Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas in Germany and France

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German Christmas Market

Magical. Cold. Festive. Charming. Quaint. Beautiful. Warm-cider-wine-that-warms-your-soul. Breathtaking. Memorable. Colorful. Twinkley.  Delicious. Surreal. 

Just a few words to describe Christmas in Europe.  I've been to 4 different markets this year and each one has gotten better and better.  It's a very different experience to be in Europe for Christmas.  It feels more special.  Less commercialized.  More memorable in some ways.  Perhaps it's just the novelty of cobblestone streets or being surrounded by an array of foreign speakers with lovely accents or the ancient architecture of nearly every building reminding you of the rich cultural history or the street performers playing their accordians and clarinets. 

[caption id="attachment_1022" align="aligncenter" width="518" caption="Noël à Strasbourg"][/caption]

 European countries in and of themselves are oozing with cuteness and charm.  But add Christmas sparkle and music and it's just dreamy. 

 Nearly every city and town in Germany participates in a Weinachtmarkt, or Christmas market for us English speaking folk which takes place outside.  Where it is cold.  Freezing cold to be exact.  (about 20 F tonight) And there is nothing better to warm your hands and your soul then a steaming cup of Glühwein. 

[caption id="attachment_1024" align="aligncenter" width="412" caption="Glühwein, cheers!"][/caption]

If you've never heard of Glühwein (vin chaud in France) or even tasted it, you are missing out!  It tastes like warm red wine mixed with apple cider.  I believe that is essentially what it is.  

Of all the markets I've been to thus far Strasbourg, France is by far my favorite.  I think I may be bias in a few ways.  For one I understand the language better.  I took 5 years of french once upon a time and remember enough to get by and converse decently.  (Except for the one time I told a guy I am a toilet.  I'll share that story another time).  But also the wine is much better than German wine in my most unprofessional sommelier opinion.  I could guzzle the vin chaud in France.  But aside from all that the city is just beautiful.  And even more so during Christmas. 

[caption id="attachment_1026" align="aligncenter" width="491" caption="Noël à Strasbourg"][/caption]

 The buildings, streets and churches are dripping with seasonal decor and the city is illuminated at night by the pretty glow of thousands of Christmas lights. 

[caption id="attachment_1031" align="aligncenter" width="491" caption="Noël à Strasbourg"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_1032" align="aligncenter" width="491" caption="Noël à Strasbourg"][/caption]

The vendor huts (for lack of a better term) offer so many different types of trinkets and goodies.  From ornaments and candles to chocolate and woodcrafts. 

[caption id="attachment_1028" align="aligncenter" width="430" caption="Noël à Strasbourg"][/caption]

Check out what I bought.

 You put little tea light candles inside them.  So pretty! 

 I am offcially warm and fuzzy inside with Christmas cheer.  And not just because of all the vin chaud I drank :)

Hope everyone is having a Happy Holiday season!  Christmas is only 12 days away!



  1. Beautiful post and photos! I wanna go to Strasbourg's Christmas market.

  2. Fantastic photos! Looks like a fairy Christmas! Love your new decorations too :-)

  3. You have a lovely blog sharing your German experiences. I wish you luck with your move.
    The surroundings of Munich are simply beautiful. It is great to see Strasbourg at Christmas, must do this myself sometime. Your children's photos are beautiful!