Best City For Real Christmas


Dec 18th, 2006, 02:32 AM
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Best City For Real Christmas

Hi Everyone,

I am currently in Paris for one month. I go to Paris for one month each year for Dec. 10 to Jan. 10th. I LOVE PARIS.

Question: I am thinking of going to a different European city for a real Christmas (small town feeling). You know, the kind of town that just oozes that postcard xmas feeling?

Strasbourg, Lyon, Budapest, Prague, Cologne, Helsinki????....I don't have any financial limits (don't get me wrong...I am no zillionaire) and my only limit is that I must be back in London on Jan. 10th for my flight back to Los Angeles.

I think I am looking for a small town Christmas. Thank you in advance for your help. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwansa and Happy Holidays to all!
losangeleseurope is offline  
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Dec 18th, 2006, 03:38 AM
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Surely to get a 'small town feeling' you have to be in a small town and I would not describe any of the proposed destinations as small towns. In my experience most places are deserted over the Christmas period itself as many city dwellers leave for the country, to stay with relatives and shops are closed for 2-3 days.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 03:59 AM
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it was a long time ago, and I was still in high school, but we spent one Christmas in Innsbruck. It was just lovely, with Christmas Eve on the square, drinking Gluwhein and listening to choirs sing Christmas carols..Christmas day itself was dead, but the time leading up to it was lovely. Right afterwards, though, the skiing hordes came in.

Alternatively, maybe a nice town on the Rhine or the Mosel?

Cologne would be nice but their Christmas markets end on the 23rd Oddly, most of the ones here in Belgium run through Christmas into New Years and are even open on Christmas day.

Ooh, speaking of which, Brugge might be perfect. They have a snow and ice sculpture show that will be open on Christmas day, and the Christmas market/skating rink may be open as well. And it doesn't get any quainter than Brugge! check out; they have some promotions as well

Good luck! I'd like to find out where you end up; we have one more European Christmas to have and don't know where we'll spend it yet. This year is Naples, which doesn't quite ooze anything Christmasy but i'm looking forward to it anyway.

LSUvetgirl is offline  
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:07 AM
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<<< Best City For Real Christmas >>>

Like where they celebrate Christ's birth with religious ceremonies rather than eating, drinking & spending money on stuff people don't really want?

I hear the Vatican City is good for that sort of thing.

alanRow is offline  
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:08 AM
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Since the best Christmas to me are the ones spend with loved ones, any city where your loved ones are was should fit the bill of Real Christmas.

Are you talking decorations? public gatherings? Christmas events? snow? If that is the case, head out to the Bavarian Region in Germany, even ski resorts in the Garmish area or the Alpes Maritimes in France should get close to what you are looking for.

Whatever you do, I hope you get to share it with loved ones. Merry Christmas!!
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:11 AM
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Alan, get real. The Vatican has been 'selling' Christmas for eons.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:14 AM
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I was commenting on the poster associating Christmas with the picture postcard/commerical side rather than the religious
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Dec 18th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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Haven't been myself, but Colmar gets rave reviews, especially at Christmas time.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 06:45 AM
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I was going to say Bruges, but that's taken. How about Bethlehem?
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Dec 18th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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I spent a few days in Strasbourg at the Christmas market and I think it could meet your criteria. A city with a small town feel, beautiful decorations, a huge Christmas tree in Place Gutenburg, French and German restaurants, small shops and designer shops with gorgeous windows.

I stayed on the street with the cathedral and could walk everywhere and find my way back by heading toward the spire.

I did not get to Colmar but have heard that it's lovely. I've been to Prague but don't think I'd want to be there Christmas; it doesn't have the small city feel to me. If you're a food lover try Lyon, which would be an easy trip to/from Paris.

A month in Paris every year, envy, envy. Where do you stay every year?

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Dec 18th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Bruges is very pretty at Christmas and unlike many other small cities, many of the restaurants, etc. will be open around the holidays. Easy to reach from Paris.
Salzburg is another place that comes to mind, however, you would have to go for a long train ride or fly.
We just came back from a holiday in Baden-Baden, Germany. Very elegant, very pretty during the Christmas season. If you went there, you could combine your holiday stay with some spa pampering (stay at the Dorint/Sofitel with its excellent in-house nice to just throw your bathrobe on over your bathing suit and take the elevator down to the spa). From BB, you could visit Strasbourg (40 minutes away), Freiburg (one hour) or Basel (90 minutes).
Strasbourg is also a good choice.

However, all of these destinations are popular Christmas choices and the most comfortable hotels may already by fully booked, ditto for many restaurants. And with the possible exception of Salzburg, your chances of a white Christmas with any of the places mentioned above are quite slim.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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Luisah, the giant Christmas tree (donated by Norway every year) is Place Kléber, not Place Gutenberg.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Wouldn't this be Bethlehem?
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Dec 18th, 2006, 12:07 PM
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If you go to a ski resort town you are likely to find many places open even on Christmas Day.... at least places to eat drink and be merry.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Thanks Kerouac. I guess I was in both and got confused. At any rate, the tree and the square were quite beautiful.

Losangeles, let us know what you decide.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 02:58 PM
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Regensburg or Passau in Germany--both are of a nice size with a central plaza and Christmas markets for atmosphere.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:04 PM
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We are leaving for Brugges on Dec 25th arriving Dec 26th and I just looked at the link that LSU vet Girl gave on Winter in Brugges. We are getting really excited about our trip. The ice festival looks great. Thanks for the link!!!
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Dec 18th, 2006, 04:29 PM
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We enjoyed the Christchild's Market in Nurenberg, Germany. Very beautiful to walk around the many markets in the evening.
On our way back to Heidelberg we stopped in the very small town of Rotenburg Ob d. Tauber that gave me the picture postcard feeling.

The best small ski village we stayed at during another Christmas was Davos, Switzerland.
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Dec 18th, 2006, 06:35 PM
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Salzburg or the Bavarian Alps. We've spent two Christmases in this area and wish we were there this year!

See my photo album on Slow Travel: Christmas in a Postcard.

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Oct 6th, 2008, 01:45 PM
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Brugge. bookmarking!
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