Christmas markets and events in France

Published on November 28, 2013
  • Strasbourg Christmas market

    © Petit Futé

    Strasbourg Christmas market

    © Petit Futé

Christmas markets and events in France

Whether you are looking to shop for unique gifts for family and friends or just to relax during Christmas vacation, make no mistake that a visit to a Christmas market in France during the holidays is sure to be a memorable and festive one.

Between holiday markets, Christmas-themed shows and tours and educational workshops, you are sure to experience France’s festive holiday spirit no matter which region you visit. Here’s a guide to some of the must-visit Christmas markets taking place throughout France.  

Alsace

November 30th- December 31st, 2013

Strasbourg's Christmas Market (or "Christkindelsmärik") is the oldest market of its kind in France, with its origins tracable as far back as 1570. The range and variety of Christmas decorations is simply astounding, and is probably the most extensive in the country.

Strasbourg’s market offers a wide selection of Christmas trees (quality pines from the Vosges mountains), artisan products, toys, and plenty to eat and drink, from spiced vin chaud and to Bredeles (an Alsacian cookie.)

  • Christmas festivities in the Alsace region

Various dates and locations

While the aforementioned Strasbourg market is one of Alsace’s seven famed Christmas events, the entire region becomes illuminated during the holiday season. Between 7 individual "Lands of Christmas", Alsace brings the spirit of the holidays alive through walking tours, visits to monuments, concerts, and plenty of decorations complete with giant Christmas trees!

Aquitaine

November 29th- December 29th, 2013

The Gironde's largest and Bordeaux's best Christmas market is located at Allée de Tourny. Celebrating 17 years of success, this festive market has become a holiday tradition in the region of Bordeaux with over 150 exhibitors displaying original crafts, gourmet delicacies and unique gift ideas from around the world. This is a holiday experience for the whole family and includes live music, demonstrations and a visit from Santa Claus!

Auvergne

November 29th- December 29th, 2013

Berry Province

  • Bourges Christmas market

November 13th- 24th, 2013

Bourges' Christmas celebration can once again be found next to the city's cathedral, where chalets decorated with pine branches and twinkling lights create a festive and charming atmosphere.

Brittany

  • Rennes Christmas market (Ile-et-Vilaine)

November 23rd- December 24th, 2013

Almost 40 merchants will be present in Rennes this year selling handmade crafts and delicacies. You'll find all the local specialties, including food, jewelry, accessories, decorations and more.

Burgundy

December 1st- 31st, 2013

This year the tram was inaugurated in Dijon (the capital of Burgundy), with the second line opening on December 8th. This year’s festivities will have a tram theme- “Extramordinary Christmas”- throughout the month of December. There will be a large ice skating rink in the heart of the town at the Place de la Libération, chalets selling Christmas goodies, roundabouts for children and more.

Centre

  • Orléans Christmas market (Loiret)

December 4th- 29th, 2013

This year's Christmas markets in Orléans can be found three of its emblematic squares: the Places du Martroi, de la République and de la Loire.

Champagne-Ardenne

December 9-30, 2013

The Champagne region is rife with Christmas markets during the holiday season, but the largest can be found in Reims, the capital of Champagne. And where better to get in the spirit than at this renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site? The market consists of 135 chalets located around the city, with its main stretch on Place d’Erlon and a Ferris wheel at the Place de la Republique.

Franche-Comté

  • Christmas festivities in the Franche-Comté region

Various dates and locations

With authentic ski villages in the heart of the city of Belfort, Christmas light shows in Montbéliard and the 20th anniversary of Bensaçon’s magical holiday market, 2013 is sure to be a big year for Christmas festivities in  Franche-Comté. Other event highlights include Santa’s workshop in Jura, a Renaissance-themed area in Dole worthy of a Venetian painting, and much more. 

Île de France

Various dates throughout December

Paris is always picturesque, but the city really comes alive for visitors and resident alike around Christmas. Christmas trees are aplenty and the city features several Christmas markets such as on the Champs-Elysées and at La Défense, with most starting between late November and early December. The holidays are an ideal time to visit the capital and take in the sites that the city has to offer.

Languedoc-Roussillon

November 30th- December 28th, 2013

For the past ten years, the town of Montpellier has celebrated Christmas with a huge Christmas market on the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. Over one hundred local artisans invite you to discover their regional produce and crafts. 

Limousin

  • Limoges Christmas market (Haute-Vienne)

December 13th- 19th, 2013

Lorraine

November 24th- December 30th, 2013

Midi-Pyrénées

December 1st- 31st, 2013

With original gift ideas (from local woodcrafts to regional specialities) and a wide selection of toys, pottery, jewellery, leather goods and more, there’s something for everyone at  Toulouse's market.

While browsing the stalls, visitors can sample traditional grilled chestnuts accompanied by warm drinks and mulled wine while admiring the twinkling decorations and illuminations at the famous Place du Capitole.

Nord Pas de Calais

  • Lille Christmas Market (Nord)

November 20th- December 30th, 2013

The month-long Christmas Market in Lille is the largest in Northern France and has a tradition with centuries of history behind it.

Lille turns into a true holiday playground, complete with plenty of sparkling Christmas lights. The Place Rihour and Grand Place are packed with chalets where decorations, local specialties and international crafts can be found. You can even go for a ride on a Ferris wheel and take in views of the market’s 18-meter high Christmas tree.

Normandy

December 1st- 30th, 2013

Pays de la Loire

  • Nantes Christmas market (Loire-Atlantique)

November 23rd- December 24th, 2013

As the largest market in Western France,  Nantes' Christmas market will welcome over 120 exhibitors this year and offer visitors innumerable gift ideas for kids and adults.

Picardy

  • Amiens Christmas market (Somme)

November 22nd- December 29th, 2013

Poitou-Charentes

  • Poitiers Christmas market

December 1st- 31st, 2013

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

November 16th- December 31st, 2013

The Christmas market will take place Place Gabriel Péri, at the bottom of the famous Canebière Boulevard. Over thirty artisans will be selling unique products, from divine scented soaps to ceramic arts and wooden toys: there are plenty of presents to be found at Marseille’s Christmas market.

  • Foire aux Santons, Marseille

November 17 to December 31

The oldest Christmas figurine fair, which dates back to 1803, is an occasion for more than thirty Santonniers (artisans who create these terracotta nativity scene figurines) to showcase their work. The fair takes place daily from 9 a.m. until 7p.m. in the Place Général de Gaulle.

November 30th, 2013- January 1st, 2014

With entertainment, Christmas chalets and even a champagne and oyster bar, there will be plenty of festive fun to be had this year at Nice's Place Messéna!

Rhône-Alpes

Lyon Christmas market

November 25th- December 24th, 2013

In Lyon, a city renowned for its traditions, you'll find not one but two Christmas markets! The first is the Croix Rousse market, Lyon's only covered market where a living Christmas farm will delight parents and children. And then there's the market at Place Carnot, whose highly original Christmas huts and lighting create a fairy-tale setting.


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