Located along the Alsace wine route, Guebwiller is a beautiful French town characterised by its small cobbled lanes and claim to fame as the heart of ‘Blue Christmas’ (otherwise known as ‘Noël Bleu’ in French). Here’s your ultimate Guebwiller Christmas Market Guide, as well as things to know before you go!
Guebwiller Christmas Market 2019 | 29th November – 24th December 3 PM – 8 PM, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
Situated in the Haut-Rhin department of Eastern France, Guebwiller is a tiny town with a population of around eleven and a half thousand residents. Twinned with Castelfiorentino in Italy and the magical town of Lucerne in Switzerland, highlights of the Alsatian settlement include the two churches, one of which is constructed in the early Gothic style and the other in the Romanesque. There’s also an Early Renaissance town hall.
Guebwiller Christmas Markets & Blue Christmas Illuminations
Now in its 11th edition, Guebwiller has come to be known as the home of ‘Blue Christmas’ thanks to a series of light displays projected onto the two town churches during the festive season, as well as a series of blue-light decorated trees in one of the markets, and illuminations on Guebwiller town hall.
Though you might imagine that the term ‘Noël Bleu’ comes from the led lights throughout Guebwiller or perhaps the iconic ‘Blue Christmas’ song by Elvis Presley, the name actually is for an acclaimed ceramicist, Théodore Deck.
There are two distinctive locations for the Christmas Markets in Guebwiller, though they are generally listed as a single event and can be reached within a few minutes walk of one another. While one is smaller and lies in the shadow of the famed ‘blue church,’ the other is a much larger affair, centred around a central ice skating rink.
Place Saint Léger Christmas Market
The smaller of the two main Christmas markets in Guebwiller is at the foot of Saint Léger church. Home to fewer than a dozen stalls, the entire event is illuminated in blue LED lights and sells things such as vin chaud and small gifts and handmade goods. There’s also a small carousel.
Saint Léger Church & Notre Dame illuminations
As well as the Christmas markets, there are daily illuminations projected onto both the Saint Léger Church (where a Christmas Market is to be found), as well as the little bit further out of town Notre Dame Church.
‘Eco-friendly’ Ice Rink, Place de l’Hôtel de Ville
The second of the Guebwiller Christmas Markets is centred around an ice skating rink in the very heart of the town. While the ‘Hôtel de Ville’ (town hall) is illuminated with its own light displays, an eco-friendly ice skating rink is fun for all the family. In 2019, the ice skating rink will run until the 5th of January 2020.
Place de l’Hôtel Christmas Market
The larger of the two Christmas Markets in Guebwiller is in the very heart of the Alsace town. There are a number of Bavarian style chalets selling everything from hot wine to locally produced foodstuffs (jams, cheeses, etc), as well as to-go hot food.
Things to know before visiting the Guebwiller Christmas Market
We visited Guebwiller during the evening and found it pretty difficult to find a space to park! As such, avoid well before sunset in order to find ample parking before the main event begins. Although many people we met spoke a great level of English, it’s only polite to learn a few words of the local language, in this case, French. Bring along a French phrasebook like this one to help you get by.
On Boxing Day (i.e. the 26th of December), there’s a particularly special event in that fireworks are launched from nearby vineyards and illuminated ‘Blue Christmas’. Like every other traditional Christmas Market, most vendors don’t accept bank cards, and so bring along enough cash to buy both presents and foodstuffs.
In terms of what to wear, be sure to wrap up warm! Though the sun may (and hopefully will be) shining during your visit, come night time the temperature swiftly drops and the wind can truly pick up. As such, make sure to pack a warm hat, gloves, and a coat. I particularly love this vegan winter coat. Otherwise, be sure to pack a comfortable pair of shoes! Like much of the Alsace, Guebwiller is filled with little alleyways and cobbled lanes so shoes that are easy to walk in are essential.
Christmas events close to Guebwiller
Situated in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, Guebwiller is to be found to the North West of Mulhouse, somewhere on the road between the tiny town of Eguisheim (best-known for its three castles) and the city of Mulhouse, the second largest settlement in the Alsace region. As you can imagine, there’s therefore no shortage of adorable Christmas markets and things to do close to Guebwiller.
Mulhouse Christmas Market
Magical and festive, Mulhouse is a true delight come Christmastime. After all, the streets are decked out in decorations, twinkling lights, and the main market in town (lying in the shadow of the grand Cathedral) is presided over by a magnificent ferris wheel, which you can go on to admire the market from above.
But what makes the market at Mulhouse truly unique is that a special ‘Christmas fabric’ is produced each year. Head into the historic town hall, and you can even purchase this fabric by the metre. The Christmas cups for vin chaud are decorated with the fabric pattern and it can be found across the city adorning chalets and other spaces.
Thann Christmas Market
Situated to the South West of Guebwiller, Thann is a delightful French market town set around a delightful example of typically Alsatian Gothic architecture (including one of the best-preserved tympanums I’ve ever seen). Situated under the shadow of a ruinous castle, Thann is home to a handful of markets clustered around the main parish church. For more information, check out this complete guide to the Thann Christmas Market.