Print Posted By Lost in France on 13 Nov 2010 in Travel to France - France Travel Guides

France's Christmas Markets 2010

Alsace - The region that gave rise to many of Europe's Christmas traditions

AlsaceTo encourage bah-humbugs into the spirit of Christmas, little compares with a visit to Alsace. More than 100 twinkling open-air Christmas markets are held throughout the region during Advent, rekindling the magic of Christmas in even the most cheerless of Scrooges.

Alsace's Christmas markets are a gourmet's dream: bedecked stalls heave under the weight of provincial specialities including spiced local sausages; sauerkraut; fois gras; eau de vie; mulled wine; spiced breads; Bredele (traditional spiced biscuits); the famous Yule log; plus locally brewed beer and the region's celebrated wines. It was where Christmas trees were first taken into people's homes and also where the Christmas bauble was invented.

The Christmas market in Strasbourg, the region's capital, is known as the Christkindelsmarik, pictured. It is the oldest in Europe and dates from 1570. Throughout the advent period the pedestrianised streets around the cathedral are abuzz, and music fills the air from the live concerts of ‘The Noelies', a not-to-be-missed musical attraction. (Nov 27th -Dec 31st ).

Aquitaine - Foie gras and traditional gastronomy at its best

It just wouldn't be Christmas in France without foie gras. Right across the region of Aquitaine this winter you'll find Christmas markets with a range of Capon (chicken fed with corn), duck, goose and their foie gras (duck or goose liver). A traditional French gastronomic Christmas is guaranteed! Wednesday and Saturday mornings in Périgeux from November until March, Friday mornings in Ribérac from November until March and Thursday mornings in Saint Atsier from December until April.

Auvergne - Christmas markets for children

The Christmas Market in Clermont-Ferrand, the main city of the Auvergne region, sees many small illuminated chalets built on the Place de la Victoire, selling a wide range of gifts, local arts and crafts, wines and local foods. A daily entertainment program features music and shows dedicated to children. Children may also meet ‘Père Noël' (Santa Claus) in his house.

Brittany - Turn up the heat in Rennes

Les Arts du Feu. Stuck for present ideas? This specialist market brings together the talents of some fifty artists that work with fire - whether they use clay, metal or glass. Chat with the artists themselves and warm up with a mulled cider or warming crêpe. (Dec 9th -12th ).

Rennes' Christmas craft fair is a hive of creativity and a great place for some inspired Christmas shopping. Expect carefully crafted clothes and leather goods, table and homeware, unique artwork, pottery and jewellery for plenty of present inspiration. (Nov 28th - Dec 24th ).

Burgundy - A Christmas market in the wine cellars & the Winter Solstice

Back for its 22 nd year, the Christmas Market in Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, near Auxerre, brings together the best food producers in Burgundy, craftsmen, artists, florists and enjoy a meal in a restaurant with traditional Burgundian food. (18th /19th / 23rd & 24th Dec).

In Saint-Leger-sous-Beuvray, celebrate the Winter solstice at the Bibracte Museum, formerly the capital of Gaulle and now a leading archaeological park and museum. Many exhibitors, craftsmen, producers and story tellers offering creations, tasting and high-quality products for Christmas present ideas. (Dec 12th ).

Champagne-Ardenne - Gourmet treats and champagne, of course!

ChampagneLess than 3 hours from London by train, or a short drive from Calais, the region is ideal for a winter break and there's something for everyone to enjoy at the Christmas market in Reims. Held in the tree-lined pedestrian streets in the city centre, all beautifully illuminated and decorated, more than 125 chalets offer a fantastic range of gourmet products, arts & crafts and festive suggestions. There are also visits from Santa and a range of other activities and events for visitors to enjoy. (Nov 24 th -Dec 24 th ).

Languedoc-Roussillon - ‘Bon Nadal i Feliç any Nou' in Carcassonne & Perpignan

LanguedocBon Nadal i Feliç any Nou - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in Catalan! There is a whole program to share Christmas as a family in Perpignan. The Christmas markets open on December 3rd , so indulge with regional purchases then jump on the ice rink at the foot of the Castillet, the ancient gateway to this wonderful southern city.

The beautiful city of Carcassonne offers sensational attractions, concerts, street performances and magical scenery lights in the city center and the medieval castle this Christmastide. Find the Christmas market on the Place Carnot, pictured. (Dec 4th -31st ).

Midi-Pyrénées - a feast for the eyes and taste-buds in Toulouse

PyreneesThe Christmas market in Toulouse is held on the famous Place du Capitole, in the very heart of the city. While browsing the stalls, visitors can also admire the twinkling decorations of this wonderful site and marvel at the fairy like decorations in the Henri IV courtyard. Father Christmas can also be found among the chalets. But watch out, Trolls are rumoured to be invading the market this year! (Dec 3 rd -28 th ).

Nord-Pas de Calais - Traditional markets just across the Channel

With more than 70 exhibitors, visitors to Arras can explore a Christmas market where you can buy everything you could possibly need for Christmas, including decorations, jewellery, accessories, crafts, ethnic gifts, food and drink. After touring the market, take to the ice on the skating rink. (Nov 26th -24th Dec).

In Lille the 83 wooden chalets of the Christmas market are open every day from 24th November to 30th December. They offer Christmas decorations and festive food, as well as arts and crafts from Russia, Canada and Lithuania. A Ferris Wheel turns on the main square, which is transformed into a Winter Wonderland, dominated by an 18-meter high Christmas tree.

Normandy - Christmas markets in historical locations

Enjoy the traditional Christmas market in Rouen. Festive events will be taking place on the place du Vieux Marché, the Old Market Square, where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake. If you're an ice-skating fan, the outdoor rink is not to be missed! (Nov 27th -Jan 3rd ).

With exhibitions, Christmas concerts, activities, street entertainment, Christmas markets and fireworks, Falaise is enchanted in December! Don't forget the authentic, lively Christmas market on December 12th. With horse and cart rides, pony rides for kids and food stalls. (Dec 1st - 31st ).

Picardy - Winter Sports fun in Northern France

Christmas in Picardy is a magical occasion to spend time with your family in a beautiful part of France. Only a few hours' drive from the UK, you can discover the many Christmas markets Picardy has to offer. The St Quentin market has 47 different stalls selling the creations of craftsmen as well as a skating rink, toboggan run and cross-country ski trail offering fun for young and old alike.

Amiens, the capital city of Picardy, glows with warmth and spirit during the Festive season for five weeks of the year. 120 stalls on offer in the pedestrian area, as well as an ice-skating rink, a merry-go-round and plenty of "vin chaud.

Provence-Alpes-Côtes d'Azur - Traditional Provencal Nativity Scenes

In the heart of the castled city of Avignon, a Christmas market featuring some fifty craft workers and merchants, who offer their wares from the small chalets on the Place de l'Horloge; nativity figurines, gifts, regional products and everything you need to prepare for the Christmas holidays! A vast Provencal Nativity scene is lovingly created in the lobby of Avignon Town Hall, prepared by a master figurine maker and showing all the characters and trades from a characteristic Provencal village - delight for all ages ! (Nov 27th - Jan 2nd ).

With Provencal traditions like the descent of the shepherds, Christmas festivities light up the town of Allauch throughout December. Soaking up the atmosphere, thousands of visitors come to Allauch, a Provençal town situated to the east of Marseille, to discover this Christmas market. Discover craftsmen and producers, from all over Provence, in the Christmas market of Allauch. (Dec 11th - 12th ).

Rhône-Alpes - Hearty southern snacks to keep the shoppers warm

In Lyon, you'll find a market whose magical atmosphere makes Christmas even more enchanting. Christmas music and carols are performed to make the occasion extra special with seasonal decorations and a special atmosphere, brightly painted wooden chalets, tinsel, fairy lights, smells of mulled wine and aligot (a potato dish with garlic and cheese), cheesy tartiflette, crêpes & chocolates.(Nov 30th - Dec 24th ).

Chambery invites you to discover the Christmas market with farm animals, craftsmen and local producers. Specialities await such as Chardons (small coloured chocolate sweets with a liqueur centre), the Savoyard sweet and the Saint-Genix cake (made with little red sugared almonds). Wash them down with well-known wines from Savoy and other local drinks: the "Chambéryzette (dry Vermouth with strawberry liquor), the "Génépi à l'ancienne and le "Père la Rocaille Vulnéria (liquors). For the children, try the famous original syrups of Dolin and Routin.

More Info

Source: ATOUT FRANCE - France Tourism Development Agency. For more information visit

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