For those who are seeking to venture a little off the beaten tourist track when it comes to the classic ‘Marchés de Noël’ and festive events in the Alsace region, there is perhaps no better place to head to than the delightful town of Eguisheim. Particularly unusual in that the entirety of the town is constructed in concentric circles around a central Château, here’s your ultimate guide to the Eguisheim Christmas Market, as well as what to know before you go!
Eguisheim Christmas Market 2019 Dates | 29 November to 30 December 2019, Sunday- Friday 9 AM – 7 PM, Saturdays 9 AM – 8 PM
Consistently ranked among some of the most beautiful villages and towns in France, Eguisheim is characterised by its medieval churches, timber-framed houses, and narrow cobbled lanes (which remain pretty until you have to drive down them, I can assure you!) What’s more is that a visit to Eguisheim at Christmas can easily be combined with a visit to the Colmar Christmas Markets, considering that they’re just 7 km apart from one another.
Home to a population of just under two thousand residents, highlights of the town include wandering around the historic city centre, sampling the local cuisine, and of course, the local Alsace wine. After all, Eguisheim lies along the Alsace wine route and the region is best-known for its sweet whites, specifically Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Nearby, the three castles of Eguisheim provide excellent hiking opportunities.
Eguisheim Christmas Market
So authentic is the market to be found at Eguisheim that it’s been awarded the label of ‘Christmas Cities and Village’ (Villes et Villages de Noël in French) thanks to the outstanding quality and ambience of the stalls, festive spirit, and decorations on offer in this tiny Alsace town.
Best-known for its locally produced wares, authentic craftsmanship, and traditional stalls, there are around thirty market stalls spread across several venues across the town centre. All are within a few minutes walk of one another and the rest of the town is decorated with thousands of twinkling lights and festive decorations, meaning that there are plenty of photo opportunities!
Place du Marché aux Saules
The most magical of the Eguisheim Christmas Markets is easily that found at Place du Marché aux Saules. After all, this is where you’ll have to enter under a fir Christmas-themed archway in order to discover the number of stalls selling all kinds of unique and unusual artisanal crafts. It’s also in this square where you’ll discover one of the only food stalls in the Eguisheim Christmas Market.
Place Monseigneur Stumpf
The smaller of the two main Christmas Market locations in Eguisheim is to be found at Place Monsigneur Stumf. Situated in a tiny square that’s surrounded by little boutiques, boulangeries, and other modern convenience shops, there’s just a handful of market stalls selling handmade goods and locally produced souvenirs. There’s also a vin chaud stand selling hot white wine and hot red wine.
Saint Leon Square
Situated in the shadow of an 18th-century château, the very heart of Eguisheim is the main town square. Though there’s only a handful of artisans selling their wares in this part of the city, the charm of the place lies in the sheer number of Christmas decorations decking out the square, not to mention the Nativity Scene on display and the decorations transforming the central fountain into a winter wonderland installation.
Things to know before visiting the Eguisheim Christmas Market
Like most other traditional Christmas Markets in Europe, cash is king. Bring plenty along with you as though some stalls now accept bank cards, this doesn’t tend to be norm. Also, much like every other Christmas Market (apart from those in Paris), you’ll have to pay a deposit of €1 to rent a plastic cup if you purchase a vin chaud or hot cider.
I noticed that the mulled wine in Eguisheim was priced at much less than in other cities and cost around €3 for both a hot white wine and a hot red wine. More magical at night, be sure to wrap up warm as the nights in the foothills of the Vosges mountains can be particularly chilly. Bring along a coat like this one to combat the cold.
Though heels may look pretty, they’re not very compatible with the many cobbled and stepped lanes of old town Europe and so be sure to bring a pair of comfortable shoes to walk in. While I loved Eguisheim for the town’s ambiance and magical winter spirit, what I liked a little less were that there were few foodie options on offer (we only saw one food stall and there were barely any meat-free options) and there were few vin chaud options (only hot white wine or hot red wine and no unusual variations).
Next, while English is fairly widely spoken, particularly in a more touristic town like Eguisheim, it’s only polite to learn a few words of the local language, which in this case is French. Bring along a French phrasebook like this one to help you get by (and order food in restaurants!). If you’re travelling from outside of Europe, then you’ll probably also need a travel adapter like this one to keep all your electronics charged on the go!
How to visit Eguisheim
If you’re looking for a truly local experience, then I recommend spending at least one or two nights in Eguisheim (we personally stayed two nights in an adorable Airbnb- if you’ve not already signed up, you can use this link to get money off your first stay.) While the Christmas market itself can easily be seen over the course of a couple of hours, Eguisheim definitely makes a great base from which to explore the wider area. Otherwise, check here for some of the best accommodation comparison prices in Eguisheim.
For the most flexibility when visiting Eastern France, you’ll want to rent a car. This will allow you to see all of the smaller markets in the region at night, without the constraints of sticking to local bus and train timetables. We personally loved the freedom of renting a car as it allowed us to visit plenty of off the beaten path Alsace villages and change our schedule on a whim. Check here for the best car rental comparisons.
Alternatively, if you’re short on time and are looking to see multiple markets but would prefer not to rent a car, you can always book a tour from nearby Colmar like this one. Comprising of multiple villages, this full day tour includes the chance to see Riquewihr Christmas Market, Eguisheim Christmas Market, and Colmar Christmas Market, together with a local guide. This is also a great way to figure out parking since both Eguisheim and Riquewihr can be tricky (and expensive) to find parking spots in!