Christmas Spirit in Strasbourg

Winter is coming. And with winter comes the Christmas markets! One of our coworkers is Alsatian and highly recommended the one in Strasbourg, so we decided to take a long weekend and check it out.

We arrived the day before the market officially opened. Since Strasbourg is pretty incredible on its own, we kept ourselves occupied by wandering the little winding streets and eating. Oh the eating. But we will get to that in a moment. First, some architecture:

The city is dominated by an incredible Baroque cathedral. The size and detail of which are mind-boggling.

The color is amazing too, this coppery color with greenish tinges. And it's enormous.

All over the city were these incredible, old buildings. Like a storybook.

The Christmas decorations were amazing. Every street in the city center, no matter the size, was festive beyond belief - everything from Baccarat crystal chandeliers to mechanical polar bears to bubble machines. The mechanical bears might have you raising an eyebrow but trust me –it was magical.

Vintage fiats. I am compelled to photograph them.

In a back alley, I found my future home amongst old, French books. Then I was informed that the proprietor might be unhappy if I began squatting in his shop. Also I don't read in French. Details.

Above: my favorite section of the market (it is scattered throughout the city). All local Alsatian vendors selling delicious things.

Market stalls by the cathedral.

Okay, let's talk about food. Every street in this city is lined with beautiful little places to buy, eat and stare at food. The window displays are so intricate. For an example, see above –who knew that meats could look so festive?

This bread broke my heart it was so delicious.

Before moving to Lausanne, I thought that roasted chestnuts were a thing of Victorian children's stories. I had no idea that a) they exist in such quantities and b) are edible. In French they are called marron and in the fall and winter are served candied, roasted or covered in a sweet glaze alongside the traditional la chasse meal. Having tried two of these three varieties I can attest to their awesomeness. Especially when served with venison. Mmmm.

After spending so many hours looking at food, I was in serious need of sustenance. We stopped in a tea room and ordered vin chaud (aka glühwein aka spiced wine aka dangerously delicious), tea and pain d'epice. This particular version of pain d'epice was filled with marzipan. It didn't last long.

For lunch the following day we stopped into a little butcher shop with a tiny restaurant upstairs. I wanted to move in here as well. Pork has more nutritional value than books. In theoretical squatting terms, I am fickle.

More pain d'epice. The man helping me at this stall knew the trick to good salesmanship - just keep handing me samples and then I will go into a trance and buy one of everything.

You know how you aren't supposed to grocery shop hungry? Well I did, and all I bought was cake and chocolate. Being an adult is great.

All in all, a great trip. On the way, we passed many interesting little towns so I think that Strasbourg is just the first of many trips to the Alsace region.