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Visiting France

France’s oldest Christmas market opens…in Moscow

media A replica of the traditional Christmas market in Strasbourg has opened … City of Strasbourg

The French city of Strasbourg boasts the country’s oldest Christmas market, and has given itself the subtle title of “Capital of Christmas”. But you don’t need to be in France to visit the legendary market.

Strasbourg opened an outpost of the market at the foot of the Kremlin, with 20 wooden chalets offering traditional Christmas delights from Alsace.

The mayors of Strasbourg and Moscow, Roland Ries and Sergei Sobyanin, inaugurated the market on Christmas Eve.

Muscovites can sample traditional fare such as the tarte flambée, pastries and roasted chestnuts while shopping for Christmas decorations, gifts and Christmas trees from Alsace.

Children and the young-at-heart can enjoy a traditional merry-go-round and take photos with a French Santa Claus and its Russian equivalent, Ded Moroz.

“It’s like a fairy tale! It feels just like New Year,” 21-year old Darina Ivanova told news agency AFP while waiting for roasted chestnuts at 200 roubles a packet [five euros].

The market is part of a push to lure more Russian tourists to Strasbourg. Parts of the city’s website have been translated into Russian.

France is enjoying an exceptionally warm Christmas this year, with temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius above average.

On Christmas day, the top temperature expected at the original market in Strasbourg is 16 degrees.

But the temperature at the Moscow outpost should be more authentic for Christmas: -11 degrees.

The market will be opened until 7th January, the date of Orthodox Christmas.

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