While there are many wonderful Christmas markets in France, Strasbourg's Christmas Market reigns as its oldest. Located in the heart of the city, it is situated in the pedestrian only area around the beautiful cathedral. Not only is the Strasbourg Christmas Market the oldest one in France, it is also considered one of the longest –running and best European Christmas Markets. The market originated in 1570 and with numerous markets throughout the town, Strasbourg has one of the largest Christmas Markets in Europe. Its Cathedral Market in Cathedral Square is located in front of Strasbourg’s Cathedral, one of five Notre Dames in France. Situated near the France-German border, the Strasbourg market combines the best of France and Germany.
Santa Claus greets the huge crowds, mingles with the people, and takes time to talk and have pictures made with shoppers. Crowds stroll through festively decorated streets while enjoying the sights and sounds of Christmas. The booths or chalets display all types of sweets and pastries, Christmas decorations, nutcrackers, Santas, mulled wine, and hot drinks. Smiling faces are everywhere as crowds also enjoy exhibitions and concerts. Locals are able to purchase the perfect Christmas tree for their homes at the market as well.
The Strasbourg market provides a magical atmosphere for young and old alike. On Place d’Austerlit, locals sell produce while the Alsatian food market is located on Place des Meuniers. For the more cultural minded, a book market in the Aubette shopping arcade is included in the Christmas festivities. Finally, the tall traditional 107 ft. Christmas tree can be found on Place Kléber.
The Christkindelsmärik or Christmas Market has approximately 2 million visitors each year. Some hotels receive reservations as much as a year in advance. Proclaimed the “Capital of Christmas, the name, time, and dates of the Strasbourg markets are listed on the Capital of Christmas website.
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