I was born in France, in the beautiful “région bordelaise” on the shores of the Dordogne. Needless to say, my childhood days were nurtured by beautiful landscapes and delicious food and it was easy to be content with just that. I’ve also gotten to spend a lot of holidays in cold, windy and haunting Brittany, and recently discovered the South of France and that made my knowledge of France cover almost all the South-West. From Paris upwards: nothing. It needed to change.
On Wednesday night, my two friends, Jess and Sarah, and I hopped on a night bus to Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace for a little adventure get away from Paris. We needed some authentic Christmasy vibe, hot drinks and comforting treats. And we weren’t disappointed.
Arriving on the coach at 6am meant we had the historical neighbourhood all to ourselves. We walked around in the dark little streets, gazing at all the Christmas decorations all lit out, waiting for the town to wake up, always guided by the Cathedral steeple everywhere we went. We got some Streusel for breakfast at Café Stein before lingering at a bric-a-brac on Place Kléber where we discovered vintage postcards, some written before WWI, and even some with Hitler’s face on the stamp…
Our toes were a little cold from just standing outside in this northern weather and we found shelter at the Musée Alsacien to learn more about Strasbourg and its beautiful region. The museum is filled with pretty doors, fireplaces, traditional clothes and objects and will make you want to live in a little Alsace farm, I promise.
Next stop involved some Christmas shopping at one of the many Christmas markets across town. White Mulled Wine (the best!) in hand, we walked around, discovering Alsatian delights such as Bredels, Kugelhopf, and Manneles. I just wanted to try everything, naturally.
Lunch was taken by the impressive Cathedral and involved toasted bread, white sauce, bacon and cheese: tartine flambée! Ultimate comfort food wouldn’t you say?
We walked around a bit, finding little gems such as the courtyard of the Palais Rohan, before entering the Cathedral. The stained-glass windows were some of the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life… At the other end of the Cathedral stands the Copernic clock: a magnificent work of horology.
More Christmas market was visited, and my stomach was like a black hold, swallowing any food it could. I tried to take advantage of the light at various times of the day to snap some photos, using my friends as models and freaking them out a little… Before we stepped in the cutest tea room by the Galeries Lafayette: Pâtisserie Riss. We were all very tired from the bus journey, arriving at 6am, the cold, and all the food I had eaten in my case and were in serious need of coffee.
By 5pm the sun was gone and had left the city sparkling with its magical christmas lights. Our walk to the neighbourhood of La Petite France felt like walking in a Christmas wonderland with patches of Christmas Market here and there. We grabbed dinner at a lively brasserie called La Corde à Linge where we devoured Fleischkechles (Alsatian meatballs) before getting Duval beer at the busiest bar in town: BerThom.
We headed back to the coach station at 11pm, the city was already falling back asleep and so were we.
I absolutely loved this day trip, discovering the Christmas capital and its cultural heritage and I most certainly will go back! :)