Christmas market in Riquewihr
Christmas market in Riquewihr – Dawn over the upper part of main street with Dolder tower

The Christmas period in the upper Rhine valley starts every year with the first weekend and Sunday of Advent, more or less one month before Christmas. A lot – a big lot of Christmas events are organized all over the region: Christmas markets, concerts, story telling and nativity scenes. Some of them are daily and permanent and last for several weeks (see at the bottom of the page). I would recommend to visit them on weekdays, away from the crowd. Some others only happen at a specific date. Here are some of the events I like most. In order for every visitor to plan his holiday I classified them according to the calendar and dates of happening. All those events are happening every year more or less in the same order.

Christmas market in Colmar
Christmas market in Colmar. Colmar is only 14 kilometres away from Riquewihr.

Christmas preview (starts Nov 21, 2014)

The preparation of the Christmas festivities begins well before Christmas. Some Christmas markets open in preview, a few days before the first Sunday of Advent, which falls this year 2014 the last weekend of November. Here are some suggestions ...

COLMAR Friday Nov 21, 2014 to Wednesday Dec 31, 2014
Colmar opens its 5 Christmas markets as early as November 21, 2014 at 2 pm!

Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace
At the Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace

Colmar holds the second largest Christmas market in France after Strasbourg. Opening festivities of Christmas in Colmar start on 21 of November 2014. In fact, in Colmar, there is not only one Christmas market! In fact, there are five Christmas markets with different historical contexts that await you in the old town center of this beautiful city of Colmar. Feel free to go there during the week and as early as the end of November. It will be less crowded and it will be more enjoyable. You will be able to see all things in detail without being jostled by the crowds that flock here on weekends.

Visit our dedicated page for Colmar Christmas markets with plenty of pictures and valuable practical info.

ECOMUSEE d’ALSACE – Every day from November 22 to January 4
The Living Museum of Alsace is in Ungersheim between Colmar and Mulhouse. It is a complete village built with historical houses rescued over years everywhere in Alsace. Secrets for an authentic Christmas is a collection of exhibitions, storytelling, guided tours, etc. that take place every day from November 23 to January 5. A must see not to be missed!

Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace
Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace

EGUISHEIM Saturday, Nov 22, 9:00 to 20:00, Sunday, Nov 23 from 9:00 to 19:00 and then every day from 9am to 19pm from Friday, Nov 28 to Tuesday, Dec 23 (Saturdays until 20:00)
Another beautiful medieval village on the Alsace wine route, a halfhour drive of Riquewihr. Beautiful Christmas market with a different theme each week followed after Christmas until Dec 31 by the market of the Magi.

A wonderful Alsatian Christmas market beautifully decorated in the heart of the historic center of Mulhouse, Alsace.
A wonderful Alsatian Christmas market beautifully decorated in the heart of the historic center of Mulhouse, Alsace.

MULHOUSE From Saturday, Nov 22, 2014 to Sunday, Dec 28, 2014. Every day from 10:00 to 20:00.
A wonderful Alsatian Christmas market beautifully decorated in the heart of the historic center of Mulhouse. This Christmas market has an outstanding feature: the Christmas Fabric, a fabric created each year for the occasion and which refers to the rich industrial and artistic past of Mulhouse on weaving.

First weekend of Advent (Nov 28-30, 2014)

On this first weekend of Advent all the permanent Christmas markets (see my list at the bottom of the page) will be open: Strasbourg, Riquewihr, Colmar, Mulhouse or Altkirch as well as the Christmas markets held on weekends only like Kaysersberg.

Christmas market in Kaysersberg, Alsace
Christmas market in Kaysersberg, Alsace

Second weekend of Advent (Dec 6-7, 2014)

Again, all permanent Christmas markets listed at the bottom of this page plus all events related to St Nicholas’s Day. As I was a child St Nicholas’s Day was a major event. It is still like that in Alsace. Do not miss the St Nicholas’s Parade in Sélestat (see below).

RIBEAUVILLE – Dec 6 -7 and 13-14, 2014. Saturday 10:00-19:00 and Sunday 10:00-18:00.
A well known and spectacular Christmas event. Everything as it might have been in the Middle Ages.
With dances, costumes and colourful characters …

Mediaval Christmas market at Ribeauvillé, Alsace
Mediaval Christmas market at Ribeauvillé, Alsace. Takes places every second and third weekend of Advent.

SCHERWILLER Welcome of Saint-Nicholas, Sunday, Dec 07, 2014 from 14:00 to 18:00
Scherwiller is a village famous for its Riesling from the slopes of Rittersberg. Scherwiller is located west of Sélestat, on the Alsatian wine route and only minutes away from La Vancelle and our holiday apartment the Mountain Hiker. Every year, Scherwiller’s charming center becomes the romantic setting of the arrival of the famous Saint-Nicholas.

SELESTAT Procession of Saint-Nicholas, Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 16:30
Procession of Saint-Nicholas and opening of the Christmas market. Spectacular night parade in the streets of downtown (from 16:30), speech by the saint patron of schoolchildren (18:00 – Victory Square) and distribution of sweets and hot chocolate to good children.

Sélestat remains a city somewhat unknown to tourists. Perhaps because they often rush on the highway from Strasbourg to Colmar without thinking of stopping at Sélestat. What a pity! Sélestat is a beautiful city with a rich historical and architectural heritage. Christmas animations are nice and tidy. It is also the historical birthplace of the Christmas tree, with the oldest written reference in the world dating back to 1521.

Saint Nicholas opens the Christmas market in Sélestat, Alsace.
Saint Nicholas opens the Christmas market in Sélestat, Alsace.

Third weekend of Advent (Dec 13-14, 2014)

This third weekend of Advent, the choice will become even more difficult as there are so many beautiful events to attend. I am afraid you will need several Christmas to get it all done!

BERGHEIM – Dec 12 and 13-14, 2014. Friday 15:00-21:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00-21:00.
Bergheim is another beautiful village on the wine route close to Ribeauvillé. Combining tradition and creativity, this Christmas market will delight you with its warm and authentic atmosphere in the heart of the walled city of Bergheim. Also do not miss the beautiful exhibition of Nativity Scenes.

Nativity scene in Bergheim Alsace
Naive but beautiful Nativity scene displayed behind a window in Bergheim Alsace

BOUXWILLER (Bas-Rhin) – Dec 12 and 13-14, 2014. Saturday 11:00-20:00 and Sunday 11:00-19:00. Bouxwiller is a pretty Alsatian village of the Kochersberg, a small region between Saverne and Haguenau, famous for its preserved colorful traditions and painted furniture. Every year in mid-December during a single weekend, stands a large Christmas market with nearly 170 exhibitors. Many of them offer delicious local produce, wines and gastronomic specialties, but also crafts, Nativity scenes and other Christmas decorations manufactured in Alsace. There are always lots of people, mostly locals who like to meet here. An authentic Christmas market off the beaten track.

Bouxwiller Christmas market
Bouxwiller Christmas market. Here some beautiful Nativity Scenes created locally are for sale at a very reasonable price.

BLACK FOREST OPEN AIR MUSEUM in GUTACH (Germany)
Dec 12-14, 2014. Friday 17:00 – 21:00, Saturday & Sunday 13:00 – 18:00. 
The open air museum is normally closed in Winter but will open for a special Christmas Market event mid December every year. A very special place in a different atmosphere. See our dedicated page.

Gutach Black Forest open air farm museum - Christmas market 2012
Gutach Black Forest open air farm museum – White Christmas market in 2012, a very special atmosphere.

NEUF BRISACH – Dec 12, 13 and 14. From 14:00 to 19:00 on Friday, 10:00 to 21:00 on Saturday and 10:00 to 19:00 on Sunday. 
Neuf-Brisach stronghold is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. They present a live Christmas at the time of Vauban. Exhibitors and extras in period costumes, old trades, tavern, boar on the spit, farm animals … back in time with the Christmas Market as it was in the years 1700!

Christmas time in Ottmarsheim, Alsace
Christmas market in Ottmarsheim near Mulhouse, Alsace.

OTTMARSHEIM – Dec 13 and 14, 2014. Saturday 10:00-20:00 and Sunday 10:00-19:00.
Unique in France, the Christmas market of Ottmarsheim owes its originality and success to the fact that museums come to exhibit and sell the products of their shops in addition to high quality artists who are also invited. Entertainment, strolling, concerts, storytelling … And last but not least, part of the celebration, one of the most original and beautiful medieval churches in Alsace on site hosts concerts and storytelling. Snacks by village associations.

RIBEAUVILLE – Dec 6 -7 and 13-14, 2014. Saturday 10:00-19:00 and Sunday 10:00-18:00.
A well known and spectacular Christmas event. Everything as it might have been in the Middle Ages.
With dances, costumes and colourful characters …

Fourth weekend of Advent (Dec 19-20-21, 2014)

The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch
The giant illuminated Christmas fir of Grendelbruch near the mount St Odile, Alsace

See also the permanent markets: Strasbourg, Riquewihr, Colmar, Mulhouse or Altkirch as well as the Christmas markets held on weekends only like Kaysersberg.

GRENDELBRUCH Christmas with the woodcutters in a lonely village in the mountain. Dec 21-22, 2013. Concert on Sunday Dec 22 at 17:00. Christmas market with a beautiful nativity scene in the church of the village. Giant Christmas fir illuminated at the edge of the forest, in the mountain. This Christmas tree is illuminated every evening at sunset from end of November until January 17. Beautiful and mysterious. Out of the beaten path. We love it. Combine this with a visit to the little city and Christmas market of Rosheim in the same area or Obernai.

A spectacular show ends the Night Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel in Wissembourg, Alsace.
A spectacular show ends the Night Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel in Wissembourg, Alsace.

WISSEMBOURG – Night Parade of Hans Trapp and Christkindel, Sunday, December 21, 2014 – 17:00
Wissembourg is just at the north end of Alsace. From Riquewihr or La Vancelle, it takes a good hour and a half drive (highway). The Christmas market in Wissembourg is held every weekend from November 29. But if you are looking for a different event, then spend the afternoon of December 21 with a trip to Wissembourg. You will participate in the torchlight procession around Christkindel and Hans Trapp (two typical Alsatian tale characters of the Christmas time) and discover this great magical event taking place in Wissembourg only.

Christmas markets happening on several weekends in December

Kaysersberg, a weekend's evening in December
Kaysersberg, a weekend’s evening in December

KAYSERSBERG – Friday 28 November to Sunday 14, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 20:00. Then again from Friday 19 to Tuesday 23 December, 10:00 – 19:00.
The medieval town of Kaysersberg, protected by the shadow of the ruins of its castle, invites you to an enchanting ride in the heart of a picturesque and authentic 17th century city … A wonderful moment guaranteed for young and old!

Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace
Church of Mount Sainte Odile overlooking the plain of Alsace in the Winter. Fantastic view reaching as far as the Black Forest.

MONT SAINT ODILE – Every Saturday and Sunday in the Advent time. From 10:00 to 17:00.
With its local art and c
rafts, the small Christmas market of the Mont Sainte-Odile will amaze you as much as its prestigious monastery. Fantastic view on the plain of Alsace and as far as the Black Forest. Take some time to visit the monastery, one of the most famous shrines in Alsace. When night has come drive back to the valley and make a stop at Rosheim and Obernai to visit their Christmas markets.

Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace
Christmas lights and market in the romanesque city of Rosheim, Alsace.
Every weekend in December.

ROSHEIM – From Saturday Dec 6 to Sunday Dec 21, 2014. From 16:00 to 20:00 on Saturdays and 14:00-19:00 on Sundays. 
Rosheim is a pretty little medieval city near Obernai and the Mount St Odile monastry. Rosheim has a unique old medieval church where you will see a great Nativity scene. Beautiful Christmas light shows after sunset.

TURCKHEIM – Friday 28 Nov to Sunday 21 December. Fridays from 16:00 to 20:00, Saturdays and Sundays 11:00 to 20:00. Then again from Monday 22 Dec to Sunday 28, 15:00 – 20:00.
Turckheim celebrates Christmas every year, with the Christmas ceremonial of the Advent calendar … Not to mention his famous night watchman in his traditional costume. You are invited to go with him in his nocturnal round. He will tell the story of the city of Turckheim while punctuating the route of anecdotes and Alsatian songs. The night watchman’s round is held Saturday 6, Saturday 13 and Saturday, 20 December and starts at 22:00 in front of the city hall.

Permanent Christmas markets and events in Nov-Dec.

Strasbourg, capital city of Christmas
Strasbourg, capital city of Christmas. Every year from end of November to end of December.

ALTKIRCH Dec 6, 2014 – January 4, 2015
The Enchanted Forest
is a magical forest with characters taken from fairy tales and legends of the Sundgau area (South of Alsace). It brings to life all the imagination of a region. The Enchanted Forest invests the city center for 4 weeks. Nearly 200 people and animals are involved in 26 illustrated stories. A wonderful experience out of the beaten track. After sunset.

Basel Christmas market
Basel Christmas market.
Every year Basel, a major Swiss city on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, presents a beautiful and high quality Christmas market.

BASEL – From Thursday 27 November to Tuesday December 23, 2014. Every day 11:00 – 20:00
The Basel Christmas market takes place on the Barfüsserplatz in the heart of the old town and in front of the cathedral. In a warm and magical atmosphere, merchants and craftsmen from the region and throughout Switzerland offer their products and demonstrate their skills throughout some 130 stalls and wooden illuminated chalets. The Christmas market in Basel is the largest in Switzerland. Easy access by train from Colmar.

Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace
Christmas market in Colmar, Alsace

COLMAR Friday Nov 21, 2014 to Wednesday Dec 31, 2014
Colmar opens its 5 Christmas markets as early as November 21, 2014 at 2 pm!
Colmar holds the second largest Christmas market in France after Strasbourg. Opening festivities of Christmas in Colmar start on 21 of November 2014. In fact, in Colmar, there is not only one Christmas market! In fact, there are five Christmas markets with different historical contexts that await you in the old town center of this beautiful city of Colmar. Feel free to go there during the week and as early as the end of November. It will be less crowded and it will be more enjoyable. You will be able to see all things in detail without being jostled by the crowds that flock here on weekends. See our dedicated page and pictures.

Baking Christmas cookies as in the past. Alsatian Living Museum in Ungersheim.
Baking Christmas cookies as in the past. Alsatian Living Museum in Ungersheim.

ECOMUSEE d’ALSACE – Every day from November 22 to January 4
The Living Museum of Alsace is in Ungersheim between Colmar and Mulhouse. It is a complete village built with historical houses rescued over years everywhere in Alsace. Secrets for an authentic Christmas is a collection of exhibitions, storytelling, guided tours, etc. that take place every day from November 23 to January 5. A must see not to be missed!

Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace
Christmas market in Eguisheim, Alsace

EGUISHEIM Saturday, Nov 22, 9:00 to 20:00, Sunday, Nov 23 from 9:00 to 19:00 and then every day from 9am to 19pm from Friday, Nov 28 to Tuesday, Dec 23 (Saturdays until 20:00)
Another beautiful medieval village on the Alsace wine route, a halfhour drive of Riquewihr. Beautiful Christmas market with a different theme each week followed after Christmas until Dec 31 by the market of the Magi.

FREIBURG im BREISGAU (Germany) – Nov 24 – Dec 23, 2014. Mon-Sat 10:00 am-8:30 pm, Sun 11:30 am-7:30 pm.
Located in the very heart of Freiburg’s beautiful old historical quarter, the Freiburg Christmas Market is held on the Rathausplatz, the Franziskanerstraße, the Unterlindenplatz and on the Kartoffelmarkt.

Gengenbach, Germany and the giant Advent Calendar
Gengenbach, Germany and the giant Advent Calendar

GENGENBACH (Germany) – The giant Advent Calendar — Sunday 30 November 2014 – Tuesday Dec, 23. Monday to Friday from 15:00 – 20:00, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 – 20:00
Gengenbach is a beautiful historical city on the German side of the Rhine valley with plenty of romantic old houses with wooden frameworks, very similar to the houses we have in Alsace actually. In 2014 from the 30th of November until the 23th of December (a day before Christmas Eve), the magnificent 200 year old Town Hall facade comes to a new life.
The opening ceremony of a new window is happening every day exactly at 18.00 o’clock.
The opening times of Gengenbach Advent market: Monday to Friday from 15:00 – 20:00, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 – 20:00

MEISENTHAL – The Craddle of the Christmas bauble.
From Saturday, November 8 to Monday December 29. Every day 14:00 – 18:00. Closed Dec 24-25.
To combine with a visit to the Cristalleries Royales de Saint-Louis (nearby) and the beautiful Musée Lalique, 40 Rue du Hochberg, 67290 Wingen-sur-Moder. In December, end the day on your way back with a stop at the Christmas market of Strasbourg.

Take home your own original Christmas baubles from Meisenthal
Take home your own original Christmas baubles from Meisenthal

MULHOUSE From Saturday, Nov 22, 2014 to Sunday, Dec 28, 2014. Every day from 10:00 to 20:00.
A wonderful Alsatian Christmas market beautifully decorated in the heart of the historic center of Mulhouse. This Christmas market has an outstanding feature: the Christmas Fabric, a fabric created each year for the occasion and which refers to the rich industrial and artistic past of Mulhouse on weaving.

Mulhouse Christmas market and Christmas Fabric.
Mulhouse Christmas market and Christmas Fabric.

OBERNAI – Saturday 29/Nov to Wednesday 31/Dec. Monday-Thursday 10:00 – 19:00, Friday and Saturday until 20:00, Sunday opening at 09:00. Except : Wednesday 24 and Wednesday 31/Dec 10:00 – 16:00, Friday 26/Dec 14:00 – 20:00. Closed on Dec 25 Christmas Day.
Obernai is another beautiful medieval city. The thirty wooden chalets of the  “Christmas Gastronomy in Alsace” Market invites you in an enchanting setting between scents of gingerbread and mulled wine scent to fill your baskets of local produce and crafts gifts.

The main Christmas market in Riquewihr, near the town hall, in the lower part of the village.
The main Christmas market in Riquewihr, near the town hall, in the lower part of the village.

RIQUEWIHR – Nov 29 to Dec 28, 2014. From 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 10:00 to 19:30 on Saturday and Sunday.
Riquewihr is one of the most beautiful villages in France. The stalls of the plaza near the City Hall are open daily. But there are also other stands in some private courtyards of Riquewihr and even in some side streets.
See our dedicated page with pictures and practical hints and tips.

SELESTAT – Dec 6-24, 2014
Beautiful Christmas events. The craddle of the Christmas fir. Not to be missed.
See our dedicated page with pictures and practical hints and tips.

Selestat in Alsace, hometown of the Christmas tree deserves a visit in any season but especially during the Christmas period, from end of November to beginning of January.
Selestat in Alsace, hometown of the Christmas tree deserves a visit in any season but especially during the Christmas period, from end of November to beginning of January.

STRASBOURG – From 28 November to 31 December: Christmas market every day from 10:00 to 20:00 (until 21:00 on Fridays and Saturdays). December 24: 10:00 to 18:00. December 25: 14:00 to 18:00. From 26 to 30 December: 10:00 to 19:00. December 31: from 10:00 to 18:00.
Strasbourg is certainly the world capital of Christmas. The whole historical city center is listed as World Heritage by UNESCO. Apart from the 300 wooden chalets of the several Christmas markets the scenery and the Christmas lights and decorations are absolutely beautiful.
See our dedicated page with pictures and practical hints and tips.

Christmas market near the cathedral of Strasbourg with famous Kammerzel house in background
The Christmas market near the cathedral of Strasbourg dates back to 1570. See famous Kammerzel house in background.

THANN – Friday, Nov 28 to Tuesday, Dec 24. Closed on Mondays. Tuesday to Thursday: 14:30 – 19:00, Friday 14:30 – 20:00, Saturday 10:00 – 20:00 – Sunday 10:00 – 19:00 – December 24: 10:00 – 17:00.
Thann is a little Alsatian city nested in a narrow valley near Mulhouse. It is famous for it incredible wine (on the Rangen hill) and for its beautiful church (Collégiale St-Thiébaut). From November 22 to December 24: Enter the magic of Christmas on the theme of White Christmas and discover the Christmas market around the Collegiate Church nestled in the heart of a decorated forest of firs. In the Middle Ages, during the Advent time before Christmas, holy tales and stories were played in front of churches. So it is in Thann on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Christmas celebration in Thann, Alsace
Christmas celebration in Thann, Alsace

Stay in a beautiful accommodation with a festive Christmas atmosphere

To make your visit in Alsace a memorable one, stay at les Remparts Riquewihr in one of our new holiday apartments, set in a historic winery facing the vineyards of Riquewihr.

We also have a holiday home in the beautiful mountain village of La Vancelle. La Vancelle is a haven in a prime location opposite the castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg. It is away from the noise and bustle but easily accessible in all seasons.

Riquewihr and Vancelle are very practical bases for visiting and touring throughout Alsace, Vosges and even nearby Germany and Switzerland.

Our White Stork luxury apartment in Riquewihr. From mid-November to mid-January, all our apartments, small or large, have their own Christmas tree.
Our White Stork luxury apartment in Riquewihr. From mid-November to mid-January, all our apartments, small or large, have their own Christmas tree.

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