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very best christmas markets in France

Christmas Markets in France : A Day By Day Tour

I’ve heard the very best Christmas Markets are right here in France so I had to check them out for myself.

Christmas Markets in France Day-by-Day Tour 

If it’s bright holiday lights and decorations, streaming holiday music, and festive foods that rank a Christmas market at the top of the list, there’s no doubt the best Christmas Markets are in France.  Strasbourg, Colmar, Eguisheim, Riquewihr, Kaysersberg, and Ribeauville to be exact. For five days, my long-time friend Paula and I crammed in as many marketplaces as we could possibly see. It was indeed a tour through Christmas wonderland.

Paula recently moved to Uzés from the US after years of dreaming about living in France. We met on a tour of China, and now she’s my neighbor! Paula worked in the tourist industry, which means she’s pretty much an expert at figuring out where to go, how to get there, where to stay, and what to do when you get there. She reads many travel blogs and is full of great ideas. We put all that know-how to the test on our Christmas Market tour through Alsace. Now, I’m happy to share it with you.

Which are the Very Best Christmas Markets in France?

very best Christmas Markets After quite a bit of research online and talking with friends who have traveled to markets in France, almost overwhelmingly, there’s agreement. The Very Best Christmas Markets in France are in the Alsace region. Most popular are Strasbourg, Colmar, and Kaysersberg. With the help of Max, our precious guide from Alsace Original Experiences, we discovered Eguisheim, Riquewihr, and Ribeauville.

How do you get to the Very Best Christmas Markets in France?

There’s no doubt that if you’re traveling in or through Europe to Christmas Markets, go by train. There was rain, sleet, and snow during our visit to Alsace. By car, we could have had problems. By train, there were none. Fortunately, there were no train strikes and only short delays.

Where to stay for the Very Best Christmas Markets in France?

Our best decision when planning our tour of Christmas Markets was to start in Strasbourg, stay there for a couple of days, then take a train to Colmar. Then, we use Colmar as our base to see other villages nearby. Let me warn you, however, if you’re hoping to visit Christmas Markets in Alsace, be more intelligent than we were and plan your trip more than a month ahead. Finding accommodations in Strasbourg and Colmar wasn’t accessible because coordinating our dates took us a while. That said, we were more than pleased with the outcome.

The Hôtel Des Arts in Strasbourg is small and outdated, but the location couldn’t be better. During our stay, the staff was accommodating and courteous. The price was right, too! Finding a place in Colmar was a challenge, but Paula knew to get on the waitlist for a B&B right in the center of the marketplace. We thoroughly enjoyed the couple who owned the lovely B&B. Before we left, we and their multi-national guests felt like family.

What is the best hint for the best Christmas markets in France?

very best Christmas MarketsThumbs down, the day-long guided tour of Christmas Markets and villages around Colmar was our best idea. Our guide, Max from Alsace Original Experiences, picked us up in a black Mercedes van at the B&B in Colmar at 9:30am. We lucked out to be the only guests on the tour, so we could do as we pleased. Max was the perfect host and offered cookies and coffee as we started. His agenda for the day included visits to Eguisheim and Riquewihr, with stops at a cheesemaker and a winery. It was dusk before we reached Kaysersberg, an added treat because we could see the Christmas lighting at night.

Going to Ribeauville was an added attraction. We teased Max about taking us and all our baggage to the train station in Colmar for our departure the next day. He took us seriously, called his boss, and arranged for us to visit Ribeauville in the morning before depositing us and our baggage on the train. What a treat that was! Not only did we feel like royalty being escorted to our train, but we also loved Ribeauville. It just happened to be the last weekend of their medieval Christmas Market, so with all the trimmings, the village was probably the most colorful of all we visited.

Best Christmas Markets Tour

You could sort out a tour of the Best Christmas Markets in Alsace in many ways. Ours started out in Strasbourg. It was a straight connection from the train station in Avignon — even though we almost missed the train! I underestimated the Monday morning traffic in Avignon. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if we’d missed our train, but it would have given us a two-hour later start. Fortunately, it was our lucky day and the beginning of a perfect holiday.

Day 1

Strasbourg arrival and Christmas Market by night

Day 2

Strasbourg Christmas Market and canal boat tour

Day 3

Strasbourg Christmas Market; downtown exploring/shopping; visit Cathedral ; train to Colmar

Day 4

Colmar Christmas Market 

Day 5

Van Tour from Colmar B&B to Christmas Markets

Morning – Equisheim 

 

Afternoon – Riquewihr 

Evening – Kaysersberg

 

Day 6

Morning – Van tour from Colmar B&B to Ribeauville

Afternoon – Train to Depart

Stay tuned for more details and a photo visit to each of the Very Best Christmas Markets in France …. Happy Holidays!

Day trip from Uzes to the Cevennes

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