Place du Temple-NeufFor five glorious weeks at the end of each year, Strasbourg, France puts on a light show that is nothing short of spectacular. All over the island that is the ancient heart of the Alsatian capital, buildings are bathed in colored lights. Last Sunday, music lovers attending a concert entered at the Temple Neuf church entered and exited  past the lights of this fine old building.

The entire city is aglow through a month-long festival of lights, and I thrilled to wander cobblestone streets, and soak up the holiday atmosphere. Here are my “top ten” views from my evenings beneath the stunning lamps of Strasbourg.

Most tours of Strasbourg, in any season, begin at the cathedral square. Christmas is no exception. The friendly tourist office wears a large gingerbread man, and the thick glass windows of the ancient building next door look painted on!
Place Gutenberg is dressed in brilliant blue, and the lights on the building behind the Georgian village cycle through a range of complementary colors.
Vibrantly hued curtains drape gracefully across the rue des Grandes Arcades between Place Gutenberg and Place Kleber.
Since 1992, the City of Strasbourg has mounted an enormous fir tree – the Grand Sapin – at Place Kleber. The square is a venue for musical performances through the Christmas season.
Traditional houses all around town are draped with garlands of ornaments and lights. Look closely to see the stenciling on the facades.
Baccarat crystal chandeliers on rue des Hallabardes give off a stately glow above the pedestrians below.
Carre D’Or’s opulently decorated, narrow streets are mesmerizing, light from overhead and walls competing for attention with storefronts.
Lacy trees, strings of lights, and myriad seasonal decorative elements clamor for attention.
It is hard to know where to look first…there is something to see in every direction!
The massive, illuminated cathedral commands a central spot in the festivities and serves as a backdrop for wooden chalets serving up Alsatian treats, Christmas ornaments and other wares.

Lights are just part–albeit a big part–of the holiday fervor in Strasbourg. Head over to Euro Travelogue for fine descriptions of Christmas markets here, and a tour through some of Alsace’s most picturesque Christmas destinations.

Related post: Strasbourg’s “Grand Sapin” celebrates its 20th anniversary




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