Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strasbourg - Marchés de Noël

When I was in Strasbourg at Christmastime in 2000, I fell in love with its marché de noel.  Clustered in little chalet-style huts at the foot of the cathedral, you could get all sorts of wonderful crafts and decorations.  I particularly liked the Russian Santa Clauses and the German smoking Santa Clauses (at least one of which is standing on Lady's shelf right now).  Amanda, too, had fond memories of similar markets in the German towns where she lived as a child.  The primary reason for making this trip to Strasbourg was to go to the marché and do some serious Christmas shopping.

The marché is still there, but I discovered that it had grown exponentially in the last decade.  No longer limited to the cathedral neighborhood, the marché fills nearly every open space in the old city.  It makes for a wonderfully festive atmosphere, but also draws unpleasantly large crowds.  And, unfortunately, most of the best shops had been replaced by much more commercial, less artisinal shops selling kitschy items that can be found in the Christmas aisle at any large retailer.

Even so, we enjoyed the marché and the few good shops that were still there.  And yes, we did get some Christmas shopping done!

In front ofthe train station

Place du Temple neuf

In the Swiss Village
Next to the cathedral
At the foot of the cathedral

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