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Alsace for 4 Days in December

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May 11th, 2013, 10:49 AM
  #1
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Alsace for 4 Days in December

We will be in Paris the week or December 11-18 and plan on spending 4 days out of Paris and then returning for our last 3 nights. We looked into Normandy, but decided the weather is too unpredictable that time of year and wouldn't be ideal for a D-Day tour. We are going to save Normandy for September 2014. So, we are back to our original plan of going to Alsace for those 4 days (December 18-22). It should have a very festive atmosphere, perfect for cold weather.

My question is which town to use as our base. We would rather not switch hotels every couple of days. Her are the options:

Strasbourg - Hotel Bouclier d'Or (in Petit France). The most expensive option, but very atmospheric
Colmar - Villa Elyane (lovely B&B about 300 meters from train station. Upscale, contemporary rooms)
Riquewihr - I-Love-Riquewihr (apartments in 13th or 15th century buildings that are part of the ramparts. Apartments are gorgeous and have that Alsatian, cozy feel. Two have pellet fireplaces)
Obernai- Le Parc Hotel (more like a resort)
If we choose Riquewihr or Obernai we will rent a car. I thought we could use the trains if we stayed in Strasbourg or Colmar.

Since it get dark so early, would we be better off in a city? If so, which city? I fell in love with the apartments in Riquewihr, but not sure if it is a practical choice.

Which of these locations would you choice?? Your input is MOST appreciated!
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May 11th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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I don't have a suggestion about the hotels, but be sure to visit the superb Christmas market, one of the best in France.
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May 11th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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I should add that the market is in Strasbourg!
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May 11th, 2013, 12:22 PM
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Thanks Underhill. The Christmas Markets will definetily be part of our must sees. Now if I could just decide which town to stay in! I have read that the countryside and all the villages are so beautiful. I'm not sure i want to be in Strasbourg for 4 days. Is there enough to see? Did you spend time out of Strasbourg?
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May 11th, 2013, 02:34 PM
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IMHO most to see and do - as well as best/most restaurant choices in Strasbourg. And yes, Riquewihr is adorable - but too small for me to stay in. (But them I really prefer bigger cities.)
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May 11th, 2013, 03:06 PM
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Thanks nytraveler! Is Colmar too small as well?
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May 11th, 2013, 04:04 PM
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Colmar is a lovely city, not a village. I stayed there 3 nights: plenty to explore in the town and it makes a good base for visiting the villages on the wine route.
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May 11th, 2013, 04:30 PM
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We stayed in the Alsace region for 5 days, basing ourselves in Riquewihr, and actually rented an apartment from i-love-riquewihr. Riquewihr is not a small village, it is a TINY village and you can walk from one end to the other in an hour or less!! But we love small villages, and in the summer, with the sun still up until 9-10pm, it was refreshing to walk the near empty streets and savor the quietness of the village.

And because we had a car, we were able to explore most of the surrounding villages easily. We also biked and hiked.

Colmar is really a town, not a village and very cute. It has a good number of shops and restaurants, bigger than Riquewihr. I would also class Obernai as a town not a village, and Strasbourg, is definitely a city.

I think Strasbourg would be more festive in December, with the Christmas market + other activities you can find in a large city. It might be a better base at that time of the year.
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May 11th, 2013, 04:34 PM
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We visited Alsace in early April. Be aware that the vineyards' vines will be cut back, twigs,and it will be cold. However, we loved the area and Strasbourg was a delight. We stayed in Strasbourg and Riquewihr.
We picked up our rental car near the Strasbourg train station when we left for the wine towns.
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May 11th, 2013, 04:43 PM
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There's also a Christmas market in Colmar. I would choose Colmar over Strasbourg, but I prefer smaller towns to big cities.

Riquewihr is an adorable little village, but I think you'll find more activities in Colmar.
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May 11th, 2013, 05:37 PM
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For me, it's a toss up between Colmar and Strasbourg. It really depends on your requirements for services or size. Both have beautiful Christmas markets worth visiting and it's always nice to enjoy the holiday atmosphere in the evenings and not have to worry about catching a train or driving back to your home base. You can do day trips to the smaller villages.
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May 11th, 2013, 06:05 PM
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I would hardly call Strasbourg a big city.

Riquewihr and similar are tiny villages and Colmar is a small town. I would call Strasbourg a big town or a small city (granted there is a larger urban area around it - but the central area toruists spend time in is very small.
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May 11th, 2013, 07:10 PM
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nytraveler -- not big as in Paris or NYC -- but certainly bigger than Colmar, which in my opinion is just the right size, and a good location from which to explore the region. It's not that small. I walked for it seems 25 minutes to get from my hotel (located in petite Venice) to the center of town. There are many winding side streets and I got lost trying to find the Bartholdi museum.
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May 11th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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Thank you all for your input! I can't tell you how helpful it is. This is a part of France I don't know at all. I know it's a long way off, but I will post a trip report.
Any other suggestions are most appreciated!
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May 12th, 2013, 11:34 AM
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If I had it to do over, and had a car, I would stay in the village of Eguisheim, which I didn't get to see last time. In winter, though, your best bet might be to stay in one of these "towns" with a Christmas market.
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May 13th, 2013, 07:14 PM
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Susan001:
Thanks for your input. I'll look into Eguisheim. I haven't read anything about that village.
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