Christmas in France: Selestat, home to the Christmas tree
Updated: Dec 27, 2020
500 years to be celebrated in 2021! Selestat, a small town located halfway between Strasbourg and Colmar in France's eastern region of Alsace, is recognized as the home to Christmas trees. With a good reason. A document preserved in the UNESCO-listed "Humanist Library" ("Bibliothèque Humaniste") contains the first written mention of a Christmas tree. The document dates back to 1521. It mentions that Selestat city council was paying forest wardens to protect trees. They were cut by locals to decorate their home in winter days.
To commemorate this date, Selestat decorates every year its charming old town with Christmas Trees. An exhibition is also organized every December in St Georges Church. In the beautiful gothic church nave, trees are on display. They are suspended from the ceiling according to tradition. Decorated in different styles, the various trees tell all about the evolution of the Christmas Tree. In 2021, an even more exceptional event will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the tree...
Selestat is easy to reach from Strasbourg by train with the ride taking only 20 to 30 minutes. For more information about Selestat click here. See also the Christmas lighting in Alsace's capital city Strasbourg here.