"Marchés de Noël in Strasbourg" Top 5 Page for this destination Strasbourg by JLBG

Strasbourg Travel Guide: 952 reviews and 2,858 photos

You can visit Strasbourg any time from January through November. In December, you will not visit Strasbourg but the Marchés de Noël in Strasbourg. The typical small wooden booths will have mushroomed everywhere in the city, in every square, not leaving a single square inch free, while hordes of visitors will have invaded the city. Agoraphobics, give up! As most regular sights will be half hidden by the Marché de Noël's booths and by the crowd, photos will be difficult! Anyway, if they are not, the sky is most likely to be dull and cloudy, even possibly raining as global warming has made snowing unlikely and photos will not be sharp and glowing. Moreover, if this is not the case and that the sun is shining, days are so short that you have better to take advantage of every second of it. Anyway, if you have not booked a hotel long long in advance (or have a friendly home to welcome you), you will not find any free room a hundred kilometers around, then…

As for us, we were in Strasbourg December 8th and 9th and enjoyed it a lot but from the above, do not expect good photos of the city (another visit is scheduled for that) but mostly of the Marchés de Noël.

I must however give a short account of the history of the city. Gallic hunters and fishers founded the first village amidst a large swamp sitting between the many arms of the Ill river, a tributary to the Rhine river. As it was a strategic place, a main crossroad, the Roman built an important fortified camp, Argentoratum. Later, Alamans, Franks and others invaded the city. The Franks gave it the name of Strasbourg.

In 842, by the Serment de Strasbourg (Oath of Strasbourg), Louis le Germanique (Louis the German) and Charles le Chauve (Charles the Bald), sons of Louis le Pieux (Louis the Pious) also called Louis le Débonnaire, allied together against their brother Lothaire in order to share the Empire of their grandfather Charlemagne (Charles the Great).

The Serment de Strasbourg was the first document written both in Roman language, ancestor of French, spoken by the soldiers of Louis and in Tudesc, ancestor of German, spoken by the soldiers of Charles (see full text in tip). It marks the beginning of the two poles that will play a main part in Europe's history, the Regnum (future kingdom of France) and the Imperium (future Holly Roman Empire), looking like the heir of the Antiquity's Roman Empire.

Strasbourg has been a bishopric since the 4th and soon became one of the most important in Europe. In 870, it became part of Germany. After a very complex history and a lot of turmoil, it became in 1681 part of France. Germany took it again in 1870 while it was freed on November 22nd 1918 and went back to France. During WWII, it was occupied by the Nazi army and freed on November 23rd 1944 by General Leclerc after a great deal of destructions.
Such a history, stretched along two millenaries made of Strasbourg a symbol for the friendship between the nations, heirs of Charlemagne Empire, and legitimated it as a seat for several European Institutions.

The city is called Strasbourg in French and Straßburg in German, pronounced Strossburi in Alsatian. Its inhabitants are called Strasbourgeois in French, Straßburger in German and Steckelburjer in Alsatian.

The whole old city, standing between two arms of the Ill river has been inscribed on the Unesco World Heritage list in December 1988 under the title "Strasbourg, large island". It includes the Gothic Cathedral, Saint Thomas church (XIIth - XVth), Saint-Pierre-le-Vieux (XIIth - XIVth), Saint-Pierre-le-Jeune (XIIIth - XVth), Saint-Etienne (XIIIth), the Musée de l'Oeuvre Notre-Dame, the Ponts Couverts, the Palais Rohan and the streets, alleys, quays, bridges, etc.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A lot to see. A must see!
  • Cons:A lot of visitors. Others also know it is a must see!
  • In a nutshell:Chose the period of your visit according to your expectations!
  • Last visit to Strasbourg: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Dec 23, 2006
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Reviews (71)

Comments (19)

  • jojes's Profile Photo
    May 15, 2012 at 4:02 AM

    Although I've been to Strasbourg before, I've never eaten Flammekuche ... I'll make sure I have some when going there soon.
    Great pages !

  • travelgourmet's Profile Photo
    Mar 14, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Jean-Louis, Strasbourg is all about eating the Flammekuche. lol Your restaurant tips leave me hungry. Great Christmas shopping street tips and photos. Thanks, Larry

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    Jun 5, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    Thank you Jean Louis, for this wonderful trip down memory lane. I love Strasbourg and would like to have enough time there to see as much as you did. Great pages, thanks again.

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo
    Jul 19, 2009 at 9:32 PM

    How nice they decorated this thouse for Marches de Noel...and the Église Saint Pierre le Vieux looks awesome...Norman :)

  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo
    May 9, 2009 at 11:38 PM

    Hi Jean-Louis, if you go on googlemaps and look for 18 place de Broglie you get a photo of your unknown building of General Tips. I found several infos about it, for example Theatre Alsacien, but not photos with it, so not sure. Keep on searching! Sissi

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2008 at 1:23 AM

    What a great city! No wonder it's so touristy. Loved the half-timbered houses and the magnificent cathedral. The Christmas markets look really interesting too. Thanks for this wonderful virtual tour, Jean-Louis.

  • tere1's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    Great photos and tips Jean Louis :)). I was thinking of visiting Strasbourg on my way to Karlsruhe but I couldn't make it this year. Maybe in a future trip!

  • May 14, 2008 at 4:18 AM

    Great page with a lot of information!

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Nov 14, 2007 at 3:35 AM

    A very informative & descriptive page with good photos! I've been to Strasbourg once (with my school) & unfortunately they didn't let us see much. My village in Germany is very close to Strasbourg, so I hope to return one day (not at Xmas! :-)

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Nov 8, 2007 at 3:29 AM

    Very enticing. I'm visiting there next March, thanks for the quality tips.


“I believe that tourists are very valuable to the modern world. It is very difficult to hate people you know. (Steinbeck)”

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