As promised in the last post, here’s our review of all the Christmas Markets we visited in Paris, Strasbourg, and Berlin. Most of them were intentional destinations, but a few we found on accident. Bonus!
A bunch of pictures (from various markets) at the end)
We had lots of Markets on our list and made it to most of them. Sometimes more than one in a day!!
- Surprise market 4/5 – is this a market?
- Foot long “American hotdog sandwich” with onions 4/5 – tasty!
- Giant pot of scalloped potatoes 5/5 – enticing
- Size 2/5 – petit
- Metro station “in the market” 5/5
- Hard to find even though right next to a metro station 2/5
- Located on the sidewalk, very crowded 3/5
- First titanic nougat sighting 5/5
- Rings worth trying on 3/5
Jardin de Tuileries
- Size 7/5 – so big
- Rides 5/5 – you could get in a bubble and there was a slide and the biggest Ferris wheel ever
- Singing Reindeer Heads 5/5 for three part harmony
- Elevated floor so we didn’t walk in the mud 4/5
- Fire safety 1/5 – impossible to escape. Three exits in the whole thing.
- Fun house 2/5 – no adults allowed
- Market variety 2/5 – same as everyone. More cashmere scarves.
- Atmosphere 5/5 – very pretty. Cute Christmas displays.
- Unconventional Christmas animals – 4/5 Christmas dung beetle
- Cute carousel 5/5 – double decker, very cute.
- Hot wine (vin chaud) – 5/5 tasty and didn’t reek of alcohol
- Random stranger who liked San Diego more than LA and her cute dog Tresor (Treasure) 5/5.
- Lights, decorations, and room to move around 5/5
- Also surprise, delightful 5/5
- Ginormous nougat 5/5 – still a mystery
- Bitchin fountain 4/5 – needed lighting
- Shopping 5/5 – breadstick pens.
- Shoppable 4/5 – found gifts!
- Handmade and second hand goodies 5/5
- Chocolat Chaud 3/5 – serviceable
- Location 3/5 off the path, wrong side of the river
- Church vibes 2/5 didn’t need em
- Arts and Crafts 3.5/5 – hand made mosaics
Paris markets overall
- public transportation 3/5 – Metro was great but buying tickets was infuriating. We tried MULTIPLE times!
- Taxi drivers 5/5 – Antoni was amazing. Did a 25 min drive in 15 without breaking a sweat AND told us about Paris monument along the way!
- Eiffel Tower 4/5 – views were great. There was champagne AND a bathroom at the top. But the line ride was horrible.
- Cult of Angelina 5/5 – Sean’s new religion. Best hot chocolate on the planet.
- Christmas markets overall 3/5 – a little underwhelming and most of the vendors had the same items.
Probably the most famous Christmas Markets in the world. That and my sister moved there a year ago, so of course we had to go!
- About what we expected from Paris. Paris 4, Strasbourg 2.
- Big tree 5/5
- Carrousel only kids could ride 1/5
- Vin Chaud Blanc very tasty 4/5
- Bretzel beignet actually just a pretzel with chocolate – 2/5 tricksy
- Souvenir cups 5/5 (just the ones we wanted(
- Short King and Old Man Nutcrackers 5/5 – picked them both up!
- Souvenir cups 2/5 (not the ones we wanted)
- Oppressive church bells 0/5 – they went on so long and they were so loud.
Place Benjamin Zix
- Cute 4/5
- By the River 4/5
Advent Village in Petite France
- Respect for Advent calendar display 3/5 (broken doors!)
- On a little island and very cute 5/5
- Cute game of tossing things between islands but you couldn’t actually play it 2/5
- Location 5/5 – inception of Frances (Petite France inside Petite France inside…)
- Light show with explanation in English 5/5 – educational
- Long orderly row (except at the very end) 4/5
- Actual Santa taking pics with kids 5/5
- Tree forest 4/5
All the others we didn’t even realize they were separate markets because the blurred together
- Location 5/5 – continuous Christmas
- Quaint 3/5
- Accidental market 4/5
- Decor 3.5/5 cool hanging gingerbread men
- Big tree 4/5 – but not the biggest!
Place de Temple Neuf
- Cute surprise market 5 out of High Fives all around
- Not too crowded 3/5
- Location 4/5 – nice corner of the city
Strasbourg markets overall
- Year round Christmas shops 4/5
- Variety of market goods (not all the same stuff like Paris) 5/5
- Alsatian Museum 1/5 spoons (only one spoon)
- Surprise taxi lane 1/5 – why is this car driving on a walking path?
- Stuffed bears all over 4/5 – cute but a little weird
- Christmas Markets 5/5 – they were great and they were everywhere! You couldn’t miss them!
The final leg of our trip and a chance to catch up with friends we haven’t seen in years. Berlin was wonderful. Here’s the run down!
- Entry fee 1/5 euros – first time we were charged but a very quick queue
- Hot wine 5/5 – new Christmas mugs
- Crowds 2/5 – packed like Strasbourg
- Ornament game 4/5 – Adorable
- Hard pretzel 3/5 – it was fiiiiine
- Gendarmerie close by 5/5 – so good
- Giant Christmas “pyramid” 5/5 – we have one of those at home with candles!
- Bratwurst 5/5 – first in Germany, did not disappoint!
- Weird ass Christmas tunes 1/5 – is it trying to be K-pop?
- World clock 5/5 – on time, we assume.
- Square pyramid trees 5/5 – pointy!
- Ornament photo opp 5/5 – adorable!
- Big ass tree 4/5 – not as big as Strasbourg
- Cathedral 5/5 – Bonus history lesson. Educational!
- Sean as sparkly Santa 5/5
- Big ass slide 5/5
- Karen and Sean sliding together like the most adorable people on the planet 10/5
St Lucia (or Kollwitzkiez)
- Ye olde 5/5
- Big moose head 5/5
- Glughwein with amertto 5/5 – tasty and best ceramic mugs
- Yurt 4/5 – it’s a yurt!
- Kaiserschmarrn 5/5 – had apple sauce and filled me with nostalgia
- Vibes 4/5
- Very dark 3/5
- Kind of hard to find 2/5 – is this a trick?
- Vibes 3/5 -much better at night
- Axe throwing 6/7 – Sean had good luck. Bear’s eye!
- Axe throwing 1/7 – those axes are cold, badly weighted, and not sharp. Rigged!
- Fire pits 1/5 – only one and it was surrounded by locals the whole time.
- Glogg 5/5 – Achievement unlocked.
- Cutest little Ferris Wheel 4/5 – no adult allowed
- Fire dancing at 5pm – 4/5 very fun but all the jokes were in German and we couldn’t understand them. Sounded funny though!
- Bratwurst 4/5 – solid sausage. Difficult mustard and ketchup dispenser (big pot with a wooden spoon)
Weinknachtsmarks von dem Schloss Charlottenburg
- Bonus market 5/5 – came for the palace and got a Christmas market too!
- Viewing platform 5/5
- Credit card acceptance 1/5 – no gluhwein for us
- ATM usability 0/5 – did not work
- Live bands (plural) 5/5 – they were nice
- Ornament game 3/5 – not much else to buy.
- Indoor stalls 4/5 – warm but crowded
- Place light show 4/5 – it was cute
Berliner Weihnachtszeit Rotes Rathaus
- Ferris Wheel 5/5 – it was good. Private car for smooches.
- Gluhwein with amaretto 5/5 – very tasty and warm!
- Tree bread? 6/5 – so good. Heaven!
- Nukspezialitäten (candied almonds) 4/5 – they were fine. Just a little warm
- Maroni (roasted chestnuts) 2/5 – overrated. Even the vendor didn’t seem to like them. He tried to encourage us to buy less.
- Santa on a flying sleigh – 5/5 – a real Santa up there!!
- Ice Skating 4/5 – looked but our feet were too cold already and the lines were long. Some concern about the trash bins on the ice.
- Dope snow globes 5/5 – candlestick, TV, and ornaments!
- Space to walk 4/5 – nice to have room to walk
- Haunted playground 5/5 – a witch definitely lives here. The ice on all the playground surfaces was a bonus!
- View from the TV tower 5/5 – you could see so far!!!
- TV tower restaurant 4/5 – Yummy cake but it was too spinny!
- Museum Island 5/5 – finally museums in their natural habitat. Our pass was only supposed to work for one museum but (as promised by our first ticket desk agent) nobody checked!
- Berlin 5/5 – great markets with a ton of variation (competing glogg, axe throwing, ice skating, Christmas pyramids, slides, ornament picture ops)
Pics or it didn’t happen!
Pics in some random WordPress upload order!
Videos of some particular good spots
The Alsatian Christmas story featuring Hans Trapp), Christkindel, and St. Lucia (who is both Jesus and a teenage girl who sets things on fire).
Schlager, pop Christmas songs in Berlin. Everyone was cringing but I was bouncing to it!
The creation of Kaiserschmarrn, a treat my dad used to make at Christmas (which I do now as well). I’ve never had any that wasn’t made by a Nittner before!
Fire Dancing at Historische Weihnacht (part 1)
Fire Dancing at Historische Weihnacht (part 2)