Last year, I was introduced to Christmas Markets for the first time in Paris, Berlin, and just down the street in Montreux. They are SO adorable – especially for someone like me who LOVES Christmas! This year, friends invited me to join them for a weekend of Christmas Markets in Strasbourg & Colmar, France. I’ve heard many great things about them from those who visited previously, so I was really excited to check them out for myself.
Five of us headed out early Saturday morning. The car ride was 2.5-3 hours, but we had US magazines, good music, Beggin’ Strips YouTube videos, leftover candy corn, Texas BBQ Pringles, chocolate chip cookies, and 1 kilogram of Gummie Bears to keep it interesting! We arrived in Strasbourg hopped up on sugar and ready to take on the rain. Winter has definitely arrived, so we bundled up and headed out. A huge Christmas tree greeted us when we arrived in the main square along with several signs reminding us that Strasbourg is the “Capitale de Noël” (Christmas Capital).
[Who can resist a 2€ ride on a segway? Well, two of the five could, but the rest of us had to try for the first time ever!]
We spent the entire day roaming through Strasbourg from one Christmas Market to the next. We didn’t let the rain dampen our fun! So many decorations and so many treats to try! Vin Chaud (Hot Wine…maybe better described as mulled wine or spiced wine) was EVERYWHERE!
After an afternoon nap, we were ready to go back for more. At night, we got to enjoy the lights as well as a delicious dinner at an Italian restaurant.
[Remember the Light Show in Bern? They were putting on something similar in the huge plaza. Like the one in Bern, I didn’t understand the story line – if there even was one!]
[I have a cousin who LOVES pigs. This display made me think of her!]
[There were so many gingerbread men decorations throughout the weekend, which obviously made me think of my mama. Gingerbread men are her thing!]
[We may or may not have asked two different people in the same group to take this picture, since the first one didn’t even almost capture any of this sign.]
On Sunday morning, we headed to Colmar. It’s smaller than Strasbourg, but that’s literally the only thing I heard about it prior to our arrival. Imagine our surprise when we were just a few minutes from the centre of town and came across this Statue of Liberty!
Apparently, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (the sculptor who created the Statue of Liberty) was born in Colmar, France in 1834. Today, a 12 meter (39 feet, 4 inches) replica of the Statue of Liberty stands in a roundabout in a suburban area of Colmar. It was dedicated in 2004 commemorating the 100th anniversary of his death. This year, I also saw the second Statue of Liberty, which sits on an island in the Seine River in Paris. It stands 11.5 meters (37 feet, 9 inches) tall, and it has been there since 1889. Who knew there were THREE statues of Lady Liberty residing in the world?! Of course, the original in New York City is the oldest and the tallest – dedicated in 1886 and standing at 46 meters (151 feet) tall.
And, of course, our car full of Americans had to pull into a nearby parking lot, run across the roundabout, and take photos in front of this gem. Such a fun surprise on our Christmas Market adventure!
After our rendez-vous with Lady Liberty, we were sold on Colmar before we even saw our first Christmas Market. We were blown away when we made it into town an saw how ADORABLE Colmar is! The facades of the buildings are quaint and colorful, the shops are so cute and full of unique items, and the Christmas Markets had super cute crafts and delicious goodies. As a bonus, we found a bagel shop, which won over everyone in our group!
[We can’t tell if Santa is trying to scale this building like Spiderman, or if he fell off and is caught in the lights…]
[Both of these towns had large, lovely cathedrals. This organ was pretty impressive!]
[An entire store full of gingerbread cookies and decorations. My mama would be in heaven. I determined that all of it qualified as “ginger junk,” so no purchases were made. Even so, it made me think of her.]
[Somehow this friend agreed to let the guys pick out one item up to 40€ value. This Christmas gnome proved to be the perfect item. I am SO happy that this little orphan gnome found his forever home. He is fantastic!]
[Who needs a bag from the store when the gnome can be carried in a backpack like a baby? This situation definitely attracted a few stares. Maybe the Europeans aren’t familiar with Baby Bjorn?]
[Does anyone remember the mechanical horses at the mall that were coin operated and simulated racing? This was the same idea, except WAY better. It was a ride where the mechanical horses raced all around a track!]
[At one point a burst of “snow” comes out to give the full Christmas-y effect!]
[This town was just so charming! I want to go back!]
This was such a lovely weekend with really fun friends! And as a bonus, we made it back in time for me to bake & ice sugar cookies! I just can’t get enough Christmas in the month of December.