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Help please with Paris & Alsace area in December?

Help please with Paris & Alsace area in December?

Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 05:28 AM
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Help please with Paris & Alsace area in December?

Hello all

We are considering 12 days in France from 8 Dec before heading to London/UK for Christmas. We are a family of 4 with 13 year and 17 year old.

After 3 days in Paris (we have been many times at different times of the year) we were thinking Alsace for Christmas markets.

Will we need a car to get around?

How long would you suggest we base there? we usually stay a week in most places.

Can you suggest a town to base in please?

Aussie kids, so keen to see snow. Would this be likely mid December?

If we stay 7 nights we’ll have 3 more up our sleeves before planned Eurostar Paris-London on 21st Dec. I’m absolutely open to suggestions for what to do with these 3 days please?

I did like the idea of Roeun for a few nights but seems like could be out of the way.

Plan was to fly into Paris but also have option of Frankfurt, Munich or Zurich.

We’d be very grateful for any suggestions you might have.

Our priority will be enjoying all things Christmasy
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 08:20 AM
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You could just go to the centre of Strasbourg (medievel with a Christmas market) and use the train to get around (Colmar and some smaller villages). Tour to Nancy or Metz,
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 11:47 AM
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It is unlikely that you will see snow without going to the mountains. But it is not impossible.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 01:35 PM
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YOu do know they have snow in Australia and ski resorts there, also? Just in case you don't see a lot in Europe, you can see it at home if you go to those areas. Of course July-Aug is the peak season for that there and it's now winding down
Thredbo right now
https://www.thredbo.com.au/weather/snow-cams
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
YOu do know they have snow in Australia and ski resorts there, also? Just in case you don't see a lot in Europe, you can see it at home if you go to those areas. Of course July-Aug is the peak season for that there and it's now winding down
Thredbo right now
https://www.thredbo.com.au/weather/snow-cams
Yes, thanks Christina. I’ve been to Thredbo and we’ve all been to Mount Hotham. We also visited Switzerland one summer when they were younger and had a memorable Christmas near Innsbruck.

Living in Western Australia we don’t get any snow so the kids are excited by the opportunity to see snow again if it arises.

Thanks again, Louise
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
You could just go to the centre of Strasbourg (medievel with a Christmas market) and use the train to get around (Colmar and some smaller villages). Tour to Nancy or Metz,

Thank you,
We are happy to drive if you think we would get more out of the experience? But happy to stick to trains if you think it unnecessary.

We visited the Black Forest in 2014 and used the great public transport but hubby kept wishing we hired a car. We had a few hours in Strasbourg along on the way, but remember thinking we had to come back to spend longer.

Thanks again
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by kerouac View Post
It is unlikely that you will see snow without going to the mountains. But it is not impossible.
Thank you,

We spent 13 months in UK/Europe and apart from Jungfraujoch saw no snow for 12 months until it started snowing on Christmas night outside Innsbruck, which was memorable. We will plan to expect the unexpected to not be surprised.

Hubby and the kids will have to make the effort to head into the mountains one day, I’m in a wheelchair these days so not much appeal but hope they get the opportunity.

Thanks again
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 09:09 PM
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Get a car. Offers more freedom, especially in smaller towns.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2022, 10:53 PM
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If you're fine to fly into Zurich, then perhaps you could consider visiting the Swiss mountains for a few days before heading to Alsace via Basel. Maybe Lucerne which is close to Zurich airport and has mountains within easy reach and things to do if the weather is horrible (and shopping for yourself if you'd like that)?

My daughter (then 20) and I spent some time in Colmar in mid-December just prior to Covid hitting and we had a great time. At that time of year they have a Christmas bus (navette) which visits the other towns for the markets. And there are also the normal buses and trains. One day we took the bus to Ribeauville and walked (on the back roads) to Kayserberg via other villages, including Riquewihr. It was a lovely day, with frequent stops for Christmas fare.

Just before Christmas, we had snow on the nearby mountain at Innsbruck and also at Mittenwald. My daughter hadn't seen snow before (and I very rarely as we're also from Australia) so we had a wonderful time. We had intended to go to Zugspitze but the weather meant we wouldn't have had any views so skipped it (which was a bit disappointing but we did plenty of other things instead) so that's another possibility, although further to travel.

We did not hire a car as transport in this part of the world is excellent (especially by our standards) and it was much more relaxing to not have one. I'm not certain about travelling in a wheelchair though so that may change your approach.

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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 09:57 PM
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Thanks Dreamon and Michelle
I'm thinking to divide our time between Strasbourg (no car) and a village with a car or a village on the Navettes de Noël bus route. I'm also planning to add a night at Europa Park, if I don't and my son realises we were so close I'll be in trouble. So I'm feeling conflicted about what to do. Looking at prices in Colmar in December I'm thinking a smaller village gite with a car could be a cheaper option offering greater flexibility especially with a wheelchair.

If we hire a car, would it be easier collecting the car from Mulhouse or Strasbourg railway station?

Dreamon, I am very grateful for your suggestion to arrive via Zurich to have the opportunity for hubby and the kids to have some fun in the snow. It has gotten me thinking. We were supposed to visit our little house in a village in Croatia for a couple of weeks in mid January. We haven't visited since 2018. But I'm thinking in winter it might be pretty unpleasant, we might just freeze with no heating but a pot belly stove. So we are considering flying home out of Barcelona (after Christmas in UK) and visiting the Pyrenees so the kids can see snow somewhere we haven't been before. Like you, we enjoyed a snowy Christmas outside Innsbruck. I think Pyrenees could be cheaper than Switzerland or French Alps. Thanks again.
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 01:08 AM
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Watch out for cobbles in some of the prettier villages, plus many of them are on the slopes of the Vosges not the flat. You can search for christmas fairs by town on google which give you dates etc
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 01:37 AM
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Thanks bilboburgler, I'll check out the dates and then once I have villages in mind use google street view to see if it will be okay with my wheelchair. It's electric, thank goodness, but the big cobblestones can be horribly rattling ;-)

If we were coming from Troyes, would you drive to a village near Colmar (can the mountains be avoided?) or catch the train back to Paris and back out on the train via Strasbourg?
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by louipivac View Post
Thanks bilboburgler, I'll check out the dates and then once I have villages in mind use google street view to see if it will be okay with my wheelchair. It's electric, thank goodness, but the big cobblestones can be horribly rattling ;-)

If we were coming from Troyes, would you drive to a village near Colmar (can the mountains be avoided?) or catch the train back to Paris and back out on the train via Strasbourg?
while I like the enviromentalist point of view, even I would drive. Yes there is a massive gap between the southern end of the Vosges and the start of the northern Alps so it is easy driving. There are some nice spots along the way, Auxerre, Besancon and a world renowned chapel which would bore the kids silly. Once in Alsace and if I still had a car it might be worth visiting the semi-faux Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg (wheel chair pretty unfriendly but the restaurant at the foot has a good view)
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 03:09 AM
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Thanks so much bilboburgler, when I added Auxerre and Besancon as stops into Via Michelin I got very excited to see the places we would pass through. I'm thinking I'll have to add a night on the road to break the journey, to make sure we don't arrive in the dark after lots of interesting stops.

The kids are pretty good with visiting chapels and other historic places as long as we balance it out with with kid friendly activites (food, rollercoasters and art for my son, shopping for my daughter).

Thanks for the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg idea, I'm fine with relaxing in the restaurant while everyone else looks around. I remember visiting Burg Eltz a number of years ago on a day it was closed and just being there was an experience.

Thanks again
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