Experience the magic, the culture, the lights, decorations, food and festivities of Christmas on this 9-day/8-night France Christmas Markets Vacation. Spend 6 nights in Strasbourg, the Christmas Capital of France, and 2 nights in Paris, the City of Lights. Stay in luxury 4-star hotels on this all-inclusive vacation. Accommodations, all meals, activities and transportation are included in the package. Enjoy your vacation in a very small group setting, with a maximum group size of 10 people.
In Alsace you’ll experience Christmas in the cities of Strasbourg and Colmar. Then feel like you’ve just been dropped into a snow globe as you enjoy the magic of Christmas in picturesque villages like Riquewihr, Ribeauville’ and Kaysersburg. Villages where colorful half-timbered houses set among rolling snow-covered hills create a Winter wonderland for you to enjoy. Learn first-hand about Alsatian cuisine during a cooking class and also on a food-themed Christmas Markets guided walk. Enjoy the wine of Alsace and France at typical wine bars and during a visit to a winery along the famous Alsace Wine Route.
In Paris, you’ll see the main sights splendidly decorated for the season and enjoy several of the Christmas markets in the City of Light. As with all Food Lover’s Odyssey vacations, you’ll dine at the best and most authentic restaurants, taste a variety of food styles from Christmas market fare to French fine dining, and meet locals who will share both their cuisine and culture with you.
$3995 per person (based upon double occupancy)
*Single supplement price: $675
Maximum Group Size: 10 people
THE SIGHTS, ACTIVITIES AND EXPERIENCES:
Enjoy the best Christmas markets of the region in Strasbourg, Colmar, Riquewihr, Ribeauville, and Kaysersburg. Cook authentic cuisine during your Alsatian Cooking Class. Explore one of France’s great wine regions, with a winery visit along the famous Alsace Wine Route and an introduction to the wines of Alsace at a local wine bar. Visit major sights in Strasbourg during your guided walking tour including, the Strasbourg Cathedral and Palace Rohan, and the Covered Bridges, the Old City Center and the Petite France neighborhood.
In Paris you’ll visit two Christmas Markets, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cite, the Louvre Museum, the Tuileries Gardens, the Champs Elysees, the Arch of Triumph, the Eiffel Tower, and Place de la Concorde
CITIES AND VILLAGES YOU’LL VISIT:
Day 1: Arrival Day – Afternoon Christmas Markets and Food Walking Tour of Strasbourg – Welcome Dinner
I’ll meet you upon arrival at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. From there we’ll take a late morning high-speed TGV train to Strasbourg.
After you’ve checked into your hotel and settled in, we’ll meet for a Christmas Markets and Food Tour orientation walk with a local guide. You’ll have at least 10 tastings during your walk through the Christmas markets. Spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, free to enjoy more of the markets, relax with a mulled wine (vin chaud) at a local winebar or rest at the hotel.
This evening is our welcome dinner. You’ll enjoy an authentic Alsatian dinner at one of the best restaurants in Strasbourg.
Day 2: A Day in Colmar and its Christmas Markets
Spend the day in beautiful Colmar and visit its 5 Christmas Markets that are spread throughout this picturesque city. Take an orientation walk through the city with a local guide, which will end in the Petite Venise (little Venice) district of the city. We’ll have a gourmet French lunch together.
After lunch you will have the rest of the afternoon to explore the Christmas markets and Colmar on your own or you can take a leisurely walk with me as we sample the wares and fares at each Christmas market.
In the evening, we’ll meet for a light dinner at a Winstaub (wine bar) and an introduction to Alsatian wines. After our dinner, we’ll return to our hotel. If you’d like to see the city all alit, you can walk with me to enjoy the Christmas lights in Strasbourg.
Day 3: A day in Strasbourg – History, Architecture, Boat Ride and more of Strasbourg’s Christmas markets
Today we spend the entire day exploring Strasbourg. In the morning with a local guide, visit the Cathedral and learn about its astronomical clock. On our walk, we’ll learn about the history of the city by exploring its streets, half-timbered houses, and Old World architecture. We’ll end the morning with a boat ride around the River L’Ill. We’ll have a light lunch together.
The afternoon will be yours to explore on your own or you can take a leisurely walk with me through many of Strasbourg’s Christmas markets. Enjoy a typical Alsatian dinner tonight in Strasbourg.
Day 4: The Villages and Christmas Markets of Kaysersberg and Riquewihr – Winery Visit
Today you’ll explore one of the most beautiful villages in Alsace,Kaysersberg, and experience its artisan Christmas Market.
We’ll have lunch in Kaysersberg and a visit a winery on our way to the « Chirstmas Village » of Riquewihr.
Spend the afternoon in the cozy village of Riquewihr, be amazed at the colorful half-timbered houses and how the city goes all out with Christmas decorations. Explore its small Christmas market and local shops dedicated to Christmas, and Alsatian products and foods. We’ll have dinner together before returning back to our hotel.
Day 5: Alsatian Cooking Class – Afternoon on your own or join me on a trip to a nearby Gingerbread House village – Dinner in Strasbourg
This morning you’ll learn how to make Alsatian holiday treats during our morning cooking class. We’ll have lunch together after class and then you have the afternoon free to spend your last full day in Strasbourg exploring the city and/or its Christmas markets. Or, you can join me for a short train ride to a nearby “Gingerbread House” village and its tiny Christmas market.
We’ll meet back together in the evening for an evening stroll through the Petite France neighborhood of Strasbourg and dinner together.
Day 6: Medieval Village and Christmas Market of Ribeauville’ and an evening at the Christmas Market in Colmar
Spend the morning at the Medieval village of Ribeauville’ and its weekend Medieval-themed Christmas market. Enjoy the village, its Christmas market and festival fare, as we’ll have a casual lunch together at the Christmas market. You’ll have plenty of free time to enjoy and shop on your own. Before we leave Ribeauville’, we’ll meet at one of my favorite patisseries in the region for a sweet snack.
In the afternoon we’ll return to Colmar. You’ll be so glad to have extra time in Colmar, many say its their favorite town in Alsace, to shop the Christmas markets for our final day in Alsace. We’ll have our final Alsatian dinner together tonight.
Day 7: High-speed TGV Train from Paris to Strasbourg – Walking Tour of Paris’s Ile de la Cite, Notre Dame and St. Chapelle – Evening at the Eiffel Tower and Dinner
We’re off to Paris today, taking the morning high-speed TGV train from Strasbourg to Paris, and then you’ll check into our Parisian hotel.
After a little time to settle in, we’ll meet for a typical Parisian brasserie lunch and stop by a favorite patisserie for a guided visit and dessert.
You’ll spend the afternoon on a guided walk through the Ile de la Cite and visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame and Sainte Chapelle on the island in the center of Paris.
After our formal guided tour, you can spend the rest of the afternoon on your own or opt to take a stroll with me over to the Left Bank and have a crepe in my old neighborhood (where I lived during culinary school in Paris) and explore the small Christmas Market near the Church of Saint Germain des Pres.
We’ll meet back together in the evening for a walk near the Eiffel Tower and an amazing dinner at a nouveau bistro.
Day 8: Morning at the Louvre – Walk along the Champs Elysees and its Christmas Market. See the Arch of Triumph – Farewell Dinner
Our last day together, we’ll spend a full-day in Paris, with a morning at the Louvre. Take a guided tour of the highlights of the Louvre with our local guide (The guided tour will be 3 hours long)
You can choose to linger at the Louvre on your own, after the guided tour is over, or join us for a light lunch and classic French pastries for dessert.
We’ll meet back together in the afternoon and take the metro to the Arch of Triumph. From there we’ll walk along the Champs Elysees, exploring both the classy Avenue Montaigne (where the boutiques of Louis Vutton, Chanel & Dior are housed) and the flashy Christmas Market along the Avenue.
You’ll have the late afternoon to relax and we’ll meet back together for a special farewell dinner.
Day 9: Transfer to Charles de Gaulle Airport – Au Revoir
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll say au revoir and your transfer to the Charles de Gaulle Airport will take you from the hotel to the airport.
***Sequence of activities, excursions and classes may vary. The final itinerary will be given to each guest on the first day of the vacation.