Last winter, I had a chance to visit about five different Christmas markets. For anyone who has never experienced a Christmas market before, they are basically parts or a town or city that are set aside for Christmas-themed stalls. There are typically lights and decorations, vendors of all sorts of unique items, as well quite a few stalls for selling food.
Because Christmas last year fell around the same time as I was travelling around France, I was very fortunate to get to visit markets in four French cities and one Canadian city. I was glad to visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market, as it is very famous, and also discovered an excellent Christmas Market that I thought was even better than that one. Today I'd like to share with you all about the Colmar Christmas Market.
I'd like to begin by saying that Colmar, France was never on my list of places to visit. Although it is a really beautiful town, it is nowhere near as popular as many other French cities. This is why the quality of its wonderful Christmas market really took me by surprise.
While spending a week with friends near Strasbourg, France, I decided to take a day trip by train to Colmar, while they were at work.
The architecture of Colmar is often described as storybook-esque. With
cobblestone streets, brightly coloured houses and beautiful lay-out, the town already feels magical. With the addition of the Christmas decorations and the markets, Colmar is transformed into something truly special.
One of my favourite parts of this particular Christmas market was that it wasn't contained to only a few parts of the city. Colmar's market consisted of 5 different areas that were transformed to make up the market. There were maps that pointed attenders from one market area to another, which created a real immersive experience, going from place to place within the town. It stretched from indoor markets to outdoor ones, with so many things to look at and places to go.
As an animal person, I really enjoyed the little "petting zoos," which I felt brought a unique aspect to the market. It was something that was great for the kids as well as adults like myself who love seeing animals.
And of course, no Christmas market is complete without the food market areas. I am such a foodie, and love to spend time looking to see what kinds of food the vendors at different stands offer. I tried a few of the foods from the local vendors at this particular market, but between all of the Christmas in France, I tried to try as many "typical" foods as I could get my hands on.
Other typical Christmas stands you will find throughout the markets are the drink vendors. The big sellers are the hot mulled wines. Something that the French markets did which I really thought was amazing were that each town or city's market had a reusable plastic cup that was Christmas decorated and had the name of the town on it. Anyone who bought a mulled wine or apple cider paid €1 more for the drink, which paid for the cup. After one finished their drink, they could decide if they would like to keep the cup as a souvenir or to return it to one of the many drink vendors to receive €1 back. I thought this was a great way to reduce the amount of waste as well as to keep the grounds cleaner.
With so many stalls to look at and Christmas-turned places to explore, Christmas markets can be a lot of fun. Because of it's many wonderful components, I would have to say Colmar's market would have to have been my favourite I've seen in France. If you happen to have a Christmas market nearby this Christmas season, I would definitely encourage you to go and check it out. They are not only a fun place to look for Christmas presents for others, but a great place to explore by yourself or with a friend, and are certainly a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Have you ever been to a Christmas market? Where was it and what was your favourite part? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!