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This article was last updated on the 13th of February 2023 by Lena
Are you planning to take a day trip from Paris to the famous Christmas Market in Strasbourg? Then this post is for you. I took this trip a couple of times already and I will share with you everything you need to know to plan this magical trip for yourself.
My last trip from Paris to Strasbourg was at the end of November 2022 so the information in this post is as fresh as it gets.
You’ll know about the train ride and where to buy tickets, what to do in Strasbourg and what not to miss. And of course: Which regional specialties you absolutely need to try in Strasbourg and where you can find them. Feel free to simply copy my trip.
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A day trip to Strasbourg from Paris is the best side trip you can take if you are in Paris during Christmas time. The city in the French Alsace region is famous for its magical Christmas vibes, complete with mulled wine, Christmas carols, and gingerbread.
Strasbourg at Christmas is a fairytale. The medieval town is covered with timbered houses and cobbled stone alleys. You stumble upon little Christmas markets all over town and the Christmas decorations are simply stunning. They take Christmas seriously there and you find decorations on almost every house and shop.
The Christmas Market in Strasbourg
If you are visiting Paris during the month of December and you are keen to see a real Christmas market, then definitely consider taking a day trip from Paris to Strasbourg. It is known that you find the best Christmas markets in Europe, but Strasbourg is the quintessence, it’s THE capital of Christmas! (it is, you can find this slogan all over town)
Expect everything: mulled wine, millions of lights and candles, a 30 m tall Christmas tree, hot chocolate, Christmas carols, shows and concerts, gingerbread, more mulled wine, candies, pretzels, Christmas decorations, traditional food from Alsace, and if you are very lucky, you might have even snow.
As you can imagine, the Christkindelsmärik in Strasbourg is not a random European market that you would find in any other city. It’s moreover one of the most scenic and beautiful, and also the oldest Christmas market in Europe and an amazing day trip if you spend Christmas in Paris. It’s been held since the year 1570 and follows, therefore, a 450 year old tradition!
Today, it attracts more than 2 million annual visitors!
The Christmas market and its 300 chalets are set around the Cathedral of Strasbourg and on 12 other sites within the city center. Yes, it’s basically all over town! It’s the capital of Christmas after all!
Don’t miss our post about the best weekend trips from Paris by train, if you are in for a longer getaway!
Where is Strasbourg and how to get to Strasbourg from Paris
Strasbourg is the capital of the French region Alsace, which is since a few years part of the region Grand Est. But as this is purely administrative, we can still refer to re region as Alsace. It is a very distinct French region in the east of the country, which is very different from the rest of France. It even has its own language, on top of being broadly bilingual in french/german thanks to the very strong ties to bordering Germany.
Strasbourg lies around 500km east of Paris but despite the distance, the trip takes less than 2 hours by high-speed train TGV. If you plan a day trip, taking the train from Paris to Strasbourg is your only really viable option. Everything else would take way too long. The distance is too big for a one-day trip to Strasbourg by car, and you’re in trouble if it’s snowing
My trip to Strasbourg step by step
In 2022, my husband and I decided to take another day trip from Paris to Strasbourg. We like to get out of Paris from time to time and as it’s so easy to travel by train in France, we never run out of lovely destinations.
So, Strasbourg in November 2022. I will tell you now exactly what we did in Strasbourg and how we organized our getaway. Feel free to simply copy our trip because we really had a good time.
Day trip to Strasbourg in a nutshell
Strasbourg lies 500km east of Paris, it’s 2h by train.
Buy your train ticket: reserve your ticket here with omio
What to eat: Alsace is famous for Cabbage, duck liver, Flammkueche, and sweet wine
Where to eat: We ate at Gurtlerhoft. Traditional food, delicious and good service
What to do in Strasbourg: we visited the Christmas Markets, did some shopping, went to the History Museum of Strasbourg, and enjoyed the city with some hot mulled wine
How to get from Paris to Strasbourg
Even though you could travel to Strasbourg by car or even by plane, I wouldn’t advise those options. Apart from the ecological factor, it’s just not convenient.
It’s best to travel from Paris to Strasbourg by train. In fact, it is an easy day trip from Paris by train. Thanks to the French high-speed train TGV it takes less than 2 hours from Paris to Strasbourg.
The train station in Strasbourg is just a few minutes away from the Christmas Markets.
Where to buy train tickets to Strasbourg?
Save time & money: You can buy your ticket here in advance. The site is in English and provides you with a mobile ticket. It’s pretty much straightforward.
When we first planned to visit Strasbourg, I quickly discarded the idea when I saw the ticket prices. Well, I just did the common mistake and checked for a ticket for the coming weekend. However, when I came back a bit later and looked for a date a few weeks ahead, the tickets were suddenly only a third of the initial price.
So, if you are a tad flexible, it certainly is worth it to compare dates. The cheapest date is usually Tuesday by the way.
Anyway, I recommend you buy your tickets in advance to save time and money. However, you can also purchase your train ticket to Strasbourg at the train station. The ticket office of SNCF (the French train company) is located in Hall Alsace on the first floor. You can also purchase your ticket at the yellow or white ticket vending machines that you find all over the station.
The train to Strasbourg leaves at Gare de l’Est.
You get to the station Gare de l’Est by Metro Line 4, 5, and 7, or by RER E. Gare de l’Est is also serviced by the Transilien P suburb train that connects communes in the southeast to Paris. Don’t miss our guide about how to use the Parisian Metro to get more information on how to ride the Paris Metro like a pro!
How to find your train at Gare de l’Est?
First of all, this is really nothing you need to worry about. The train station Gare de l’Est is very straightforward and you simply can’t go wrong.
Gare de l’Est has 30 platforms and platforms 2-12 and 23 -30 are used by main train lines. For example, the high-speed train TGV. Aim to arrive 30 minutes prior to departure time at the train station, just in case.
About 15 minutes before your train leaves, the platform of your train will be indicated on overhead screens. 5 Minutes before departure the gates are closing and they won’t let you in anymore.
And just to stress it out again in case you overread it the first time: arrive 30 minutes before your train is scheduled.
What to do in Strasbourg?
If you visit Strasbourg, the Capitale de Noël, you are probably interested in visiting the markets and drinking sweet mulled wine, aren’t you? But there’s more to do in Strasbourg. Here’s a list of things we did and a few more.
Visit the Christmas Market: The Christkindelsmärik
Christkindelsmärik means “Market of the Christ child” in the Alsatian dialect.
The main reason is of course the Christmas Markets. You find them literally all over the center of Strasbourg. Every bigger square has a few chalets, but the biggest Christmas Markets are in front of the Cathedral and the town hall. It’s here where you find the big Christmas tree as well.
If you want more details, check out the map here of the 2022 Christmas Market in Strasbourg. But honestly, by just walking around you will probably see them all anyways.
History Museum of Strasbourg
Strasbourg has a few interesting museums, but due to convenience, we visited the museum about the history of Strasbourg. Maybe you didn’t know, but Strasbourg was the town where Gutenberg invented book printing and also an important crossroad for trade. Not at least because in town stood the last bridge over the river Rhine before the north sea. You see, I picked some facts up in the museum. (Maybe because my husband is one of these people who read every display and so do I, for not getting bored)
Visit the Cathedral of Strasbourg
The Cathedral is one of the main sights of Strasbourg and something you impossibly can miss. It’s free to visit and very much worth it. The inside of the cathedral is rather sparse, without many statues and other religious objects you might expect.
But the stained glass windows are spectacular. To my surprise they also had a lot of tapestry in the cathedral, hanging from the ceiling. I have been to a lot of churches and cathedrals but that’s something I have never seen before.
The highlight is the astrological clock though. A huge clock that shows the orbit of the earth, moon, and planets from Mercury to Saturn.
Stroll through “Petit France”
The center of Strasbourg lies on an Island on the river Ill. Here you find as well the old town called “Petit France”. The quaint quarter is traversed by canals, timbered houses and cobblestones and dates back to the 16th century. In the middle age, it was the district of fishermen and tanner, today it’s one of the most popular and beautiful quarters in Strasbourg.
The Christmas Market in Petit France was the one that I liked the most. The beautiful houses and the lights added up to a very romantic flair.
Enjoy traditional food from the Alsace Region
Like every French region, Strasbourg has as well a very strong culinary identity. Hence, when in Alsace, you simply have to try Choucroute, Flammkueche, and Spätzle.
However, I am biased here. With my German origins, I obviously think the real Sauerkrat (Chouchroute) is the one, my mother cooks. While my French husband believes that the French version is how it’s supposed to be prepared. Either way, the Sauerkraut in Strasbourg was good, I have to admit. And so was the Flammkueche with Munster cheese.
If you are looking for a good restaurant to try traditional cuisine from Alsace, I can recommend the restaurant Gurtlerhoft. We enjoyed the food and the staff was fast and friendly. You need to reserve though, it was booked out.
Is it safe to visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market in 2022
If you ask yourself this question, you are probably referring to the terrible terrorist attack that happened at the Christmas Market in Strasbourg in 2018.
I would love to say: “yes, of course, don’t worry.” But that’s not the time we’re living in. All I can say is that I felt very safe in Strasbourg. Access to the center was regulated, cars were not allowed, I saw cops patrolling and everything seemed very calm and under control.
But maybe see it this way: if you are thinking about taking a day trip to Strasbourg from Paris, you already did a risk assessment for Paris, maybe visited Christmas markets in Paris already, and considered it all safe enough. And you can be sure, Strasbourg is absolutely not less safe than Paris.
Voilà, now you know everything to plan your day trip to Strasbourg. You’ll see, it’s a really lovely getaway from Paris by train. Enjoy!
PS: Check out these posts, they will help you plan your trip to Paris
- Paris hidden gems: 80+ well kept secrets you shouldn’t miss
- What NOT to do in Paris -23 (costly) Paris Mistakes you need to avoid!
- 14 Hotels with stunning Eiffel Tower views- for (almost) every budget!
- Your Perfect 2 Days in Paris! Itinerary & Insider Tips
- These are the best 5 Cabarets in Paris
- 5 ways to get from Charles de Gaulle airport to Paris – THE complete guide!
- Scams in Paris! How to avoid the most common cons
The Christmas market takes place from the 25th of November until the 24th of December.
The distance between Strasbourg and Paris is roughly 500km, 310 miles. But don’t worry, the TGV (high-speed train) takes less than 2h!
It’s a short walk of 10 minutes.
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