Marches de Noël
What's the best way to kick off the holiday season? Going to the Capital of Christmas and a tour of Marches de Noël! Strasbourg has one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe and a gorgeous cathedral, so we started there and made our way to some others over a couple days.
The markets take over the city with all things merry and bright. It sounds cheesy, but after about 5 minutes, we were sold. Imagine you had at your disposal all your grandparents' decorations, your neighbors' decorations, all the lights that Target and Home Depot have to offer, and then some of your favorite ornaments and holiday knick-knacks. That might cover one block in Strasbourg.
Speaking of cheese, Alsatian cuisine does not skimp on it. Munster cheese soup, pretzels with a cheese crust, pork with melted cheese, you get the idea. Other savory delights include sausage, sauerkraut and spaetzle, and tarte flambée. Wash that down with some Bier de Noël and/or vin chaud, and you'll be singing Christmas carols all day long. And then have some cookies, pain d'épices, or chocolate.
We also checked out the markets in Colmar and Kaysersberg. Kaysersberg was recommended to us when we stopped by a winery to get a taste of the white wines that the Alsace region is known for. Turns out, dry Riesling is quite tasty and Kaysersberg is a precious gingerbread village come to life.
The mix of French and German cultures was really interesting, especially since we had just come from the land of fancy French castles. I loved the touches of art nouveau, folk art, and of course the half-timbered houses, canals, and cobblestones.