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

Special events in France this festive season

Aspe Valley, Pyrénees - Snuggle up in an Igloo

Aspe Valley IglooCelebrate New Year 2011 in an igloo! With family or friends, come and enjoy an extraordinary adventure by spending a night in an igloo that you have built yourself. Throughout your stay in the mountains, your guide will lead you to the heart of the Pyrenees National Park, in the Aspe valley. Together, set out on a snowshoe trek following animal tracks to discover the peace and magic of this magnificent snow- covered area. In the evening, you will share a New Year meal in the resort of Somport with a night walk leading to the Spanish border. Simply magical!

Epernay - Let the champagne flow!

Champagne of course goes hand in hand with Christmas celebrations and the Champagne-Ardenne region itself sparkles during the festive season, with an enticing calendar of winter fairs, festivals, Christmas markets, concerts and exhibitions to delight the visitor. Now in its 11 th year, Epernay's annual Christmas festival explodes in a riot of lights, colours and tastes. Most of the festivities centre around the famous ‘Avenue de Champagne', housing the worlds' most prestigious champagne producers. During the three day festival, Epernay is ‘dressed in lights' with special champagne tastings offered by the grand champagne houses, free tasting sessions from top chefs and a parade of vintage cars. (Dec 10th -12th ).

Lamballe, Brittany - Get involved in Santa's Workshop

The magic of Christmas comes to the national stud at Lamballe as stables are transformed into stalls selling skilfully created crafts or locally produced specialities. Meet St-Nicolas with his donkeys, ride on jingling sleighs and play with the elves. Alternatively, create your own special gift in the creative workshops open to all. Father Christmas will be there, of course - and you might just get a big surprise when he arrives! (10th -12th Dec).

Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais - Santa as you've never seen him !

Lille santaFather Christmas and his elves will descend the 76-metre-high belfry of the Chamber of Commerce on Saturday December 18th at around 5 pm, accompanied by a choir, glittering lights and artificial snow.

Easily accessible from Calais and the Eurostar from London, Lille is the ideal destination for a weekend en France. The city boasts beautiful Flemish architecture and a huge selection of French and Flemish beers, many of which you'll struggle to find elsewhere.

Lyon, Rhône-Alpes - A Festival of Lights in Lyon

La Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights) in Lyon is a tradition dating back to 1852. Each 8th December, the people of Lyon have put thousands of tiny candles on their window sills and balconies. Even though the festival was originally a religious celebration the people have since shown such a keen interest in the event that it has now become firmly established as one of the city's traditions. Over the years the festival has continued to grow and the participation of famous designers is proof of how word has gradually spread abroad. The festival now takes place over 4 days, adding sparkle across the city and thus offering over 3 million visitors the opportunity of exploring a town magnified by light.

Les Gets, the Alps - Discovering Father Christmas' enchanted world

Make the magic of Christmas really come alive by discovering the world of Father Christmas as a family. Set in the heart of Les Gets' enchanted forest, he has set up his home surrounded by pixies, gnomes, elves and other fairytale creatures. Two weeks during which children of all ages are invited to open the gates of this enchanted kingdom and go on a magical-mystery tour spiced with anecdotes and littered with surprises. Families are welcomed at the entrance to the enchanted forest for their guided tour during which the elves reveal all the secrets of their mysterious life working for Father Christmas. (Dec 15th - 28th ). From Dec 18th - Dec 26th , select your accommodation at 8 days for the price of 7 and obtain a reduction of 10% on a 7-day ski-pass for Les Gets / Morzine (if you buy 4 ski-passes or more).See the website for details.

Les Menuires - I'm dreaming of a White Christmas

The resort of Les Menuires puts on its Christmas clothes. On offer is a magical evening full of surprises, a choreographed torchlight descent by the ESF ski instructors, the arrival of Father Christmas and gifts for the well behaved children. The evening finishes with a firework show with traditional mulled wine and hot chocolate.

"Christmas bauble short stays from Dec 18th - 24th . From 147€ per person. To allow those with only 3 days available to discover the magic of Christmas in a ski resort. This price includes: 3 nights' accommodation in a studio + 3 days ski pass for Les Menuires/Saint Martin de Belleville (160 km of slopes).

Normandy - Towns bathed in Christmas lights

Normandy lightsFrom November 28th to January 15th , visit the Illuminations of the Mont Saint Michel. Situated in the middle of a bay, the Mont Saint-Michel welcomes nearly three and a half million people every year. This Christmas be in awe, and see the magical town lit up from 6pm every evening.

La Plagne, the Alps - Open air clubbing

Alps clubbingNew Year's Eve at the foot of the ski slopes in Plagne-Bellecôte, pictured. A special multi-deck show with a white dance floor on the snow, a giant ice-bar and a live video show. New Year's Eve in an outdoor club! Dress code: extra warm jacket and boots! The night of the Red Pompom - December 31st.

A more private evening in the Igloo Village is another original idea to welcome in the New Year! Just a few minutes' walk from the resort, in a completely different and magical setting, the evening starts with an aperitif around a Norwegian log fire and continues with a bite to eat in the igloo. The food is sourced from well planned local produce (soup made from market vegetables, regional cheeses and ham, bread from the neighbouring village of Longefoy, Savoyard Wines, Génépi!) Those who wish can stay over and sleep under the warm duvets for a peaceful night! Meal + night in an igloo = 65€/pers.

Seine-et-Marne - Enchanted Castles

castlesThe enchantment at Vaux le Vicomte Château begins with snow falling on an alleyway of white pine trees in the main courtyard. Inside, marvel at the fairy tale decor of Christmas ornaments, chimneys, Christmas dinner tables, lights, Christmas trees and garlands. Also part of this year's particularly creative décor is an enchanted forest in the Grand Salon! Children's costumes can be rented during the visit to the château. Other twinkling surprises await in the Le Nôtre garden at nightfall.

Val Thorens, the Alps - Father Christmas and friends

Celebrate Christmas in Val Thorens in a truly magical atmosphere with the characters from famous fairy tales and Santa Claus himself. Among the numerous events, there's one unforgettable experience, a torchlight descent after dark followed by hot chocolate for the children and traditional mulled wine for their parents. Finally, on 24th of December families are invited to enjoy the splendid firework show on the snow.

More Info

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

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