Affordable Seasons Greetings and Eatings in Strasbourg, France

Posted December 8, 2009 by Kate Hamman

France-Strasbourg-ChristmasMarkets-DEF Completely surrounded by a river, Strasbourg's city center captures the magic of the holidays with markets decked out with the season's finest products, twinkling lights, carolers, and roasted chestnuts. After you've had your fill of goodwill toward men, you can save a bundle by taking advantage of a city pass geared towards cultural activities, and dine on regional dishes at special holiday prices.

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Christmas markets: Ring in the spirit of the season at Strasbourg's festive Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. Sip a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) for €2 (about $3 U.S.; check XE.com for current exchange rates), and peruse the stalls filled with handmade crafts like wooden inlay artwork and marbled paper journals; baked cookies; wines; and elaborate Christmas decorations. Get a map from the tourism office by the Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre-Dame, and you'll be on your merry way. Prices depend on the seller, and the memory attached to each keepsake is priceless.

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Strasbourg Pass: If you want to add a bit of culture to your city visit, the Strasbourg Pass offers savings and free admission to some of the city's best known attractions for the one-time price of €11.40. The pass is valid for three days and includes a free boat tour that regularly costs €8, an ascent to the cathedral platform that is normally €4.60, and entrance to a museum of your choice, typically costing €5. You can also save up to 50 percent on other activities and shops around town.

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Le Gruber: Steps from the cathedral, you'll find a lively and eclectic restaurant perfect for a mid-afternoon bite. At Le Gruber, furniture dangles from the ceilings and abstract paintings hang alongside traditional landscapes. The menu opts for a more traditional approach, offering Alsatian dishes like choucroute, knuckle of ham, and meat stews. For the holiday season, you can order the "Marchés de Nöel" prix-fixe menu; entrees a la carte start at €13.80.

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(Photo: Aurelie Cottier)

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