Listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France, Riquewihr is surrounded by the vineyards of Alsace. With its charming half-timbered houses, the Riquewihr Christmas Market attracts a large crowd of visitors at the approach of Christmas who come to marvel at the fairy-tale like village.
Riquewihr Christmas Market
The Christmas market of Riquewihr is certainly one of the most beautiful in Alsace, due to an admirable local setting of half-timbered houses, courtyards and narrow streets. Over a hundred stalls present their products to thousands of visitors. On the Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of Advent, the Christmas market is extended with more stalls along the high street (Rue du Général de Gaulle).
An original concept developed over the last few years in the region of Riquewihr is the “Caves de Noël” (Christmas cellars) which aim to share with visitors the passion that winemakers have for their work combined with the Christmas traditions of Alsace. In the cosy atmosphere of wine cellars specially decorated for Christmas, visitors can choose to participate in a wide choice of themed cultural activities: Christmas traditions in Alsace of course, but also local hand-crafts, gastronomy and food workshops, wine making, tasting of local products, etc.
Like many villages along the scenic Alsace Wine Route, the streets of Riquewihr are richly decorated and lit up for Christmas. From the Dolder medieval gate to the Town-Hall, the high street of Rue du Général de Gaulle is bordered by decorated half-timbered houses each more beautiful than the last.
The Christmas shop: “la féerie de Noël”
On the site of the “Dolder”, a huge Nutcracker stands guard at the entry of the most fascinating boutique in the village: the Christmas Shop “La Féérie de Noël”. Open all year round, the shop spreads Christmas cheer over two levels, thanks to an original interior decoration. The client (or visitor) enters into a little recreation of a snowy Alsatian village, following a one-way route. A little straight road leads to a balcony overlooking the small town square, at the centre of which stands a white 4.5 metre high Christmas tree. It is accessible by a staircase. Each decorated set shelters the Christmas tree decorations: figurines, angels, Santa Claus, Christmas baubles, etc. Further away, the visit continues across the scene of a forest featuring pine trees decorated with multicoloured balls and glass ornaments. After climbing the stairs, the visit ends in a place where traditional Alsatian items are on display (doilies, candles, candlesticks, and various objects).
Riquewihr is a good base to explore other popular Christmas markets in Alsace and beyond: Ribeauvillé, Kaysersberg, Colmar, Éguisheim, Sélestat and Freiburg-im-Breisgau.
Heading towards Riquewihr, it becomes apparent that the visit to this village nestled between a wooden glen and protected from north winds by the Vosges Mountains, will live up to all expectations. The shades of the half-timbered houses are typical of Alsace: in red, green or bright yellow, adding a very picturesque stamp to the site.
The picturesque village is surrounded by the ruins of its ramparts from the 13th century. The main road, paved and lined with houses from the Renaissance, is framed with side alleys and charming backyards. Softly sloping, it leads to the belfry of the “Dolder”, a remarkable 25 metre-high construction, in pink sandstone from the Vosges and timber.
Find out more about Riquewihr.
How to get to Riquewihr
Riquewihr is situated 15 km from Colmar train station with train connections to Mulhouse, Strasbourg, Lyon, Basel and Paris.
Situated along the scenic Alsace Wine Route linking Marlenheim to Thann, Riquewihr is easily reached from Colmar (15km), Mulhouse (60km), Strasbourg (70 km), Freiburg-im-Breisgau (65km), and Basel (85km) and Nancy (130km). Paris is 440km from Riquewihr.
The closest international airports are Strasbourg-Entzheim and the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg Euroairport, both at equal distance (70km), which are serviced by national and European airlines.
(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)
- Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
- half-timbered house = maison à colombages (f)
- holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
- Santa = Père Noël (m)
- square = place (f)
- street = rue (f)