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If you’re searching for a really unique Christmas market to enjoy, then you’ve got to check out the Ribeauville Christmas Market. This is no ordinary holiday market in the Alsace; this is the Ribeauville Medieval Market.
Yes, for two weekends in December, you have the chance to see people dressed up as knights, peasants, etc. as they roast boar over a fire, stage sword fights, and even have fun games for the kids.
To join in the fun, here is everything you need to know about the Ribeauville Christmas Market in 2023.
Ultimate Ribeauville Christmas Market Guide
To help you make the most of the Marche de Noel Medieval (Medieval Christmas Market), this post is organized to include items like dates, times, what the market is like, a map, what to eat/drink, and other things to check out during a trip to Ribeauville.
Ribeauville Christmas Market 2023 Dates
Unlike the Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar, the Marche de Noel Ribeauville is only open for two weekends a year. Sadly, that makes it pretty crowded as it is both on a weekend and for a very limited timeframe.
This year, the Medieval Christmas Market in Ribeauville takes place on December 2-3 and December 9-10, 2023.
Ribeauville French Medieval Market 2023 Hours
They are only open on Saturday and Sunday with the hours on Saturday being 10 am-7 pm and Sunday from 10 am-6 pm.
What is it Like to Visit the Ribeauville Medieval Christmas Market?
From the time you enter into this village, you’re already entranced by the Medieval style. Even without the Christmas market happening, this Medieval town is full of stunning half-timbered colorful buildings, and you can’t miss the castle on the hill as the backdrop to the city.
But when it is Christmas market time, Ribeauville goes all out. It feels like everyone in the town gets involved. You’ll have people sword fighting in the middle of a square, a blacksmith at work, people on stilts, and others dressed as if they were at a Renaissance fair…only at Christmas instead of in the summer.
You’ll even perchance spot camels, geese, minstrels, and even people doing Medieval dances.
Now, while many other Christmas markets in cities have specific squares that have markets around the city, the main source of the Medieval Christmas market is along the Grand Rue.
Everything happens right along the street. And you obviously can’t miss it, as this isn’t a large town.
So you can start around the Jardin de Ville and work your way up the Grand Rue during your time there, stopping at the various squares and spots along the way.
The places include (in order as you walk up Grand Rue): Fontaine du Vigneron, Place Gouraud, Places de la 1ere Armee, Cour de la Maison Jeanne d’Arc, Cour de la Médiathèque, Place de l’Hotel de Ville, Salle de la Tour des Bouchers, Cour du Grand Bailli, Place de la Sinne, Cour Sipp, Place du Bouc, and Place de la Republique.
Also along the way, you’ll spot beautiful decor hanging about the street, shops and buildings with decorations in their windows, and little chalets selling anything from wooden swords to delicious treats.
There are also fun games for kids and everyone to play and exciting activities for all!
I will point out that this market is one you’ll want to take your time visiting. You could honestly spend a whole day enjoying the live Medieval music, shows, displays, and games.
Some highlights to take note of to check out during your time at the Ribeauville Christmas Market include:
- Fontaine du Vigneron: Blacksmith forging demonstration
- Place Gouraud: Apple press, small petting zoo, and live music
- Place de la 1ere Armee: Games
- Cour de la Maison Jeanne d’Arc: La Caravane des Illuminés Avertis performances
- Cour de la Médiathèque: Games for children, wooden carousel, and circus workshop
- Place de l’Hotel de Ville: Wild boar roasting, witches, evening fire shows, and live music on select evenings
- Salle de la Tour des Bouchers: Expo on beekeeping
- Cour du Grand Bailli: Medieval games and workshops
- Cour Sipp: Games, knights sword fighting, and a cooperage workshop
- Place du Bouc: Games and stilts
- Place de la Republique: Wooden games and Medieval entertainment
Ribeauville Christmas Market Map
What to Eat at the Medieval Market
While you can certainly get some Alsatian Christmas market classics, there are some Medieval treats too. Here is what to eat at the Medieval Ribeauville Christmas Market.
- Tarte Flambee: This is definitely a staple of the Alsace Christmas markets. This is a flatbread with toppings like cheese, creme fraiche, ham, etc. However, the ones at this market have a thicker, chewier crust. It is so tasty.
- Wild Boar: You’ll likely even spot a wild boar roasting over an open fire. So wild boar is definitely on the menu here at the market. There is even the chance to try spit-roasted pork knuckle.
- Sausages: You’ll also spot several stands grilling up sausages over an open fire as well.
- Apple Bread: Delicious apple bread is also for sale at the markets here.
- Roasted Chestnuts: What Medieval market, especially a Christmas market, is complete without some roasted chestnuts? Enjoy these roasted delights as you crack each shell to get to the warm contents inside.
- Pain d’Epices: This famous gingerbread in the Alsace is definitely worth a try!
- Soup: You’ll even see a stand or two with soup simmering over a fire.
The best part is that all imported products are prohibited, meaning that you’ll be tasting authentic food from the area with locally sourced ingredients.
What to Drink at the Ribeauville Christmas Market
You need something to wash down the hearty Ribeauville Christmas Market food! Here is what to drink at the Christmas market.
- Apple Juice: There is even an old apple press in the middle of the market where you can get fresh pressed juice. It is so cool to watch how it was done back in the day, and you won’t taste fresher juice!
- Vin Chaud: Also known as mulled wine, gluwhein, etc. This hot spiced wine is definitely sold at the Christmas market in Ribeauville.
- Beer: You can get beer during your time exploring the Christmas market here as well!
Other Things to Do in Ribeauville
If you’re planning to stay in Ribeauville for a few days during the week to get an early start on the weekend Medieval market, here are some other great things to do in and around the town.
- Explore the Grand Rue: I highly recommend seeing this outside of the Christmas market, as you’ll have the chance to admire the Medieval architecture without the huge crowds. Here you can enjoy all the cute fountains, the Town Hall, and Butcher’s Tower.
- Wander around to the Medieval churches: Eglise Saint-Gregoire and Chapelle Sainte-Catherine are notable places to see.
- Walk around the lovely Jardin de Ville: This is a lovely park in the city with plenty of flowers and trees (obviously this is best visited in the spring or summer).
- Explore Medieval castle ruins: Chateau de Saint-Ulrich, Chateau du Girsberg, and Chateau du Haut-Ribeaupierre were built between the 11th-13th centuries and you can go for a hike to these if you’re ambitious (and don’t mind the cold and wind).
- Check out the casino: Feeling lucky? You can hit up the casino at Casino Barriere Ribeauville.
- Go wine tasting at Bott Freres: You are in the middle of the Alsace wine region, so why not stop by Bott Freres for a tasting? They also have guided tours in French, German, and English.
- Wine Tasting in Alsace: You’re along the Alsace Wine Route already, so why not explore other villages like Riquewihr, Kayersberg, etc. and go wine tasting? You can either book a private tour or a group tour from Strasbourg. You can also drive it, but be sure to drink responsibly and have a designated driver!
Where to Stay in Ribeauville
While you could visit Ribeauville as a day trip for the Medieval Christmas market, you can also stay here to get a head start on the market before the crowds gather in.
Here are some hotels to stay at during your trip to Ribeauville:
Hotel du Mouton: This 14th-century hotel is ready to welcome you with its cozy rooms, traditional restaurant, and charming decor.
Aux Trois Chateaux: Located at the end of the Ribeauville Christmas Market, you’ll enjoy a great place to stay after wandering around. This hotel also has a restaurant and spa.
Domain Jean Sipp: This winery also has rooms available for you to stay at during your visit to Ribeauville.
Getting to Ribeauville & Getting Around
Getting to Ribeauville isn’t as easy as flying into an airport or even hopping on a train. However, the easiest way to get to Ribeauville from far away is to either fly into Strasbourg, Basel/Mulhouse, Frankfurt, or even Paris and take the train to Colmar.
From Colmar, there is a bus you can hop on that goes to Ribeauville. The bus line is 68R016 and it is a little over 30 minutes to get from Place Scheurer Kestner in Colmar to Gare Routiere in Ribeauville.
During the Christmas markets, however, you can also take a day trip to Colmar via the Navettes de Noel, or the Christmas shuttle. This bus will take you around to the nearby villages like Kaysersberg, Riquewihr, Ribeauville, Eguisheim, Turckheim, Gunsbach, and Munster depending on the line you take.
To get to Ribeauville, you’ll take either line 1 or 2. Line 1 goes from Colmar to Kaysersberg, Riquehihr, and Ribeauville before going back to Colmar. Line 2 goes in reverse.
On Fridays, the shuttle departs every 2 hours, and on Saturday and Sunday, every 30 minutes.
If you choose to do this, be sure to get to the booth by the Colmar Gare early on to get your tickets, as these buses fill up quickly. It is €10 for the day. You will also get your schedule here too.
And for those who want to avoid all the guesswork and just want to go on their own schedule, you can rent a car in Colmar or Strasbourg and drive. Then you can get to Ribeauville when you want to and perhaps beat the crowds from the shuttles.
Once you’re in Ribeauville, it is a walkable city. It is a small town, and everything is located on the Grand Rue for the Medieval Market. So you can just walk along the Grand Rue and see everything.
Once you’re finished at the market, I recommend coming back down via the parallel streets as the Grand Rue can get very crowded.
Best Time to Visit the Ribeauville Medieval Market
Sadly, you cannot avoid the crowds here by simply visiting midweek and during the day. As this market only takes place on 2 weekends in December, you can only visit the market during that time.
As such, you’ll inevitably face some crowds. However, earlier in the day there are fewer people than in the evenings when everything is lit up. I would recommend coming when it opens on Saturday or Sunday morning.
That is why renting a car or even staying in Ribeauville can be helpful here.
But the crowds can be unbearable the later in the day you visit, so I recommend leaving as the sun goes down to avoid the complete mass of people everywhere.
Other Tips For Visiting the Medieval Christmas Market in Ribeauville
Here are some other tips for the perfect trip visiting the Ribeauville Alsace Christmas Market.
- Toilets: Luckily, there are toilets around the market at spots like the entrance near the bus stop/across from the Jardin de Ville, Place Gouraud, before and at the Place de l’Hotel de Ville, Cour du Grand Bailli, close to Place du Bouc, and Place de la Republique.
- Parking: There is also parking available around the city. You cannot drive or park on the Grand Rue, of course, but there are parking spaces at Jardin de Ville, Hohlegasse, Parking Piscine Carola, off Rue du 3 Decembre, in nearby Hunawihr, and handicapped parking at Ecole Rotenberg.
- Learn a little French: You’re in the heart of the Alsace, so you’re going to want to know a little French to order food and drinks, etc. I have a whole post about 17 useful French phrases to know. Even a little Bonjour/Bonsoir goes a long way!
- What to Wear: Definitely pack things like gloves, a hat or earmuffs, a scarf, warm socks, and water-resistant boots. Pair that with a warm jacket (like this one from The Northface), jeans, and a sweater and you’ll be good to go! It definitely is chilly during the holiday season in the Alsace.
- Check out the other Christmas markets: Be sure to stop by the markets in Strasbourg, Colmar, Obernai, Kaysersberg, and Riquewihr during your time here!
This is the ultimate guide for the Ribeaville Medieval Christmas Market! This is certainly the most unique market that I got to visit during my time exploring the best Alsace Christmas markets.
I hope you enjoy and get into the fun Medieval spirit!
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