Noël en Alsace

Things rarely go to plan when travelling at Christmas time, do they? Particularly in a country that takes its jours fériés very seriously and when a dependency on fluffy, white snow is vital to the holiday activities. The choice to go to the Alsace region in France, which runs along the German border, seemed to me to be a brilliant idea: French language for me, German food and beer for Michael, Christmas markets galore and the beautiful Vosges mountains in the background, ripe for skiing because it ALWAYS snows when you expect it to right? Bien sûr!

Eguisheim

Cute Eguisheim – the French people’s favourite village (apparently).

Sitting inside our hotel, having a carpet picnic on Christmas day as the heavens opened up with hot (well, about 12°C) rain did put a slight dampner on the festive spirit. We spent six very tense days in beautiful  Alsatian villages praying that the temperatures would drop so we could get in one day of skiing…and on our second last day it did. Thankfully our Christmas village of Kaysersberg was particularly lovely, albeit in the rain – it even had it’s own castle!

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Realistically Alsace won’t be on my travel list again any time soon – a fan of France I definitely am but a fan of sauerkraut and aspic? Not so much! Once again I was struck by how much variety there is in this amazing country’s landscape and culture…but give me a Périgueux duck dinner any day, I say 😉

The Alsace good:

  • Five separate Christmas Markets in beautiful Colmar.
  • Château du HautKoenigsbourg – incredible castle on an impossible cliff.
  • Speaking French again – my skills were truly merdique but it felt nice to be able to chat to people.
  • Eguisheim and Kaysersberg – beaux villages too cute to believe.
  • Ice skating and skiing – I sucked far less than I thought I would.
  • Moricettes – amazing pretzel bread rolls that I have never seen before. So yum!
Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar Christmas Market

Colmar Bretzels

Colmar Christmas Markets

Colmar

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Eguisheim - le pigeonnier

Eguisheim – le pigeonnier

Eguisheim

Eguisheim

The local beer - really good!

The local beer – naughty and very nice!

So much sauerkraut/choucroute!

So much sauerkraut/choucroute!

A Stork (La Cigogne), the bird of Alsace

A stork (la cigogne), the bird of Alsace

Kaysersberg boulangerie

Kaysersberg boulangerie

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Château in Kaysersberg

Château in Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Kaysersberg

Lac Blanc Ski Station

Lac Blanc Ski Station

Skiing

Maybe I wasn’t that good!

The Alsace bad:

  • Weather stress
  • Christmas tree liqueur – tastes like Pinoclean :/
  • Freiburg across the border in Germany – not a particularly exciting day trip
  • Kougelhopf cakes – they’ve got nothing on cannelés
  • So many sausages and potatoes…so much stodginess!
  • Finding out that the mushroom we once found growing in our dungeon ex-flat in London is actually a specialty in France…we had at least five on our Christmas Eve boeuf! Whaaaa?

Happy New Year everyone and keep smiling no matter the weather!

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3 thoughts on “Noël en Alsace

  1. Looks fabulous even without the snow. I thought Switzerland was across the border from Colmat? Love the Christmas markets, they really get you in the festive spirit. Did you fly? Drive?

    • Hey Birnita, yeah Colmar is in a little pocket right on the border of Switzerland/Germany. We actually flew into Basel where you have tgw option of exiting the airport in 3 different countries! Quite cool 🙂 we had to drive to the snow.

  2. Pingback: Last days of colour in Strasbourg | La Vie en Rosie

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