10 Best Christmas Markets in France You Must Visit!

Opening in late November and continuing until a few days after the New Year, Christmas markets in France are one charming experience. Dressed warmly, sipping on some mulled wine as you enjoy the small joys of shopping for chocolates, caramels, and Christmas souvenirs, you will not want the night to cease!

The Christmas markets or les marchés de Noël (in French) are indeed one of the best places to go and stoke that merry glow. With a tradition dating back to roughly 1570, the Christmas markets started in Alsace and continue to illuminate large cities and small villages. While holiday markets have become increasingly popular worldwide as a tourist attraction, the Christmas markets in France are primarily geared to locals who cherish the festive tradition. So, we bring to you the best of Christmas markets in France 2016.

1. Paris Christmas Market

  

Image source: wikimedia.org

Paris needs no reason to visit, but the Christmas markets here are certainly good. Lining the concourse between the Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde, in Paris’ Village de Noël des Champs-Élysées, are 150 market stalls. Being one of the best Christmas markets in Paris 2016, there are ice skating rinks, pop-up eateries serving oysters and champagne, and nightly appearances of Pre Noël that are big draws.

When: 17th November to 27th December

Address: 140-142 Avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris, France

Timings: 11 pm to 8 pm  

Visit France itinerary 2 Weeks for an unforgettable Travel experience  

2. Arras Christmas Market

  

Image source: flickr.com/OliBac  

Enter a magical winter wonderland, as the whole square is transformed into one enchanting space! Come 30th November and more than 80 exhibitors set out their goods in the lovely wooden chalets that entice shoppers to browse and buy in a beautiful setting, until 24 December. You are ought to feel like a royal with red carpets laid for visitors to walk on. While there, let the delicious cooking smells, musical events, workshops, and twinkling lights take over you. Safe to call a foodie’s paradise. Happiness here lies in the Beauvais chocolate tuiles and Amiens macaroons! The locally made Angora sweaters are gorgeous too. 

When: 27th November to 30th December 

Address: Grand'Place, 62000 Arras, France

Timings: 10 am to 9 pm 

3. Provence Christmas Market

  

Image source: flickr.com/Ludovic Lubeigt

Provence does have quite a few Christmas markets, however, the one at Avignon is the most gorgeous one. With the carousel decked like a jewel box, the market will certainly enthrall you. What to expect here? Roughly 60 stalls, an elaborate nativity scene, and countless street entertainers! This is your chance to get the best local feel, as most of the people roaming the streets and enjoying the holiday festivities are locals. A visit here is incomplete without tasting the regional specialties of the traditional 13 desserts of the Provenal-style Christmas meal.

When: 3rd December 2016 to 7th January 2017

Address: Place de l’Horloge, Provence

Timings: 10 am to 9 pm 

4. Lille Christmas Market

  

Image source: wikimedia.org  

Our Christmas markets in France is incomplete without mentioning the Lille Christmas market. Witness the exuberance of more than 80 colorful stalls selling local arts, crafts and regional food specialties such as Maroilles cheese, chicory pté, macaroons and babeluttes (soft caramels)! Marvelous architecture surround the market location, making for the perfect stroll spots post an exhaustive shopping session. The Grand Place for strolls and the Flemish-Renaissance Vieille Bourse for a ride on the 164ft-high Ferris wheel, as you marvel at the snow-covered miniature village at its foot, is indeed an experience one of its kind.

When: 18th December to 30th December 2016

Address: Le Nouveau Sicle, 17 Place Pierre Mends France, 59800 Lille

Timings: 11 am to 8 pm 

5. Amiens Christmas Market

 

Image source: wikipedia.org

Home to France’s largest Gothic cathedral (built 1220 to 1288), come Christmas and Amiens in beautifully lit until New Years’.  One of the largest in northern France the Christmas market is famed locally for the delightful craft goods and the most wonderful and tasty sweets such as Beauvais chocolate tuiles and Amiens macaroons. Having a 'Scents of Winter' theme this year, the market is eagerly looked forward to. Take home some local Maroilles cheeses, ptés, smoked and potted eel, shrimp, duck and trout, praline and nougat mousse as well as crystal, glass, weavings, soaps and other beauty products along with warm memories! With the free son et lumire show every evening 7.00 pm on the walls of the magnificent gothic Notre Dame cathedral this is one not to miss.

When: 25th November to 31st December 2016

Address: Rue de Noyon, Amiens

Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm 

Also check out:

Best Christmas markets in Italy

Best Christmas markets in Britain

Best Christmas markets in Belgium

6. Caen Christmas Market

  

Image source: wikipedia.org

As you wander through this magical market, you will spectate how international stalls fill the air with the smell of pain d'epices and warm wine. Your Christmas stocking is ought to fill here, with everything from foie gras to nativity figurines. The Falaise with its castle where William the Conqueror was born (December 14th), is another good Christmas market in the same area. 

When: 26th November to 28th December

Address: The Place Saint-Sauveur, Caen

Timings: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm 

7. Reims Christmas Market

  

Image source: wikipedia.org

If you want to experience the best of pure yuletide joy and Christmas cheer, this is the place. Located in the Champagne region of France, this market is definitely one of the best Christmas markets in France. The market is abuzz with lively winter sports at the dry ski slope and street performances from carollers, jazz bands, jugglers and organ grinders; yes, all things Christmasy! If you are a shopaholic, rejoice, as 135 little wooden chalets will be selling local crafts, as well as delicacies from the region. Of course, expect a lot of champagne! 

When:20th November to 3rd January

Address: Place d’Erlon, rue Condorcet, rue Marx Dormoy and rue Théodore Dubois

Timings: 11 am to 8 pm 

8. Mulhouse

 

Image source: wikipedia.org

Popular as a textile town, Mulhouse’s Christmas market is popular in its own way. Featuring half-timbered stalls offering high-quality products, exceptional fabric, and fine foods, the market is set in the heart of the historic center. You will get to experience here regional delicacies from the Alsace and the scent of cinnamon and mulled wine combined with the magical illuminations make this a shopping pleasure. The opening of the City Hall illuminated with to let the Christmas troubadours tell the most stories about the nativity, is especially why Mulhouse is on this list!

When: Dates for 2016 to be confirmed yet

Address: Place de la Réunion, 68100 Mulhouse

Time: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm 

9. Marseille Christmas Market

As you explore the Marseille Christmas market which is popular for the Foire aux Santons - a celebration of santons (little saints), hand-painted and made of wood or clay, you are in for the time of your life. Most of the things here are a representation of the Nativity. As time evolved the array of figurines expanded to include traditional tradespeople and characters such as bakers and boules players. What is most appealing, however of this market is master santonniers coming to the Foire aux Santons to display and sell their handiwork.

When: 17th November to 31st December

Address: The Place Rihour. Marseille

Time: 10.30 am to 7.30 pm 

10. Strasbourg Christmas Market

  

Image source: flickr.com/Anna & Michal  

Last but the least, the gem of all the French Christmas Markets and the oldest one- The Strasbourg Christmas market. Tourists from all over the world come to experience this long-driven tradition. Also, considered to be the best European Christmas market or Christkindelsmärik, there are about 300 stands, a huge Christmas tree, and Alsatian food specialties to delight you. The Place de la Cathédrale in the medieval old town neighborhood is where the main happenings take place. But the market spills over to other locations throughout the city. This literally is "the place to go”!

When: 24th November to 24th December

Address: Spread throughout the city

Time: 10.30 am to 9 pm 

While the above are the best ones, it would be unfair to not mention some other gorgeous ones in the North-East like Guebwiller, Riquewihr, Ribeauvillé, Saverne, Wissembourg, Besanon, Dijon, Nancy, Épinal. Promising you a Merry Christmas! 

Featured image source: pixabay.com

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
SEEMA NANDE SEEMA NANDE

A deep-dyed Piscean, Seema is a dreamer. This extends to the fact that she is seldom in another world of her's or dreaming of the place she would rather be. A wild-child at heart and a keen observer otherwise, Seema's free-spirited psyche is eternally quenching for new experiences. There is no poison for her as restorative as Life, she is the one who will give you the cliched 'I-am-high-on-life', should you offer her a drink. She gets hungover on the feel of a new place, food and conversations with strangers! All this adding to the way she feels and writes!

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