December 30, 2018 Alsace, France

Christmas in Alsace: 3 Fairytale Villages to Visit


Before flying home to the States for Christmas, I took a little solo trip to Alsace, a French region bordering Germany. If Alsace sounds familiar to you, it might be because of your high school world history lessons. Alsace-Lorraine is territory that's historically flopped between the French and German governments, with the most recent switch being after WWII. Because of this shared heritage, German culture remains very present, especially in Alsatian food.

Alsace is especially known for its quaint villages and festive Christmas markets. I had a couple days off in the middle of the week, so I figured I'd go exploring. Another draw--all three of these villages were actually inspiration for the town in Beauty and the Beast.

Getting around Alsace without a car is a little complicated, but I was able to visit all of these villages via bus, either from Séléstat or Colmar. One of the buses I took was a special Christmas shuttle, or "navette de Noël." In the description of each village, I'll give further details on how to get there :)


Christmas in Alsace: 3 Fairytale Villages to Visit


1. Riquewihr


Riquewihr, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Riquewihr, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Riquewihr, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Riquewihr, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}

How to get there: Line 106 from Colmar or Ribeauvillé. Tickets are 2,80€ one way, or 5€ round trip. In the warmer months, I might've actually biked from Ribeauvillé since it's only 3 miles away, and you pass through vineyards on the Route des Vins.

What I liked about it: This was my favorite village of the three that I visited, maybe because it was the most bustling. The Christmas market was the largest, though still modestly-sized compared to those in larger towns like Colmar. I loved the hints of green from the hibernating wisteria--I can only imagine how pretty the village is in the spring when the flowers are blooming. I also was tempted by a lot of regional specialties, from macaroons (the coconut ones) to spaetzle (kind of like a German mac n cheese, often with bacon). 

2. Ribeauvillé


Ribeauvillé, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Ribeauvillé, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Ribeauvillé, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}Ribeauvillé, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}


How to get there: I took the coach bus from the train station in Séléstat. With a youth discount card (carte jeune), tickets were 1,40€ one way, or 2,80€ round trip. You can buy tickets online here.

What I liked about it: This village was especially picturesque because of the hills and castle ruins in the distance. Unfortunately, the Christmas market only runs a few days each year, and I just happened to miss the last day earlier that week. Still, the village is charming and worth a stroll through. The bus from Séléstat actually goes through several lovely villages, and I wish I could've stopped at more. I was especially drawn to Bergheim.

3. Eguisheim


Eguisheim, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Eguisheim, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Eguisheim, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}
Eguisheim, France | Christmas in Alsace {imperfect idealist}

How to get there: I took a train from Séléstat to Colmar, then the Christmas shuttle to Eguisheim. The stop is right across the street from the train station, next to a little wooden stand. Tickets are 5€ during the week, and 8€ on weekends. You can use the ticket all day, so be sure to keep it for your return trip.

What I liked about it: I had high expectations for this village, especially since it's known as one of the prettiest towns in France. It is quite quaint, but I didn't really see what it had over the other two. It definitely feels much quieter as it's nestled in the hillside. The residential circle around the town featured colorful homes and a handful of artisan shops. The Christmas market was small, but still interesting to poke around. There definitely seemed to be more wineries here; the gift sets were the cutest (the box was designed like a typical colorful Alsatian house) and also not too expensive--I saw a few at 7€/bottle. 



If you're willing to brave the cold and wait around a bit for buses, exploring Alsace's villages without a car is doable. These three spots are especially festive and quaint--if you need help getting into the Christmas cheer, villages on the Route des Vins are the place to go.

Christmas in Alsace: 3 Fairytale Villages to Visit | {imperfect idealist} #france #travel #alsace

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