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Jingle all the Way to a Joyeux Noel in France
As you head towards the Christmas season there are many traditions that you will uphold without even thinking twice such as; a customary conifer, delicately wrapped presents and copious amounts of mulled wine. Before you begin to adorn your home with your eclectic assortment of decorations that you’ve accumulated over the years along with unknown Christmas themed ornaments that your children have made, consider adding a new tradition to your Christmas list. Christmas Markets are growing in popularity and are becoming an essential festive event throughout Europe in particular France.
Known as Marchés de Noël, Christmas Markets are the perfect winter break or an excuse to explore a new region near your home in France. Wrap up warm, take a deep breath in and soak up the atmosphere that each Market has to offer, unique shopping opportunities, festive food that is filled with flavour and let’s not forget replenishing your wine collection for the Christmas season.
Although most French towns and cities host a Christmas Market during this festive period, we have found a selection of the most popular Markets this Christmas.
Strasbourg, Capital of Christmas
Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and largest Christmas Markets in France, featuring an enchanting backdrop, the Market sits in front of the famous Strasbourg Cathedral. Attracting over 2 million visitors each year you can spread your time between strolling around the endless chalets, gazing up at the spectacular tree that sits proud in Place Kléber and elegantly skating around the Place du Château. During Advent the capital of Alsace awakens its charms as the cobbled streets are transformed to create their Yuletide party that dates back to 1570. Take home some traditional ‘bredele’ (biscuits) to decorate your tree before you can devour the tasty treats come Christmas day.
Reims Christmas Market
Located in the historical city of Reims, known as the Champagne region of France, the magical village at the Place d’Erion comes alive with 125 chalets offering you seasonal gifts, decorations and festive delicacies. Enjoy all that the Christmas Market has to offer including street artists, magicians, jugglers and singers. Reims also embraces its rich noble heritage as the coronation place of French kings as well as being reported to have held the first French Christmas celebration in 496, where three thousand warriors were baptised on Christmas day. To add some sparkle to your celebrations you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage sites that link these royal occasions or fuel your festivities by purchasing genuine Champagne from local makers G.H Mumm Champagne House.
Lille Christmas Market
The Place Rihour is transformed into a winter wonderland and invites over 80 wooden chalets to bring you gifts and goodies to complete your authentic market experience. With excellent links to the Eurostar as well as a fun fair and regular visits from Father Christmas, the Lille Christmas Market is fun for the whole family. Enjoy some Christmas shopping in the 3900 shops that are spread throughout the city as you wait your turn on the giant Ferris wheel that takes over the main square. Take advantage of the views from the 50 meter high Big Wheel as you gaze across the artistic and historic city. Just an hour away from London, the city of Lille has something for every taste and budget and a trip to its perfectly formed Market will ignite your Christmas spirit.
Christmas Market of Mulhouse
The Mulhouse Christmas Market is the most colourful and vibrant in our list, as the home of the textile industry in Alsace, Mulhouse plays tribute to its proud heritage and creates the most extravagant Christmas fabrics to mark the occasion. Located in Place de la Réunion near the church of Saint-Etienne the streets, huts and town centre and all beautifully decorated with this luxurious material. The atmosphere here embodies the overall feel that the town exudes throughout the festive period. Tantalise your taste buds with culinary specialities of foie gras, gingerbread and bredeles. Take a walk underneath the fairy lights that lead you through the streets as you explore this historic town.
Nice Christmas Market
A Christmas village is held every day throughout December in the central square of Nice, Place Massena. Festivities include an enchanted forest, Christmas parade and concerts all enjoyed in a wintery setting that sets the tone for your whole visit. Ideal for the whole family the Market also presents breath-taking views of the French Riviera on the Big Wheel, a large inviting ice-skating rink and a children’s play area in the Albert 1er gardens. Decked with pine trees and lightly dusted with artificial snow the Market offers a variety of stalls that sell handcrafted gifts, local cuisine and classic mulled wine. During your time in Nice you can also explore the narrow streets, Baroque churches and historical buildings in the old town.
Christmas Markets can be enjoyed with friends, family or as a romantic weekend on your lead up to your favourite time of year. Your home in France invites you to be seduced by your local Christmas Market while you discover a new love for Christmas during each visit. And if you're able to travel to France, why not check Red Letter Days Stunning Christmas treats and packages.
We say, “Joyeux Noël” as you embrace your new tradition of exploring France’s best Christmas Markets.