheim, Kaysersberg, Freiburg, and Basel. We enjoyed them all! If you've visited Paris before then it may be worth the travel time to visit the Alsace region. If it's your first trip to Paris then rather than spend the travel time to visit the Strasbourg area I'd stay in Paris with perhaps a nearby day trip (i.e. Versailles).

Posted by
336 posts

The Paris Christmas markets are pitiful compared to Strasbourg. Obviousy, the Strasbourg Christmas market was cancelled last year, but this year it will be back.

Unfortunately, there was a terrorist attack at the Christmas market in Strasbourg in 2018 (5 killed, 11 wounded). So now there is the annoying (but reassuring and perhaps necessary) security protocol there which requires screening and searches to enter the central island of old Strasbourg. The tramways continue to run, but they do not stop in the central Strasbourg stations since the passengers have not been screened. I hope that this will go away one day.

The TGV to Strasbourg takes less than two hours from Paris, so it could even just be a (frustrating) day trip.

Posted by
1029 posts

Some links to towns & their Christmas Markets:
Strasbourg, 26 Nov - ? Dec: https://noel.strasbourg.eu/en/les-marches-de-noel

Colmar, 26 Nov - 29 Dec: https://www.noel-colmar.com/en/

Riquewhir, 27 Nov - 22 Dec: https://www.christmas.alsace/riquewihr-christmas-market/. You can take a taxi from Colmar train station to here or the shuttle service from Colmar may be up and running this year.

Eguisheim, 26 Nov - 23 Dec: https://www.christmas.alsace/eguisheim-christmas-market/. Again, you can take a taxi from Colmar train station.

Riquewihr & Ribeauville, Christmas Calendar 2021
http://apps.tourisme-alsace.info/batchs/LIENS_PERMANENTS/155001458_MAnifs_NoÙl_PRR_GB.pdf

A nice day/evening trip from Paris is Chartres. Enjoy Chartres En Lumieres: https://www.chartresenlumieres.com/en/

1 Dec – 15 Jan 18:00 – 22:30

Cathedral 10min. walk from train station
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9p7SaQi-dg

I will be in Strasbourg for 3 nights at the end of November visiting Strasbourg, Colmar and one of the other near by towns.

Posted by
6895 posts

The Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar are infinitely more alluring and fun than any podunk Christmas market in Paris.

Posted by
336 posts

Then again, it must be admitted that for someone who has never seen an impressive Christmas market, such a person will probably find the Christmas markets in Paris quite adequate.

Posted by
1218 posts

The Colmar Christmas market is like stepping into a vintage Christmas card. It is small, quaint and absolutely charming. We went for the decorations, ambiance, gluhwein and not to shop. Strasbourg is wonderful as well. The decorations are great. I would love to go again.

Posted by
53 posts

I agree that the Christmas Markets in Paris are not as good as any market in Alsace! The best ones are Vienna and German markets.