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Alsace-Lorraine

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Nov 1st, 2011, 02:36 PM
  #1
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Alsace-Lorraine

We are planning a trip for early December 2012 (we plan way early!) and have rented an apartment for a week in Paris. We are considering adding a few days in Strasbourg at one end of the trip or the other, mostly because we hate to travel to Europe and not spend more than a week there and we'd like to see the Christmas markets.....and it is about the only part of France we've never visited.

I've been reading threads recently which seem to favor the smaller villages over Strasbourg but I'm wondering if this is the case for travel in December. We are not particularly interested in renting a car. We're thinking that driving may be on snowy mountain roads, which we are not used to, and we'd not likely drive anywhere for dinner since we're less inclined to tackle those roads in the dark.

Would we be missing a significant experience by spending a few days in Strasbourg and seeing what we can by train vs. renting a car and staying in smaller villages?
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Nov 1st, 2011, 03:20 PM
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We trained to Strasbourg in May and it is a quick and easy trip. Strasbourg is a lovely, interesting city and I have heard many good things about their Christmas market. I think your plan is a very good one. One cannot see everything and in Dec. you want to be where you can duck in somewhere to get warm. I would not drive then. Perhaps someone here can advise you on a day trip to a smaller village by public transportation. Have a great trip and happy planning! CJ
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 01:45 AM
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Well I'd avoid Lorraine in the winter, its a bit hilly and while there are spas etc I think you would be bored.

The Alsace valley is easy to get around in by bus or train though if yoiu want to do the wine trail then you will probably want a car.

Strasbourg will give you 2 or 3 days of entertainment if you also take time to see the WW1 fortifications. I'd also look to go over the Rhine to Germany
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 02:35 AM
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I hope you can fit a visit to Nancy into your plans. It's a lovely city and the Place Stanislas around dusk is simply beautiful. (note: their Christmas market isn't on the Place)

http://www.ot-nancy.fr/sortir/marche_de_noel.php (watch the video)

General Nancy info in English:
http://www.ot-nancy.fr/uk/centre_historique/index.php
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 04:06 AM
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Thanks, All, I think we'll train to Strasbourg from CDG for a few days and stop for a day or two in Nancy on our way back to Paris.

We'll probably return in warmer weather to do the wine trail and drive to the smaller villages.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 05:10 AM
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Judy - You could also do a day trip from Strasbourg to Colmar, which is only about a half-hour away by train.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 05:31 AM
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Thanks, tom18, we'll definitely do that.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 11:04 AM
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I've been to Strasbourg in December a couple of times and to other places in Alsace-Lorraine at various times of year. I would recommend you stay in Strasbourg. Having a car the couple of times I stayed in villages south of Strasbourg at that time of year was a liability because of the frequent heavy fogs in the mornings and evenings. Sometimes it was so thick you literally could not read roadside signs or see tail lights in front of you or headlights behind you - I'm talking you had to be 6 inches or so from something to see it.

Strasbourg's a lovely city with plenty to occupy you. The Christmas market is big and lots of fun. Take the train to Colmar if you want some variety.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 11:15 AM
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Agree I would stay in Strasbourg in winter. Plenty to do indoors if the the weather is bad. And you can easily take a train or bus to Colmar or the wine villages (but the vineyards don't look like anything in Dec).
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 11:22 AM
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Strasbourg makes the best base for a December trip, and there are several lovely villages accessible by local trains or buses. You can also take a quick train ride to Nancy, where you can also catch the Metrolor TER commuter train that runs north to Metz and Luxembourg. St. Etienne cathedral in Metz is the most stunning in Lorraine, and the Metz Pompidou Center is right next to the train station -- it is a magnificent museum. You can find a photo report I made about it somewhere on this site.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Thanks, everyone, I think Strasbourg for a few days and maybe a stop in Nancy on the way back to Paris will be a nice addition to our week in Paris......now to find time to get back to drive the wine villages in summer.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 11:42 AM
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Judy,

Next month my mom and I will be doing the exact type of trip you are thinking of doing in 2012. We fly into Strasbourg and rent an apartment for 6 nights then train to Paris and rent an apartment for 8 nights and fly home from CDG.

We will not be renting a car because as you mentioned above we didn't think December was the time to be driving the winding and possibly snowy roads in the area. I have loosely planned to take 2 day trips by train from Strasbourg. One to Colmar and one to Nancy. The rest of the time we will check out the Christmas market and the museums in Strasbourg.

I intend to write a trip report upon my return and hope to get that started a week or two after I return home, so keep a look out in late Dec./early Jan. for it.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Thanks, LCI, I'll look forward to your report! We are thinking now that we should spend 4 nights in Strasbourg and do day trips to Nancy & Colmar as well. Everything seems so close, hardly worth moving hotels for just a day or two.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 01:51 PM
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That depends on from where you are leaving. If you will be flying out of Paris again, you can move back in that direction. Both Nancy and Metz are 1h30 from Paris by TGV.
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Nov 2nd, 2011, 02:03 PM
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Good point, kerouac. We'll probably do this trip on arrival before our week in Paris which would make working our way back there feasible. I just think it's easier to leave from Paris.....plus I tend to shop there and don't like schlepping an extra bag around.
Fortunately, we have lots of time to make decisions here. Thanks for your help.
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