Monday, December 8, 2008

Strasbourg - Christmas Capital

This past weekend we visited Strasbourg, France - the self proclaimed Capital of Christmas. December is the tourist season for the relatively small city and it is obvious why. The streets are lined with lights and decorations. The lighted streets are bustling with christmas shoppers and smiling faces. If you follow the crowds around from one lighted street to the next, you will eventually hit all of the different Christmas markets around town. Many people are drinking big glasses of GluWein (spiced wine) and wandering about. 

We arrived at our hotel on Friday night and stayed in a small place by the train station. We parked easily at the train station garage and walked to our hotel. Our hotel was named Hotel Victoria and thankfully was a non-smoking establishment. Our room still smelled like someone had smoked in it despite the rules. It was a cute pedestrian street lit up with christmas lights that connected the train station to the center of town. 

We woke up Saturday morning and headed out in the light rain in search of breakfast. I had a sugared pretzel and Rob had a chocolate donut. Since it was lightly raining most people headed to the cathedral to take in some warmth and see the inside. An orchestra practice was going on onstage and Rob and I walked as close at we could to listen for awhile. There were lots of tour groups and the church was very crowded. 

We left after seeing all that we could see and headed to do some Christmas shopping. I finally found a pair of boots I liked and fit around my calf! I have been searching for several months now with no luck. Rob said they looked really "Euro". 

We hit every Christmas Market we could find (there was about 8 or so ranging in different sizes and specialties). The crowds got a little crazy and since we were in France - there were annoying rude people as usual. Why do people think it is okay to smoke in the middle of a crowd where nobody has an opportunity to escape the smell? 

We headed to a place called "Au Brasseur" for dinner. It was recommended as a budget place in WikiTravel and it described it as a brewery as well. We had the local cuisine  - "Alsation Tarte Flambes" which is basically just super thin pizza. We both a a goat cheese, onion, tomato, and garlic tarte and a couple of the beers brewed locally. The place was extremely crowded but we were patient and got a table within half an hour or so.  The region is also known for its "choucroute" (sauerkraut) which we didn't sample. It is normally served heaping on a plate with a variety of meats piled on top. 

On our way out of town on Sunday we stopped in Fribourg, Germany. (About a 30 minute drive from Strasbourg) We didn't stay long but we looked at the Freiburger Muenster Cathedral and walked around yet again another christmas market. At one of the stands there were some german sausages on rolls that looked really tasty. I didn't partake because we had a large breakfast but they sure looked tasty! We did some quick grocery shopping at the train station and headed back to Geneva. 

We checked in to our new place for the next three weeks. The Citea Hotel Residence in Prevassin, France. It is a 2 bedroom (even though we only paid for a one bedroom) apartment with a kitchen! No more cafeteria food! We finally get to cook at home. It is a quick drive to CERN from here and it is in the French Countryside. It is right on the border (within 1 km) and will be a nice change of pace from the CERN hotel. I was tired of all the physicists using up all the hot water anyways! 

Cathédrale Notre Dame. Built between 1176 and 1439
Orchestra Inside Practicing
Cathédrale Notre Dame
Stained Glass From Inside 
Large Tapestries Lined The Center Walkway
It cost 20 cents to turn on the lights for this! Of course - we didn't pay for it. We let some other faithful tourist do that. (Jesus on Mt of Olives?)
Buy a candle for 1 Euro!
Dome above stage
From East Side Outside
At Nightime From Side
Christmas Ornaments!!!
Christmas Market In Front of Cathedral
Rob buying some GluWein (Spiced Wine)
Confectionary Store (Christmas Cookies)
More Christmas Markets...
Christkindelsmärik, Place Broglie - The Mother Of All Christmas Markets!
It was insanely crowded
The Village of Sharing, Place Kléber - Christmas Tree
Petite France - Why is it named this? Click Here!
More Market Goodness

Small christmas trees being sold. 

I am not the biggest fan of plain old gluwein. There were plenty of other spiced drinks to try. Jus de Pomme (Spiced Apple Cider), Jus de Orange, and Vin Blanc (Spiced White Wine - Yum!)
Lots of fried bread goodness including - sugared pretzels, churros with nutella, and waffles. 

Freiburg Muenster Cathedral (Sorry about the quality - these next pictures were taken with the iphone) 

Tarte Flambes 

Beers at Au Brasseurs 

On the way up we stopped a diner called "Cindy's Diner". Rob ordered a fish sandwich - it came with egg, and cucumber? I finally got an "American" breakfast complete with hashbrowns, bacon, eggs, and toast! They even had Tabasco - I was in heaven! 

Learn more about the Alsace Region and Strasbourg


Pumpkin December 9, 2008 at 6:48 AM  

Thank you so much for sharing this. I miss Strasbourg very much and enjoyed seeing her again through your photos.

I lived there for almost three years with my husband before we moved to Switzerland. I know every street in Strasbourg because we have walked them all. Strasbourg will always be home for me. :)

About This Blog

Tina & Rob have relocated their lives to Geneva, Switzerland. This blog is a story of their adventure during the year and all the details inbetween.

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