It is difficult to determine the most beautiful village in France, but Eguisheim falls into many similar rankings! The small village is among the favorites of French and tourists. It is undoubtedly one of the most visited places in Alsace, and Christmas period here is amazing…
Where is located and how to get there
Eguisheim is located only 7 km south of Colmar! It can be reached very easily and quickly by car, in about 15 minutes. The proximity to Colmar allows many different options for transporting tourists, who will decide to spend a few hours there.
Parking also isn’t difficult. Just a 3-minute walk from the center is the large car park – Parking Eguisheim. It is paid, but it is huge and well arranged. There are also maintained toilets. The price for a whole day is 3 euro, which is totally worth it!
Let’s go around the village
If Eguisheim could be seen from a bird’s eye view, it would be clear that the village is situated as a circle around the castle of Saint-Léon in the center. The best way to explore is to go around the south, along the Rue du Rempart South and then make a full circle along the Rue du Rempart North.
At the very beginning of the cobbled street we encounter one of the most recognizable locations throughout Alsace – the beautiful cottage on its corner with Rue de IÁlmend Sud. This place has gained great fame for its photoginetics and attracts the attention of tourists! Can be seen on a huge amount of souvenirs and cards from Alsace…
On Rue du Rempart South
The narrow street provides us with an abundance of crooked and colorful half-timbered houses! In addition to the various facades, the colorful wooden shutters on the windows also attract attention. And they aren’t only colorful, but also with different ornaments or decorations. The presence of Christmas decorations in some of the houses is mandatory! The feeling that we are in a tale from Brothers Grimm is so strong that at times we have to pinch ourselves to make sure that everything is reality…
On Rue du Rempart North
The northern part doesn’t differ much, here are positioned an idea more souvenir shops and restaurants. All the houses are glued to each other, which makes the rural streets look even narrower and creates a feeling of cohesion and coziness. Take a look at the variety of wrought iron signs hanging on the buildings, revealing part of the Alsatian heritage in Eguisheim…
A little more about Eguisheim
Eguisheim is famous for several interesting things! The place became popular with tourists in 2013, when it was chosen as the Favorite Village of the French people (“Village préféré des Français”), but in fact its history dates back to long before the Paleolithic, when its lands began to settle. The reason isn’t accidental… The area is so fertile that almost the whole was covered with vines. Eguisheim is considered to be the birthplace of the Alsatian vineyards!
Another interesting fact is that this is the birthplace of Pope Leo IX, considered the most important German pope in the Middle Ages, whose full name is Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsbourg.
The Christmas market
The Christmas market in Eguisheim is located on two hidden squares, the smaller part is on Place Monseigneur Stumpf, and the more impressive on Place du marché aux Sauleсs. In total, on the two parts have about 30 wooden houses of local producers…
We started from the smaller part, where we decided to look for refreshing coffee… Fortunately, there was a whole hut with a huge variety and in addition to the company’s need for morning coffee, we buy a package of Christmas mix – Mélange de Noël. And although it was still early (10:30), I preferred warm vegetable soup, dried appetizer and Mulled wine / Vin Chaud. In the article about Obernai I mentioned the Christmas cups in every village… And from here we keep them as a souvenir! And on them is the motto of the Christmas market in Eguisheim – „Le temps d’un Noël authentique à Eguisheim“ – It’s time for an authentic Christmas in Eguisheim!
It’s no coincidence that the motto of Eguisheim is such! It is believed that here the Christmas market best combines the traditions and authenticity of the Alsatian region! Beautifully decorated arch and cheerfully painted stumps greet us at the entrance to the main part of the market. The beautiful stalls full of all kinds of sweets and souvenirs predispose us to fully enjoy the Christmas magic in Alsace… A great gift idea are the jars with a mixture for cakes!
The central square
The center of the village is built around the octagonal renaissance fountain – St. Leon. An interesting fact is that this is one of the largest fountains in all of Alsace! In the middle of the fountain is a statue of the most famous inhabitant of Eguisheim – Pope Leo IX.
The Château Saint-Léon, where the pope was born in 1002, is clearly visible from behind. Its structure itself hasn’t changed since the 16th century, and only the 3 m high wall behind the fountain remains of the medieval fortress around him… The first castle on this site was built in 720 and it is believed that the village arose around it.
Admiring the sun in December and circling around the fountain in the square, we feel the delicate aroma of freshly baked cakes… After the hot soup and mulled wine for breakfast, it is very difficult to ignore this pleasant smell of something sweet… Ten steps from the square are just as long as it takes to get to the Maison Alsacienne de Biscuiterie! We didn’t pay attention to the name of the shop, we just followed the smell of fresh pastries… So we came across for the first time one of the most famous confectionery brands in Alsace… without suspecting!
On one side is the most recognizable Alsatian pastry – Kugelhopf, and on the other there is an abundance of sweet and French Macarons… The Kugelhopf is traditional and can even be seen on various ornaments on buildings. But… the French Macarons looked so delicious… We came out with a box of them, which we emptied for a short time in the central square…
Main street /Grand – Rue/
The main street is another major landmark in Eguisheim! The main flow of tourists is concentrated here, and almost all restaurants and shops are to her… The many flower pots on the windows have given way to the beautiful Christmas decorations, some of which are more original! But the most beautiful was another pastry shop located at the entrance of the Christmas market… The beautiful facade was stylishly decorated with ornaments under each window and a Christmas tree by the entrance. And the purpose of the building was implied by the tea set, the Kugelhopf and the huge bretzel of wrought iron… We peeked inside, so as not to accidentally miss something delicious that we haven’t seen until now…
There is a lot of Christmas magic gathered in the small streets of Eguisheim! And not only… Colorful, variegated and pretty village that can’t be missed. It also looks charming at night when the streets are buzzing with musicians and pianists and there is a variety of different events throughout the Christmas period! Worth a visit… regardless of the season…