The Foret Enchantee of Altkirch © French Moments
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Last Updated: 18 November 2023

For the Christmas season, the little town of Altkirch in the Sundgau radically departs from the Alsatian tradition of hosting a Christmas market. The fir trees of the Foret Enchantee of Altkirch (Enchanted Forest) spread out throughout the old town centre, creating a fantastic world of ancient local tales and legends.

La Foret Enchantee of Altkirch – The Enchanted Forest

The Foret Enchantee of Altkirch © French Moments
Entrance to the Foret Enchantee of Altkirch © French Moments

The Enchanted Forest (la Forêt Enchantée) covers most of the old town of Altkirch which is situated on a spur over the Ill valley. More than 200 characters and animals from ancient tales and legends of the Sundgau bring new life to the sleepy little town during the Christmas season.

Staged with a magical and fantasy theme comprising ponds and forests, brilliantly recreated in the town centre, the event has a storyline of 26 tales such as the Flower Fairy, the Blochmont’s Little Man, the Black Virgin, the Witch of Koestlach and the Dragon of Fire… all carefully illuminated.

The Christmas lights in Altkirch

On Place de la Halle au Blé, an ice-skating rink is traditionally set up, surrounded by several chalets selling local produce.

Many events take place during Advent in Altkirch such as the arrival of Santa on a Harley-Davidson, choirs and music concerts and a St Nicolas parade.

Altkirch is a good base for visiting some of Europe’s finest Christmas markets: Mulhouse, Montbéliard, Colmar, Freiburg-im-Breisgau (Germany) and Basel (Switzerland). 

How to get to Altkirch


By train

Altkirch is situated on the Mulhouse-Belfort train line.

Trams run several times daily to and from Mulhouse central station (from 11 to 19 minutes) with train connections to Colmar, Strasbourg, Lyon, Basel and Paris.

By car

Situated just off the crossroads of two major axes (Strasbourg-Lyon and Luxembourg-Basel), Altkirch is easily reached from Strasbourg (135 km), Freiburg-im-Breisgau (80 km) and Besançon (130 km). Paris is 540 km from Altkirch.

By air

The closest international airport is the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Euroairport (25km) which is serviced by national and European airlines.

The Foret Enchantee of Altkirch: English-French Vocabulary 

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • chalet = châlet (m)
  • Christmas = Noël
  • Christmas Eve = veille de Noël (f) / réveillon (m)
  • Christmas lighting = illuminations de Noël (f,p)
  • Christmas market = marché de Noël (m)
  • Christmas Tree = sapin de Noël (m), arbre de Noël (m)
  • church = église (f)
  • enchanted forest = forêt enchantée (f)
  • fairy-tale = conte de fée (m)
  • Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
  • forest = forêt (f)
  • holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
  • Santa = Père Noël (m)
  • square = place (f)
  • street = rue (f)
  • tale = conte (m)

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Discover The Forêt Enchantée of Altkirch © French Moments


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About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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