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Discover Benelux  |  Culture  |  Christmas Markets Guide

Colmar celebrates Christmas magic in Alsace TEXT: ELODIE NOËL  |  PHOTOS: TOURISME COLMAR

With six Christmas markets and a unique atmosphere, Colmar certainly comes into its own during the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas in Alsace is a time of wonder and emotion. In Colmar, a city infused in art and history, the traditional Christmas market boasts a unique atmosphere. With six different markets, nestled in the emblematic squares of the historic centre, each constitutes a small village with its own universe of passionate craftsmen. “The atmosphere is absolutely

enchanting,” comments Olivia GobilliardSchreck, from Colmar tourism office. “Our six markets have wonderful light displays, making you feel like you are walking into a fairytale.” For the event, the whole city centre is decorated, offering a magical vision that never fails to impress visitors — Colmar was voted the city with the best Christmas lights in Europe last year. Focusing on quality crafts, the markets host a total of 184 exhibitors, most of whom are locals. “The market is 77 per cent Alsatian stands, of which 30 per cent are Colmarians.”

While handmade Christmas tree decorations always get plenty of attention, the market is also the place to find meaningful gifts for loved ones. “There is a stand that sells candles and statues of beeswax that I particularly love: they are made locally and very affordable, like most of the products available in the market,” adds Olivia Gobilliard-Schreck. And, of course, a Christmas market experience wouldn’t be complete without a taste of the local delicacies, like hot apple juice, a traditional kouglof (a delicious brioche), or the famous pretzel served with hot red wine with cinnamon. “There is nothing better to warm you up!” The Christmas Market is open from Friday, 22 November to Saturday, 29 December from 10am to 7pm, except the Marché Gourmand which opens from 10am to 10pm: www.noel-colmar.com

Christmas cheer in Charleroi Immerse yourself in Christmas cheer at Charleroi’s bustling Christmas Village, with over 30 Christmas-themed stalls, local food and drink, and a 700-square-metre ice rink all on offer. Charleroi’s Christmas Village is the perfect place to pick up Christmas gifts from the wide range of artisan products and gifts available, such as wooden handmade Christmas trees or baskets of local produce. If you have younger children, they can listen to fairytale readings or enjoy watching a dance performance. While you are browsing, you can go via the bar and

96  |  Issue 71  |  November 2019

TEXT: ARIANE LAURENT-SMITH  |  PHOTO: CHARLEROI

relax with some mulled wine or Champagne. For lunch or dinner, you can pop by the Christmas Village’s restaurant and enjoy delicious, seasonal food, including classic dishes such as tartiflette and fondue Savoyarde. For a little snack, treat yourself to a chocolate waffle or crepe coupled with a Christmas-inspired beer.   Every Friday, there’s a party on the ice rink until midnight, where you can dance on the ice to disco music, with your fluorescent accessories lighting up the rink and contributing to an allround fun atmosphere. If you’re nervous about taking to the ice, there are beginner sessions in

a private area of the ice rink that will have you skating around in no time. Even if the weather is bad, the ice rink is semi-covered so the fun can continue whatever the weather. Running from 30 November to 6 January, there is plenty of time to enjoy Charleroi’s beautiful Christmas Village. Join the 120,000 visitors who have experienced the wonders of the Christmas Village every winter since its inception, and see why so many of them keep returning.  Web: www.charleroi-noel.be

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Discover Benelux, Issue 71, November 2019  

On the cover of our November issue is Dutch singer Leonie Meijer, who told us about the making of her beautiful new album, Perfect Solitude...

Discover Benelux, Issue 71, November 2019  

On the cover of our November issue is Dutch singer Leonie Meijer, who told us about the making of her beautiful new album, Perfect Solitude...

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