Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The AMAZING Strasbourg Christmas Market


You better grab a large café, this is going to be a necessarily long post.

Before I start to talk about my truly amazing day in Strasbourg, let me just once again say that Lyon's Fête Des Lumières over the weekend was fantastic to say the very least. It is not to be missed if you are ever in France during the first week in December.

Several people connected with the Falcons have counseled me to, if I had the chance, make the trip to the Northeast corner of France to visit Strasbourg during their annual Christmas Market.

Monday was that day.

It did require a four hour and 15 minute train ride in each direction but, as it turned out, it was well worth it.

Arrival in Strasbourg


I left The Villa at 4:50 a.m. to catch the 5:04 a.m. bus to Gare Part-Dieu for the 6:00 a.m. TGV high-speed train to Strasbourg. After equal parts of reading and dozing, I finally arrived in France's Alsace-Lorraine region at 10:15 a.m.

The River L'ill


Strasbourg is the capital of Alsace and is a city full of canals.

If you know your European history, you will recall that the Alsace-Lorraine region is located on the present day German border. This buffer region has gone back and forth between France and Germany for centuries.

A street in Strasbourg serves as a perfect example of the region's political intrigue.

In the mid-19th century this street was known as Avenue Napoleon.

In 1871, it became Kaiser-Wilhemstrasse.

In 1918, it was rechristened Boulevard de la République.

In 1940 it became known as Adolf-Hitlerstrasse.

Since the end of World War II in 1945 said street has been referred to as Avenue du Général-de-Gaulle.

Strasbourg
Capital of Christmas

This was Strasbourg's bold boast, could they live up to it?

Let's start with a look to see if the city's storefronts were sporting any Christmas decorations.

Nice

Very Nice

A wild boar at the Christmas Feast?

Getting Interesting

Santa is always a good choice

As are Polar Bears


Coca-Cola anyone?

Moose are always a good touch

Angels at Christmas, but of course

Wreaths are important

As are Teddy Bears

Presents are part of the
season to be sure

Very Festive

Hold on Santa!

Cute Bear

Crafts shops from guest artisans
of the Republic of Georgia

Ho, Ho, Ho . . .

Do They ever stop?

Nope!

Simple but nice

Half Timbered Magic

Gingerbread Men,
great Christmas treats

Galeries Lafayette Tree

Strasbourg's BIG Christmas Tree


O.K., Strasbourg definitely knows how to dress up the old town in the Christmas Spirit!

Jean Baptiste Kléber


Born in Strasbourg in 1753, he was one of Napoleon's most noted generals. It is the square that bears his name that I started visiting the immense Christmas Markets in earnest after a cursory look at some shops near the train station.

While I have found Lyon's Christmas Market near the Perrache train station of great interest the past two weeks, nothing there prepared for the shear size of Strasbourg's entry into the world of Christmas Markets.

It was impressive, a Yuletide on steroids kind of feel.  

More Vin Chaud Shops per square
kilometer than any other city in France


I was O.K. with that.

Temptations EVERYWHERE!

I tried to be good.

Ornaments for Sale

Dessert Treats Too

Lots of Christmas Shops were set
up in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral

Did I mention that
they sold ornaments?

I think that I did

France loves Merry-Go-Rounds

Tribute to the pioneer film making
Lumiere Brothers' 1902 film
A Trip to the Moon

Why is this Gingerbread Man Smiling?


Take a closer look at the girl on the left.

Santa Going to Work

5ºC/41ºF . . . Balmy

A warm cocoa at The Dubliner

Laurie once got lost in the HUGE
Käthe Wohlfaret store in Germany


No, REALLY!

Good Street Musicians

Better Ones

video
Adding Mirth to Strasbourg

Does Strasbourg have any religiously interesting sights you ask? Well, as a matter of fact . . .

St. Georges, I believe

The Nativity in a random church

St. Michael the Archangel
for sure

Notre Dame Cathedral


Started in 1176 and finished in 1429, it is Gothic in style and made of rose colored sandstone.

Lots of the New Testament here

This happened all the time at St. Francis
High School in the early 1960s


We were all better students because of it I'm sure.

Virtues vs. Vices

Looks like the Virtues are Winning

What am I doing here?

Hey, where did your head go?

It is damp in Strasbourg

The Witch from Hansel and Gretel


The shop below her sold delicious spice cakes and cookies I was told.

Roosting

ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME!!!

Flying Buttresses

The Main Cathedral Tower

A rare picture of me

Cool Organ in the Cathedral

Rich Tapestries too

Lots of . . .

. . . Tapestries it turned out

The mandatory Rosette Window

Passion Scene in Notre Dame

Above the High Altar

The Angel Pillar

The Cathedral's Astronomical Clock


It was while viewing this magnificent timepiece that I noticed a sign . . .

In the Cathedral, GREAT!

Careful, GYPSY ALERT!!!

What day is it?

An Amazing Clock

Pensive

OUCH!!!

Last Supper

Demons . . .

LOTS of Demons


The Cathedral had a very nice display covering most of the scenes associated with the birth of Christ.

The Annunciation

The Nativity

The Arrival of the Magi

The Presentation in the Temple


Strasbourg's Notre Dame Cathedral is indeed a magnificent edifice that added to my growing Christmas Spirit.

Johannes Gutenberg

Gutenberg perfected his revolutionary printing press while living in Strasbourg in the winter of 1436-1437. 

I've missed these
advertisement signs in France

Perhaps Strasbourg's German influence
brought them to the forefront here

Have another

Foies Gras?


Now there is another delicacy that I have never tried.

Maybe I should

Strasbourg IS the birthplace
of Pâté de Foie Gras you know

What the Hell, let's try some


I loved his sample of foie gras but he only sold it in large quantities. 

Fortune Smiled On Me


She ran the foie gras shop next door and, for a price, made me a fantastic foie gras sandwich!

Laurie burst my gastronomic bubble when she informed me that foie gras is illegal in California.

BARBARIANS!!!

Truffles

Only my inability to get a quick second mortgage on our home in Camarillo stopped me from buying some of these to sample.

Canal Boat Ride


I was growing tired and the one hour boat ride sounded like a good idea to rest my feet for a bit.

Sheltered from the elements

Serene Waterways

Just like the model houses for sale
at the Christmas Market

Interesting Roof

Torture Tower?

A Cuban Bistro on the Canal


Go figure.

Raging Waters


As I headed back to the train station, I ducked into the small St-Pierre Le Jeune church and was pleasantly surprised by their murals.

Very Rich Murals

The Devil You Say

Beautiful Altar Area

This beautiful gem of a worship place was completed in 1320 and is off the beaten tourist line.

I got lucky on this one.

The 15 minute walk back to the train station afforded me some nice final scenes of Christmas in the Alsace region.

Blue Lights

Night Time Crowds

Red Lights

Purple Lights

AGREED!!!


What a GREAT day in Strasbourg! I am now so into the Christmas mood due to equal parts of the chilly weather, the vin chaud, the lights, the decorations, the vin chaud, the gift purchasing, the churches, the music and, of course, the vin chaud!

I see Laurie . . .
TOMORROW!!!

I get picked up at The Villa by Falcon TE Geoff Moulton at 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning for the ride to Lyon's St-Exupery Airport.

I fly out of Lyon at 7:25 a.m and arrive in Madrid for breakfast at 9:15 a.m.

One hour and 50 minutes of travel from Lyon.

After a two hour and 35 minute layover, I'm off at 11:50 a.m. for a nine hour and 30 minute flight to Chicago.

Thirteen hours and 55 minutes from Lyon.

I have a two hour and 30 minute layover in Chicago before my flight to Los Angeles at 4:50 p.m.

Sixteen hours and 25 minutes from Lyon.

The flight to LAX touches down at 7:15 p.m., after another four hours and 25 minutes in the air.

Twenty hours and 50 minutes from Lyon.

Time for dinner at Cronies if you ask me!

I wonder if they could rustle up a little foie gras from somewhere deep in their storage unit?

2 comments:

Olivier R said...

Have a nice trip back to Lyon and a great trip back to the USA?!

George said...

Olivier,

Merci, Lyon is great but family is greater.

Keep up the good work!