It all started with our trip to Strasbourg - the self-declared "Capitale de Noël". As you know, we almost cancelled our weekend getaway because Copain was hit with the dreaded gastro the Thursday before we were supposed to leave. He decided that he wanted to power through (I'd like to think it's because it was our 7 year anniversary gift and that's how much he loves me, but it was probably because it was too late to cancel the hotel and the thought of giving away 100 euros was slowly killing him - even more than the gastro).
We got up bright and early on Saturday morning to catch our train at the Gare de l'Est. Copain was moving verrrrry slowly, so I planned an hour to get to the station despite the fact that we live 15 minutes away, with metro connections. This was good planning on my part because feeling nauseous and smelly metro travel do not mix. We got to the Gare with plenty of time to do some magazine perusing, and I indulged in a second cup of coffee for the road.
Homemade muffin, coffee, discount card for the under 30! Merci SNCF!
The train to Strasbourg only takes 2 hours, which makes this a perfect weekend destination from Paris. You spend zip time traveling and maximum time enjoying the city. When we arrived at the Gare de Strasbourg, Copain perked up as we made our way through the town to our hotel. Christmas cheer was partout as we arrived on the very first day of the Strasbourg Marché de Noël (Christmas markets!)
These guys walked through the streets from market to market with their super hip Alsacian bagpipes.
Santa bread - oh yes
Giant gingerbread men on the Office de Tourisme building
I wanted to stop and look at everything, take pictures of everything and then taste everything (some things never change) - vin chaud, pain d'épices, gaufres, choucroute, saucisse! But we had to get to the hotel to check in - Copain needed to chill after walking for the first time in 2 days - damn gastro.
We walked through La Place de la Cathédrale to get to our hotel...
Voila! Hôtel Suisse - how cute is this place?
After some hotel rest and relaxation, we were back in action - first order of business: get food. Strasbourg vacation rule: only eat things that sound German.
I broke the German rule because I love boudin noir with spiced apples and potatoes - trop. bon.
Copain pretty much watched me eat, which was a total bummer and also kind of nauseating for him. It lead to meals that looked like this:
Kaefferkopf for me, coca-cola for Copain
Sausage and choucroute for me... bread for Copain
Kougelhopf with Marc de Gewurztraminer for me... herbal tea for Copain
Bill for one...and a quarter?
Despite our one-sided meals, we did get to explore the city and take in all of the Christmas-y goodness:
The largest natural Christmas tree in Europe (or so they say..)
On the second day, after an amazing buffet breakfast at Hôtel Suisse (where Copain actually ate his first meal in three days), we decided to A: try our hand at patin à glace (ice skating!) and B: walk across the border to Germany.
ice skate kiss - real kisses were banned until the end of the gastro
The beginning of the Pont de l'Europe, Europe Bridge, that takes you from Strasbourg, France to Kehl, Germany.
The top of the bridge - personal shout out to the Germans for your strategically placed porta-potty located on the border of Kehl. I heart you.
Though our Strasbourg weekend had a rocky start, it comes highly recommended by moi - a perfect place to start the holiday season. You start out with the gastro, but you leave with Christmas fever :-)