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Christmas Markets: Switzerland, France & Germany 2019 - FRANCE - Part 2 [of 4]

FRANCE- STRASBOURG as our base, 3 nights.

- About 1.5 hour train from Basel to Strasbourg .
We stayed at the Hotel Gutenburg, which an OP recommended, as all of the RS' recommendations were booked by June. This hotel was a block from the Cathedral, so has a prime location. The breakfast was adequate, but they offered complimentary Gluhwein from about 11am on, so who can remember the breakfast???

The Cathedral and central market area is about a 15 minute walk from the train station; we just followed the steady line of people. Due to the tragic events of the past, there is security at all the entry points to the old town area, starting mid-morning; our luggage and backpacks were searched. Also starting around mid-morning, there is no taxi/car access to the old town area, as it becomes pedestrian only.

At our first sightings of the area around the Cathedral, I gasped in awe as if I was five-years old: it was so beautifully decorated! The buildings decorate all up along their outside wall. And the lighting- each of the pedestrian ally/walkways heading into the Cathedral area all have waves of lighting hanging across the buildings, and each is different! Saying it's spectacular is an understatement. There are at least 11 xmas markets situated throughout the old town to visit.

We toured the Cathedral [free] and climbed the 300+ steps to the tower [ 8 Euros], overlooking the city. It was a climb well worth the effort. Try to climb the tower early, as there is a security search, and once a line forms, it moves slowly. We also enjoyed a morning walk along the river, which was beautiful, quiet, and peaceful.

The VINO ROUTE [all day] tour of the towns of Colmar, Riquewihr, Obernai, and a winery was incredibly well done and worth it [$150 USD.] Marc, who leads the small tour [one van] is a local who is personable and quite knowledgeable of the area. The tour is well-organized and a quality experience. In addition to the xmas markets and the wine info, he pointed out the storks that are native to the area, and their unusual-looking nests.

The French transportation strike began on the day we were scheduled to leave France. In spite of all my research, I never thought to check for French labor strikes; this one was scheduled six weeks in advance, and affected trains, planes, buses, trams. It was by accident that we heard about this strike. It was Marc, from VINO ROUTE, who gave us a functional solution to our problem: taxi to the Kehl, Germany, train station, about 15 minutes away. Remarkably, this worked quite smoothly: the taxi showed up, early, and did not inflate prices. We exited France to Germany without a problem, but with a desire to return to this area to explore the beautiful countryside, perhaps in warmer weather!

Posted by
3400 posts

What a wonderful trip report. Thank you for sharing. Posters always write about the markets but i need, or I should say, would like more details, such as the food, the crafts, the gifts you purchased, are the prices reasonable, which ones would you skip or visit if you went again. Like many travelers on this forum, the Christmas markets are high on my travel list. We are finally retiring in April but already have 2 trips to Europe and 1 to the midwest planned for 2020. It will have to wait until 2021. I’m going to bookmark your report for future reference.

Posted by
2932 posts

Thank you for your report. Sounds lovely. I too, would love a bit more detail about the shopping, what you purchased etc. food offered at the markets etc.

Posted by
12607 posts

What a fun time you had! Thanks so much for posting. I'm so glad your guide alerted you to the train strike and helped you find a solution. Definitely for France always check on labor strikes. They generally announce them in advance and there is always discussion on this forum about them!

I suspect you've got a post on Germany as well and I'd suggest you add it to this post as a reply. If you put them in different posts they'll get separated and it will be harder to keep track of your trip. However, your TR, your choice! I enjoyed your first post about your time in Switzerland as well.

Posted by
3652 posts

I'll try to finish Germany by tomorrow, and include some of the other details folks asked about.
Thanks for the input. Safe travels!

Posted by
9767 posts

I've enjoyed reading your reports, and agree with Pam that if it is all attached to one post it it much easier to follow. I look forward to reading about the rest of your trip.

Posted by
3652 posts

I found there's a length limit to the Trip Reports and to Posts, so I had to separate them. All four parts are now completed. Thanks for the input.

Posted by
759 posts

Fantastic Pat!
All 4 reports are very easy to find and follow.
Merry Christmas to you!!

Posted by
31043 posts

You can just cut and paste this post as a reply to part 1 and then do the same with 3 and 4. Then they all stay together.

There is a limit for every post but there is no limit to the number of replies.

It works.

Posted by
8938 posts

I would suggest as Nigel has to add your reports 2, 3, and 4 as responses to your #1 post. It’s a shame how they will get separated, they are so nicely done.

Posted by
681 posts

I really enjoyed your report. I was in that area about 15 years ago but sadly not during the Christmas Markets. It sounds wonderful during that time. Alas, I dislike cold immensely so not sure about the winter wonderland for me. Glad you had a great time