Located in the heart of France’s Alsace region on the Franco-German border, Strasbourg exemplifies the best of both French and German culture with its fine wine, gastronomical delicacies, and relaxed conviviality.
However, Strasbourg’s most endearing feature appears during the holiday season when the entire town adorns itself in ribbons and lights. For the four weeks leading up to Christmas, the town transforms into a veritable winter wonderland (amidst an appropriately snowy backdrop) and offers activities for visitors of all ages.
Here, Strasbourg’s top Christmas attractions!
1. Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg’s Christmas markets are infamous, both in France and in other countries. With a history dating back to 1570, they are the oldest Christmas markets in France! Make your way from one market to the next, sampling local treats like hot wine and traditional Christmas bredle cakes. Kids will love a cup of spiced cider or hot orange juice spiced with cinnamon, topped off with a German pretzel or donut. Though there are over 300 local markets, the best are undeniably located at Place Broglie and Place de la Cathedrale.
2. Strasbourg Ice Skating
The local ice rink is a natural way to warm up during a chilly day in Strasbourg and have fun with your children. Open from November 25 to December 31, the rink is located in the Place du Château. Games and activities for children, such as storytellings in the Alsace Museum and sending letters to Santa, are other popular diversions held throughout the holiday season.
3. The Great Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree in central Strasbourg is a must-see during the holidays, for both children and parents. Located in Place Kléber, this massive tree receives a new colourful display each year to entertain its many visitors. Families can also purchase their own tree at the Christmas tree market in Place Broglie. Also worth checking out are the richly decorated houses and streets of Strasbourg, which are gaily strewn with Christmas lights all season long.
4. La Petite France
La Petite France, literally “Little France,” is a charming neighbourhood filled with timbered houses, winding roads, and the welcoming scent of gingerbread. The best way to enjoy this section of town is by walking (La Petite France is very pedestrian-friendly) and stopping whenever you’re tempted by a local restaurant or Christmas bakery….
5. Alsatian Cuisine
Strasbourg borders two countries known for their cuisine and the results are omnipresent. Choucroute (sauerkraut), sweet or salty pretzels, kouglof (traditional Alsatian cake), three-meat baeckeoffe stew, flammenqueches, streusel, crepes……the list goes on. And with more five star restaurants than any other city in France, you can have your pick of where to sample Strasbourg’s culinary offerings. More often than not, however, the best meals can be found in the city’s winstubs, or traditional wine pubs, most of which are more than family friendly.
Top 5 Family-friendly Hotels in Strasbourg, Alsace
- Hotel Kyriad Strasbourg Centre Gare – Family room: €98 per night
- La Résidence Jean-Sébastien Bach – Family room: €130 per nigth
- Best Western Hotel de France – Family room: €160 per night
- Hotel Arc-en-Ciel – Family room: Family room: €70 per night
- Hotel Grillon – Family room: €98 per night
Photo of Christmas Mark, Strasbourg, France, by Vidame