Strasbourg has been on my France bucket list for a long, long time. I am so glad not only that I made it here, but making the visit at Christmas time … *chef’s kiss*. The Strasbourg Christmas market was an absolute treat!
The whole vibe of the city is so festive. In most cities, it seemed like the markets were the focal point of the Christmas activities, but in Strasbourg, the whole city was one big magical Christmas playground, with decorations galore and lighted walkways connecting the different markets.
The city boasts 300 chalets (stalls) in 15 different markets spread throughout the city – a huge record for any city we visited in our European Christmas market tour!
However, it is a bit misleading to say there are 15 true markets in Strasbourg – some of the markets were very, very small, and one of them just had one stall!
However, even though *some* of the markets themselves were not a big destination, the walk through the city to get to them, especially at night, was absolutely delightful, with all the lights and decorations that were out. It seemed that each street had its own theming and light scheme.
Definitely do not miss walking the city at night!
What This Article Will Cover
In this article, I’m going to give a very detailed account of what you can expect when you visit the Strasbourg, France Christmas market, including what foods are available, what types of goods are available to purchase, what the vibe and atmosphere is like, how much things cost, what the different markets are like (and which ones are must-sees!), the best place to stay, how long you need, and other useful information!
But first, let’s talk about drinks – an integral part of experiencing a European Christmas market!
Drinks at the Strasbourg Christmas Market
All over the city, you can find drink stands where you can buy vin chaud (hot, mulled wine), non-alcoholic hot cider, or hot chocolate. When you buy your drink, you also pay a small deposit for the cup it is served in. In Strasbourg, the deposit was one euro for the plastic cups, and anywhere from 3-5 euro for the ceramic mugs.
Note: In Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, the markets exclusively used mugs, no plastic cups. In France, the plastic cups were much, much more common, but there were one or two stands in the city that had mugs available as well.
When you are done with your drink, bring the cup/mug back to the stall where you bought it and you get your deposit back.
Alternatively, you can keep the cup/mug as a souvenir. The mugs and cups are really cute and each city has different designs on their mugs. You can also ask to exchange your now dirty mug for a clean one to take with you – we did this all the time in the markets.
Since we had been collecting mugs from the different markets in Germany, Switzerland, and Luxembourg, we really wanted to continue the collection in France, so I will be making note of where we found mugs in Strasbourg.
Ok! With that very important point out of the way, let’s get into the details of the Strasbourg, France Christmas market!
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A Brief(ish) Breakdown of the 15 Strasbourg Markets:
Market 1: Christkindelsmarik at Hotel de Ville
It’s hard to go wrong starting your tour with “#1”, and we felt it deserved this moniker in many ways. It had the largest variety of goods of any of the Strasbourg Christmas market and was the largest (or very close to it) in size. It even had its own name and sign at the front – the other markets were not that official!
The market is long and narrow, with lighted trees stretching along the Place Broglie and culminating in the shadow of Hotel de Ville (city hall). In fact, the city hall provides an important backdrop for the market and regularly there was a projection show telling Christmas stories on the face of the building. It alternated between being in French, German, and English. This market was definitely more kid friendly.
There wasn’t a particularly united theme for the stalls’ decorations, though many were still very cute, but the wares were impressively diverse.
For example, there were stands for gingerbread, specialty gingerbread shapes (common in Germany, but the only time we saw this in France), and Alsace specialty cookies.
There were alpine Christmas villages, plus several very large stands full of figurines for crèche villages and non-Christmas cities.
There was a big, bright stand full of colored candy and nougat and chocolate covered marshmallow puffs, a leather book shop, and a stand with paper stars and a stand with beeswax candles, and so many ornament stands!
The food offerings were also the most diverse here. There were a lot of baguette flambée options (baguette topped with cream, cheese, and other toppings, and then toasted) – I got the raclette baguette flambée and it was soooo good!
There were also pretzels – you could choose a “regular” pretzel, a sugared pretzel, or a pretzel covered in cheese! And of course, some pastries, like mannele and kougelhopf.
Other options included choucroute (sauerkraut), creamy potatoes, spaetzle (a type of small noodle made with fresh eggs), creamy mushrooms, and curried sausages. A lot of these dishes utilized cream, bacon, and onions, so you know they were delicious!
This market also had one of the only stands in the city that offered drinks in mugs – the two choices were a red boot mug or a clear, silvery mug.
Market 2: Le Grand Sapin
The dominating feature of this Christmas market was the absolutely massive Christmas tree that proudly stood front and center in the square. This was another large market, and it was very popular due to the big Christmas tree (Le Grand Sapin).
This Strasbourg Christmas market was about the same size as, if not larger than, the Christkindelsmarik, though this one is laid out in the massive square of Place Kléber. It was extremely vibrant!
The enormous Christmas tree is spectacularly lit, and the lights are programmed to change and twinkle at regular intervals. At the top of the hour, the tree does a little light show with some music.
There is a little platform in front of the tree with a “Strasbourg, Capitale de Noel” sign if you want that photo op with the largest decorated tree in Europe.
There are a lot of good food options in this market, but foremost is the soup stall that is operated by Michelin starred chefs. Baguettes flambées were also very popular here. And this is where we got our Strasbourg mugs – there is one stall on the north side of the place that was selling really cute mugs.
Some examples of wares we saw in Market 2 were: paper stars (saw these commonly in Germany and hardly at all in France), alpine village pieces, colorful boxes, lots of food options and drink options, a huge variety of Christmas decorations, Alsace cookies, gingerbread, big, colorful fancy candy stores, animal hats, stuffed animals, wreaths, lights, and candles.
The variety was second only to Market 1.
And if you need some traditional shopping, there is a Gallerie Lafeyette across the street!
Market 3: Le Carré d’Or
This market is set at Place du Temple Neuf, next to a protestant temple. It was a relatively small market with wood stalls with the Carré d’Or logo, and a beautiful net of lights stringing across the square.
The highlight of this market was actually the stunning street that leads from this market toward the Cathedral. In fact, this was probably my favorite of all the streets in the Strasbourg Christmas market!
Each street seemed to have its own lighting theme and Rue des Orfevre was glowing with beautiful strings of lights accented with red stars and golden ornaments. The effect was mesmerizing.
Wares for sale included stuffed animals, village pieces, paper stars, and Alsace cookies, and other market wares. There was also a stand serving coffee and tea, which was actually pretty uncommon (most drinks available were of the wine, juice, hot chocolate variety).
There was a really beautiful building on the north side of the square as well.
Market 4: Rue des Hallebardes
This was the “market” with a single stall. This stall had some food and Santa hats.
Honestly, the only thing worth noting is that there are a lot of beautiful lights on the streets leading to it and past it. For example, the street with gingerbread lights led right here!
You actually have to go a little out of your way to see this if you are coming from 3 to the Cathedral (market 5), but you’ll pass directly by it if you travel between markets 5 and 10.
Market 5: Place de la Cathédrale
Having been to several Christmas markets now, I have to say my favorite backdrop for a market is a towering cathedral. And the Cathedrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg makes for an absolutely stunning location!
Market 5 and 6 are both near this beautiful edifice and we loved visiting these- though be aware that they were quite busy.
While these two markets do sort of meld into each other, there are some noticeable differences. Market 5 is set up at the front (west face) of the cathedral and wrapped around to the north side as well (to the left if you’re looking at the front).
There was a big variety of goods at this market. Examples of some things that we saw included: Gingerbread, macarons, tea, specialty artwork, toys, Christmas decorations and knick knacks, light carousels and candles, art, Christmas alpine houses made for candles or incense, cookies, figurines, specialty pens, and specialty decorations (e.g. handmade woodland figurines).
There were also several stands selling drinks, pretzels, kougelhopf, and other pastries. There wasn’t a set “theme” to the stalls, but there were several very extravagantly decorated ones. Matthew really liked the ones that melded the theming to the wares.
While you are visiting this market, you absolutely must stop in the cathedral. As we turned the corner into the square where the cathedral was and got our first look, it stopped us dead in our tracks. The cathedral towers over the markets and the city, and the craftsmanship on the exterior is exquisite – with carvings and small details.
Inside the cathedral, there were several unique features. First, there were large tapestries featuring scenes from the life of the virgin Mary lining the nave (the nave is the long part of the cathedral where most of the chairs are found).
A beautifully ornate organ was also on display in the nave. There was also a large mechanical clock with moving figurines and model of the solar system. Matthew was very excited about the astronomical aspects.
Off to the side, there was a nativity scene (or crèche, as it is called in French) set up, where you could walk by and see about 6 detailed scenes from the nativity.
Market 6: Place du Chateau
We loved market 6!
You’ll find it on the south side of the cathedral, and while it is right next to market 5, it was distinct.
This was the quintessential Christmas market. It was a great blend of child-friendly and whimsical, with a beautiful carousel, but also had the grand backdrop of the cathedral and a large Christmas tree. It had great food and a good variety of shops and even some common theming between the stalls. Seriously, the only major feature it lacked was a Christmas pyramid.
The theme of this Strasbourg Christmas market was “toyland” and the stalls were decorated whimsically. The goods definitely centered around Christmas decorations. We saw many stalls with colorful, eye-catching ornaments, Christmas ceramics and cookware, nativities, stuffed animals, and other decorations, as well as food gifts like chocolates and mousse balls.
One of our favorite food purchases of the night was at this market – the tarte flambée. Tarte flambée is like a really thin, fire-grilled pizza, except on top there is cream, bacon, onions, and broiled cheese. It was fantastic.
Market 7: Marché des Délices d’Alsace
Market 7 is to the south of the cathedral. The most direct route is to leave from Place du Chateau and go down Rue de Rohan. But… it might be worth walking back toward market 5 and strolling down Rue du Maroquin, as it was charmingly decorated. It’s also where you’ll find this delightful teddy bear building!
When you get there, you’ll find a smaller, but very picturesque market that sits right on the bank of the canal. Grand, wrought iron gates are at either end of the market, and the market backed up to the pretty Palais Rohan.
Wooden huts are topped with small garland accents. “Stars” are strung in the trees overhead, which are nice during the day, but absolutely gorgeous at night when they are all lit up and glowing.
This entire market is dedicated to food items – either baking wares or baked goods. There are drinks, multiple stalls with various Alsacian cookies, a stand for cookie cutters and rolling pins, and stalls with candies and nougats. Be prepared to drool.
Market 8: Place du Marché aux Poissons
Market 8 sits right outside the gates of Market 7, and like Market 7, it is 100% food-themed. However, the foods in Market 8 are gourmet foods – think foie gras, fancy cured meats, and bottles of wine.
This market also has the same glowing stars in the trees, which create this beautiful, ethereal feel at night.
You can also find activities and workshops here. For example, on Wednesdays there is a baking and tasting workshop for children.
Market 9: Place Corbeau (the only market not on the Grande Isle)
Most of the old town of Strasbourg is on the Grande Isle, and thus, every one of the markets is found there, except for market 9. It is not far from markets 7 and 8, and also has the same glowing orbs in the trees.
If you cross the river at this point, you’ll be right in line with the main “Strasbourg, Capitale de Noel” sign.
Market 9 is just a handful of stalls, mostly containing food to eat on the spot, or treats to bring home. In fact, we walked right past it on the start of our tour and didn’t even recognize it for what it was.
Market 10: Rue Gutenberg
Market 10 sits in the middle of a big square – Place Gutenberg. (Yes, that Gutenberg. Strasbourg was where he invented the printing press.) The square is well lit with trees and other decorations (and there is a statue of Johannes himself to check out, but the highlight of this market is for sure the streets leading up to it.
Every single outgoing street is beautifully lit, and in a different way. Along Rue Merciere, angels guide you back to the Cathedral, Rue des Grandes Arcades shines with curtains and balls leading to the giant Christmas tree at Place Kleber, one has Petite France signs leading toward Market 11, and you’ll also see kegs, candy canes, and more leading in every direction. The market itself was just a few food options. This is a market you go to for the lights, not the stalls.
Market 11: Place St Thomas
This is a mid-sized market with next to a pretty church. The market decorations weren’t particularly impressive and the booths were very simple. Cute pictures on the bottom of the booths, though.
Market 12: Place Benjamin Zix
This market is in the Petite France section of Strasbourg, which is a very, very cute area of town. The lights leading up to this market were super pretty and fun. The lights along Rue des Dentelles were particularly lovely. There is a ridiculously adorable “light fixture” that looks like a gingerbread chandelier nearby on the intersection of the Grande Rue and Rue des Fossé-des-Tanneurs.
However, the market itself was pretty sad, one the saddest markets overall, in our opinion. It had one measly strand of lights over the stands and just 5 stands. It’s still 100% worth coming by during the day to see the cute buildings, and again at night to see the lights lit up on the streets nearby.
Market 13: Place des Meuniers
This was another small market, with just four stalls. It was nestled around some cutely decorated houses and had some pretty colorful stars in the trees.
Market 14: Place Grimmeissen – Marché Off
If you’re looking for sustainability minded vendors and eclectic offerings, this is the place for you. This market has an emphasis on local companies, conservation, recycling, and DIY crafts. You can enjoy frequent concerts and workshops and enjoy hunting for antiques. It also has a very unique Christmas tree!
Market 15: Square Louise Weiss – Village de l’Advent
The advent village is located in a newly refurbished park area of Petite France. The central feature is a decorated pillar with strings of light stretching across the space. Here you’ll find booths centered around workshops and crafts as well as frequent concerts, dances, and theater productions. This one is very much family friendly.
Strasbourg Christmas Markets by Size
Exact Locations of the 15 Strasbourg Markets
Where to Stay When Visiting the Strasbourg Christmas Markets
We stayed at this trendy hotel with an incredible view of the Strasbourg cathedral, and I would absolutely stay there again. The rooms had floor to ceiling windows, were super clean, and felt very new. The hotel lobby had a nice bar area, and the staff were very, very nice and helpful. It’s a short, pleasant walk into the old town from here.
Traveling Between Different Markets?
While you can easily take the train between many cities in Europe, for this trip we chose to rent a car and drive between towns (since we were going at a fast pace and wanted to stop in some smaller villages too). Driving in Europe is straightforward, the roads are well-maintained, and the signage is easy to follow.
I was a little nervous because the rental company we booked with was a lot cheaper than the others (DOES THAT MEAN THE CAR WILL BE JUNKY?) but the car ran very well, the check-in procedures were smooth, and everything went swimmingly. I’d highly recommend!
Christmas Market Essentials:
Like most Christmas markets in Europe, the Strasbourg Christmas market was chilly! I cozied up with this affordable wool coat, this super cute pom-pom beanie, and this festive scarf. And don’t forget a pair of gloves!
You’ll definitely want good footwear as you walk around the markets – you can put in a lot of kilometers/miles as you traipse all around Strasbourg. These are my new favorite sneakers – white faux leather, and soft and cushy!
A good backpack and/or a crossbody purse with a zipper is a must! We liked carrying around a backpack so we had a place to stash any goodies we picked up at the markets, and this one is waterproof! And I always bring this cognac crossbody purse with me on trips – always zipped and in front of my body to prevent pickpocketing.
Don’t forget – France uses type C plugs, so if you’re coming from the US (or another country that doesn’t use type C plugs), you’ll need a power adaptor. This set is affordable and comes in a 3-pack – perfect so everyone can charge their devices.
These packing cubes are my new best friend. Gone are the days of a suitcase full of clothes getting all mixed up and disorganized after 2 days of travel, with me always rummaging around for 5 minutes trying to find things. You can pack like items in different cubes and keep everything in its place. Honestly, can’t believe I held out buying these for so long!
Foods To Eat at the Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg had a mix of traditional French, traditional German, and traditional Alsatian foods to eat at the markets, and that mixture was delicious! Here’s an overview of the main types of foods you can devour while you’re wandering the stalls and enjoying the lights!
Called “breztels”, you can find traditional salted pretzels, sugared pretzels (pictured here), or pretzels with melted cheese on it!
Cost: 2-4 euro, depending on the variety
Reminiscent of pizza or flatbread, this “tart” has a very thin, crispy crust, and is topped with cream, onions, bacon, and cheese. Delicious!
Cost: about 5 euro
We saw these all over the Strasbourg Christmas market – I’d go as far as to say this is THE food to get from Strasbourg.
This is a baguette topped with cream and cheese (raclette cheese in the picture), and then toasted. There are a lot of varieties of baguette flambée you can choose from in the case, and then it is toasted fresh for you. Don’t miss it!
Cost: 5-7 euro
A traditional German/French cake made in a bundt pan, and sometimes with different flavors. Mini ones (like the one pictured here) are 4 euro, whereas big ones can be 9-10 euro and are BIG.
Cost: 4-10 euro
These are essentially brioche buns shaped into a little man. They are traditionally eaten in the Alsace region to celebrate St. Nicholas Day on December 6, but you can buy them from the markets all season long.
Cost: about 1.50 euro
Bratwurst in Sauerkraut
We saw this obviously heavily German influenced dish several times throughout the markets.
Cost: 9 euro
Left Side: Creamy Potatoes, Right Side: Spaetzle in Cream Sauce
Choose from either potatoes or spaetzle (an egg noodle), both served in creamy sauces, and both fantastic!
Cost: 7 euro
Left side: Sausages in curry sauce, Right side: Mushrooms in cream sauce
This was another set of popular (and German-influenced) dishes – choose from either the sausages in curry sauce, or the mushrooms in cream sauce (have you noticed that Alsatians go heavy on the cream?!)
Cost: 6-9 euro
A favorite French food, crepes with a variety of fillings are available in many of the markets.
Cost: 3-6 euro
Hot, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and non-alcoholic cider are the most common drinks you can find at the Strasbourg Christmas market. As noted above, you pay a deposit on the cup, which is refunded after you return the cup after finishing your drink (or you can keep it as a souvenir!)
Cost for the drinks themselves: 3-4 euro
Goods to Buy at the Strasbourg Christmas Market
These are some of the types of items you can find at the Strasbourg Christmas markets!
We also saw items such as stuffed animals, stuffed animal hats, lots and lots of different types of candies and goodies, scarves and beanies, and more!
Other Things to Know About Visiting the Strasbourg Christmas Market
- There are no entrance fees to visit the Christmas markets.
- The markets are all open from 11am-9pm on Friday, 11am-10pm on Saturday and 11am-8pm every other day.
- I noted this in the market descriptions above, but it’s worth repeating: You absolutely have to walk the streets at night. The lights and decorations were incredible!
- People in Strasbourg speak French, of course, but many also speak German. In addition, you will find that most people interacting with tourists speak at least some English.
- There are some stands that will accept card, but many places will just take cash. There are ATMs around the city, so it’s not hard to find a spot to pull out some euros.
- Weekends are very busy, so if you can, visit on a weekday.
Final Thoughts on the Strasbourg Christmas Market
We really, really loved Strasbourg at Christmas time! From the many markets, to the giant Christmas tree, to the festive lights and decorations all over the city, Strasbourg just immerses you in that Christmas spirit!
Wanting more ideas of European Christmas markets to visit? Check out my article about: