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Christmas between Alsace and Paris

Old Nov 29th, 2016, 09:36 AM
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Christmas between Alsace and Paris

Hello friends, old and new,

It's been years since I've been on the Forums, but I need advice!

Family trip, visiting Alsace (after some time in Paris, of course!) We must return to Paris 29 December, but we have six nights to do and stay whatever we want!

We will have a car in Alsace. We can return it to Strasbourg, and take trains from there, but for the sake of argument, let's say I have a car and am driving back to Paris.

It will be winter, and more than that, Christmas. Some places, like Lyon, might be nice for Christmas, but the major sites (or, shall I say, the sites I'm interested in) are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. (Sat is Christmas eve, Sunday Christmas, then two days with everything closed....not sure that sounds so great.)

I'd rather not move accommodations too frequently, but am willing to spend Christmas in one place and two or so nights somewhere else. Does Nancy have enough to occupy six nights? I was shying away from the more northern route to Paris because Burgundy sounds more interesting. On the other hand, although we drink wine, we don't want to spend our entire vacation wine tasting, and have lots of interest in historic sites. I'm open to all suggestions.

We are a family group of five. The "kids" are all young adults with very mature interests. They'll tire less of old churches, museums, Roman cities, prehistoric sites, than their father will! Thanks in advance!
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 10:06 AM
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How about renting a Gite (Gite de France) in the Burgundy area and day trip about -like to Vezelay - awesome Vezelay, Alesia, Nancy, etc.

Gites are country holiday houses often in small villages -self-catering -like moving in with the locals sometimes.
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 10:44 AM
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For Christmas in France, Alsace is almost unbeatable.
Are You sure You Will have explored all marvels in the area before heading for Paris?
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 01:46 PM
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Hi Rouelan, Not sure I will have "exhausted" marvels in the area, ha ha. I suspect that type of thing isn't truly possible. However, we will be in a gite for a week on the northern end of the Route du Vin Alsace. Let's say I will have sampled the marvels, if not actually exhausted all of them. Also, I have concerns that at the time of year the smaller towns will be closed up tight like a drum. Am I wrong? If you recommend staying in Alsace for longer, knowing that I will be near Andlau, where would you recommend?

PalenQ, that was my idea, but it seems like lots of places are actually pretty far from one another, and that I'll be in the car for two hours round trip every day. Not sure I'm into that, and wouldn't I LOVE to stay in Vezelay, but is there much to do there? Meanwhile, thanks for the Gite de France tip, I'll go check it out!
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 02:11 PM
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LOVE to stay in Vezelay, but is there much to do there?>

Not really a small village draped over a hill with the famous basilica on top - Auxerre for a larger town is really nice.

Driving in winter can be slow if the unusual for the area I think ice or snow comes down.

If into wine the Beaune area makes more sense -Dijon is worth a day for sure but like many large French cities probably kind of dead at night and on Sundays-especially at that time of year.
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 02:55 PM
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If you are heading to Strasbourg, just a reminder that during the Christmas market period, you cannot (easily if at all) drive into the island center part of Strasbourg. I am in Strasbourg right now and the big city core surrounded by the canals is a HUGE car free area. The police has completely blocked most the bridges into the center island by police cars and barricades, and the few open ones have queues of cars, looks like mostly taxis, waiting to be inspected by the police before allowed to cross the bridges into the city core. People on foot or by tram can enter freely. Police, gendarme, and military soldiers with machine guns are visible throughout the city core.
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 03:04 PM
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Sounds like a war zone - Well the French did just stop allegedly a soon-to-be attack on Strasbourg's Christmas Market so not surprising and probably a scene seen in many a French and European city.
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 04:15 PM
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Hi Greg, Thanks. I hope you're having a good time, notwithstanding the machine guns. I wouldn't dream of driving in Strasbourg, especially during Christmas Market time! We're taking the train to Strasbourg, visiting the Cathedral and the market, then picking up cars and moving to a smaller town! I don't drive in European cities, doesn't make sense to.

PalenQ, thanks!
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Old Nov 29th, 2016, 11:48 PM
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Hi absthegal,
Yes probably, staying one week will give you ample time to sample the marvels !
Just in case, visit this site to make sure you dont miss them
http://noel.tourisme-alsace.com/en

Just beware of huge crowds for the most famous Christmas markets like Kayserberg or Riquewihr. Other places like Obernai or Ribeauvillé should be quieter but equally attractive. The visit of Haut Koenisbourg is also highly recommended.

So, if you think of spending more time in Alsace, you could try something near Colmar (also very attractive). From there, you can also cross borders and have a look on Freiburg or Basel
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 11:55 AM
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Just want to give a quick thanks to Greg for the heads up on the car situation in Strasbourg right now. I read his post in the middle of the night (jet lag) and immediately emailed our hotel to ask if we would have any trouble accessing our previously arranged parking spot. Well, I got back an email in the morning telling me I needed to complete and print out a 'permission form' they had attached and give it to the guards once we crossed into the pedestrian zone. I don't know what we would have done had we not had this form! Even with it, things didn't go super smoothly, but suffice it to say, we did eventually get parked.

Thank you Greg!
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 01:11 PM
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We will have a car in Alsace. We can return it to Strasbourg, and take trains from there, but for the sake of argument, let's say I have a car and am driving back to Paris.>

Reims and Epernay and the Champagne District could well be on the way from Alsace to Paris - from Reims area follow the Marne river on secondary roads passing many small Champagne operations- a very scenic drive vs the boring autoroutes.
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Old Nov 30th, 2016, 03:26 PM
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Let's hear it for Greg!

Thanks PalenQ!
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