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Strasbourg, France, is one of the truly great cities of Europe, especially because of its large historic zone, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a huge pedestrian area where cars are generally prohibited, with many of its buildings dating back largely to the 15th and 16th centuries, and some to the medieval period.

We are visiting here in December, which is an exciting time to be in Strasbourg because of the Christmas markets. Strasbourg has world's oldest Christmas market, going back 450 years and it has been happening nearly every year since then. In recent years it has got bigger and bigger, so they are open every day for about a month and a half, all through November and December, up through Christmas, from about 10 in the morning until about 8 o'clock at night.

You will find all kinds of knickknacks and special one-of-a-kind items that you just won't find anyplace else, and lots of food, and the hot wine to warm you up a little bit. It is a little cold here at this time of year, of course, in December. You can expect to be in the 30s and 40s, but if you bundle up and where your layers you should be just fine. We have had very pleasant weather conditions -- it has not been windy, no rain, blue skies, with some nice clouds and crisp sunshine -- perfect for enjoying this kind of atmosphere.

Christmas Market

Of course, Strasbourg is a year-round destination. It's great in the summertime, warmer obviously, you can be out in your shorts and enjoy the sidewalk cafés and the terrace restaurants all summer long for four or five months of the year. Even consider January and February, the low season, if you want to come when the rates are least and the crowds are smallest, you look for winter. Early November is also a dip in the season. Otherwise, it's busy all year round, especially now in the Christmas season when it is very festive. All the lights come on by 5 PM, and you have this great party atmosphere all the time here during the Christmas market. Something special.

Strasburg also has one of the largest pedestrian zones in all of Europe. It goes throughout the entire island, which is surrounded by the River Ill. Which was important, of course, as a source of power and water, and they had a mill, a series of water mills. You can see some of this preserved today, which wd important for grinding grain and other kinds of mechanical action that the water mill would have provided.

We are also visiting the Petit France district of Strasbourg, "Little France" which is one of the most charming areas of Strasbourg. Today it's a beautifully preserved historic zone. Strasbourg's historic the architecture showcases buildings with a half-timbered type construction, which is typical of northern France, Alsace-Lorraine in particular, with some resemblance to German architecture as well. Among the other attractions here, you can take a boat ride in Strasbourg on the River Ill. We take you on a walking tour of the historic neighborhoods of Strasbourg, and summarize for you a three-day visit to the area.

You'd want to spend probably at least a day and a half or two full days in Strasbourg itself. And perhaps, on a third day go out and visit the nearby wine villages. They are really attractive, charming small towns set in the vineyards in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, so it is a very picturesque area that can easily take a full day visiting outside of town. And we will take you on some walks in town that will fully occupy day or two at least visiting the historic sites, the Strasbourg cathedral, the shops and we will have a look at some of the restaurants and hotels. Mostly we are just enjoying these beautiful pedestrian streets that are perfect for walking.

More text and photos will be added later.