Day trip from Paris: The Christmas Market of Strasbourg!
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If you are visiting Paris during the month of December and you are keen to see some real Christmas market, consider taking a day trip from Paris to Strasbourg. When I say real Christmas market, I mean REAL! Like for real! Forget about the north pole and all that; Strasbourg is THE capital of Christmas!
Expect everything: mulled wine, millions of lights and candles, a 30 m tall Christmas tree, hot chocolate, Christmas carols, shows and concerts, ginger bread, more mulled wine, candies, pretzels, Christmas decorations, an ice rink, traditional food from Alsace, and if you are lucky, you might have even snow. Imagine this overload of Christmas flair in the fairy tale like medieval surrounding of timbered houses and cobbled stone alleys. It’s basically the citification of a Christmas carol.
Hence, visiting Strasbourg is definitely the nicest winter day tour from Paris!
Book your train ticket from Paris to Strasbourg here and be there in less than 2 hours!
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 of Europe. It’s held since the year 1570 and follows therefore a 450 years old tradition! Today it attracts more than 2 million annual visitors!
The Christmas market and it’s 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!
Christkindelsmärik means “Market of the Christ child” in the Alsatian dialect.
The Christmas Market opens every day at 11am and closes at 8pm. Friday and Saturday has extended opening times; friday until 9pm and saturday until 10pm
The Christmas market takes place from the 22nd of November until the 30th 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 10-15 minutes.
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. The distance is too big for a one day trip to Strasbourg by car and you’re in trouble if it’s snowing. A flight is quick but the waiting time adds up and you’ll spend most of your day at airports.
It’s best to travel from Paris to Strasbourg by train.Thanks to the French high speed train TGV it takes less than 2 hours from Paris to Strasbourg.
Good to know: The train to Strasbourg leaves at Gare de l’Est.
The train station is serviced by Metro 4, 5 and 7, or RER E. It is also serviced by the Transilien P suburb train that connects communes in the south east 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!
Where can I buy train tickets from Paris to Strasbourg?
You either can buy them in advance or directly at the train station. The ticket office of SNCF (the french train company) is located in Hall Alsace on the ground floor. You can also purchase your ticket or at the yellow or white ticket vending machines that you find all over the station.
Note: Buying your ticket on the day might be very expensive and you risk that the train you plan to board is sold out. Especially if you are traveling on a weekend.
∇ Purchase your tickets in advance and online!
To avoid super expensive train tickets, long queues or – and more likely – sold out tickets, plan your trip to the Christmas Market in Strasbourg in advance. You easily can purchase train tickets here. Make sure that the ticket you buy is a mobile tickets, so you only need to have it on your phone and don’t need to print them out. However, if you are worried not to have internet connection, take a screenshot. (that’s my personal experience talking here… save yourself from stress 😉
Sold out tickets are not the only thing that could go wrong in Paris! Read more about the most common Paris mistakes!
How do I find the right platform at Gare de l’Est?
Gare de l’Est has 30 platforms and platform 2-12 and 23 -30 are used by main train lines, for example the high speed train TGV. Aim to arrive 30 minutes prior departure time at the train station, just in case. About 15 minutes before your train leaves, the platform will be indicated on overhead screens.
The platforms are marked either as yellow or blue zone. Before a number pops up at the screens, it will usually already be indicated whether your train will leave from somewhere in the yellow zone or the blue one, so you can already already wait in the right place.
And just to stress it out again in case you overread it the first time: arrive 30 minutes before your train is scheduled.
Is it safe to visit the Christmas Market in Strasbourg in 2019?
I would love to say “yes, absolutely, don’t worry about anything and be happy” … and even though I do think that you should do exactly that: “don’t worry, be happy!”. However, reality is often showing a different face and you are nowhere really save, anywhere at no time. But 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 and considered Paris safe enough to travel there. And you can be sure, Strasbourg is absolutely NOT less safe than Paris.
On the 13th of November 2019, a press conference regarding the safety and security measures during the Christmas Market in Strasbourg took place. Read on to know the details:
On a more serious note, there are several security measures in place. There will be a high Police attendance – in uniform and civil, and mobile “Sentinelle Forces” will be circulating as well. The police attendance includes also a team specialized in terror and mass shootings.
Only 16 bridges will be open during the opening hours of the Christmas Market – 4 for cars and 12 only for pedestrians and cyclists. Traffic will be restricted to authorized vehicles only and systematic controls for those are in place.
Furthermore, 400 cameras will be installed and the entrance to the Christmas market is generally controlled, bag checks included.
Now you know everything you need to know to take a day trip to the Christmas Market in Strasbourg from Paris.
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