Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Strasbourg Capitale de Noël

Having departed Luxembourg, the next stop was in Strasbourg, France, self-styled 'Capitale de Noël' (capital of Christmas).  Capital of the Alsace region, Strasbourg is a beautiful city, particularly well-known for the Petite-France district where numerous black and white timber-framed buildings occupy the region surrounding the gothic Strasbourg Cathedral.  Below are some pictures of the Petite France district.

The pictures contains part of the Ponts Couvert (covered bridges) nearby the Barrage Vauban.

While the main Christmas markets are in Place Kleber and near the Cathedral itself, every so often, one runs into smaller markets selling beautiful crafts.

 After leaving the pristine and picturesque Petite France area, we start heading towards Place Kleber.  The entire city is beautifully decorated from the small alleyways to the large main streets.

And here we arrive at the main square at Place Kleber where stands the Great Christmas Tree (of 2010) in all its splendour.

Navigating through the quaint side streets and alleyways to get from Place Kleber to the Cathedral was a feast for the eyes.  Christmas decorations here are pretty much incomparable to anything I have ever seen anywhere in the world.  Christmas ornaments, wreathes, figurines, chandeliers, branches etc. are all used to stunning effect and brilliantly lit.

After walking underneath the chandelier decorations on one of the streets immediately next to the cathedral and turning a corner, my jaw literally dropped open when I met the following sight.  Pictures really don't do justice to that initial moment when you see the Cathedral's main facade rise high up into the night sky amidst the Christmas decor.

This was truly a sight I will never forget.

Next to the Cathedral is the main Christmas market where you can get anything from hot wine to candied fruit to Christmas cookies - here, they are selling roasted chestnuts on the left.

Being around dinnertime, and the smell of roasted chestnuts having got my stomach juices flowing, I wandered into a nearby restaurant named Au Sanglier where I ordered some Alsatian specialties, Jambonneau

 and Fleischschnacke.

One of the cute Christmas decorations on the Strasbourg tram, which, I should also point out, is one of the most convenient and user friendly mass transit systems I've found anywhere.  The trams run directly through the old town and its near-ground level access makes it feel like you just walk onto a moving walkway.

Walking past some more Christmas market signs before heading home.

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