10 Best Christmas Markets in France You Must Visit!

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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 2019.

1. Tuileries Garden Christmas Market, Paris

Image source: wikimedia.org

Previously known as the Champs-Elysées Christmas market, it was cancelled in 2017 and was majorly missed by festive revellers. But, in 2018 the Christmas market was back with a new name - the Magic of Christmas market and found a new location - the Tuileries gardens that are in front of the Louvre. Paris needs no reason to visit, but the Christmas markets here are certainly good. Being one of the best Christmas markets in Paris,  the Tuileries garden Christmas market has ice skating rinks, pop-up eateries serving oysters and champagne, one hundred cottages, and nightly appearances of Pre Noël that are big draws.

When: 15th November 2019 to 5th January 2020

Address: Place de la Concorde, 75001 Paris, France

Timings: 7:30 am to 7:30 pm (These are Tuileries Garden operational hours. Christmas Market hours may differ.)

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 29th November and more than 80 exhibitors will set out their goods in the lovely wooden chalets that entice shoppers to browse and buy in a beautiful setting, until 30th 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. The Arras Christmas Market is safe to be called a foodie’s paradise. Happiness here lies in the Beauvais chocolate tuiles and Amiens macaroons! The locally made Angora sweaters are gorgeous too. 

When: 29th November to 30th December 2019

Address: Grand'Place, 62000 Arras, France

Timings: From Monday to Thursday: 12 - 7.30 pm

Friday: 12 - 9 pm

Saturday: 10am - 9 pm

Sunday: 10am - 7.30 pm

(December 24th: 12 - 17pm; closed on December 25th)

3. Nice Christmas Market

media_gallery-2018-11-20-9-Nice_Christmas_Market_France_d43b32034cb19ad7e306b50ced8a6bc6.jpgImage Source: maxpixel.net

With just 60 chalets, the Nice Christmas Market may seem to be smaller, compared to other huge Christmas markets in France. But, sporting many rides and games, including a giant Ferris Wheel and an ice skating rink, the Nice Christmas Market does not fall short of entertainment. With a “tasting area”, it is a paradise for foodies. Kids will have a great time thanks to Santa being present in his Christmas workshop throughout the market hours.

When: 6th December 2019 to 5th January 2020

Address: 2-16 Avenue de Verdun, 06000 Nice, France

Time: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm 

4. Lille Christmas Market

Image source: wikimedia.org  

Our list of 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 surrounds the market location, making for the perfect stroll spot, post an exhaustive shopping session. The Grand Place for strolls and the Flemish-Renaissance Vieille Bourse for a ride on the 164 feet-high Ferris wheel, as you marvel at the snow-covered miniature village at its foot, is indeed an experience one of its kind.

When: 22nd November to 29th December 2019 (closed on 25th December)

Address: Place Rihour, 59000 LILLE

Timings: Monday to Thursday: 11 am to 8 pm

Friday: 11 am to 9 pm

Saturday: 10 am to 10 pm

Sunday: 10 am to 8 pm

(The market will be closed at 6 pm on Monday 24th December and Sunday 30th December.)

5. Amiens Christmas Market

Home to France’s largest Gothic cathedral (built 1220 to 1288), come Christmas and the Amiens is 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. Sporting ‘A Winter Wonderland’ theme, every 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 Lumiere show every evening at 7.00 pm on the walls of the magnificent gothic Notre Dame cathedral, this one is not to miss.

When: 25th November to 30th December 2019 (Closed on 25th December)

Address: Rue de Noyon, Amiens

Timings: Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday: 10:30 am to 07:30 pm

Monday: 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am to 9:00 pm

(Early closing on 25th & 30th December.)

6. Caen Christmas Market

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: 30th November to 31st December 2019

Address: The Place Saint-Sauveur, Caen

Timings: Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday: 11:30 am to 7:30 pm

Monday: 2:00 pm to 7:30 pm

 

Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am to 9:00 pm

7. Reims Christmas Market

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, the Reims Christmas market is definitely one of the best Christmas markets in France. The market will be 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 145 little wooden chalets will be selling local crafts, as well as delicacies from the region. Of course, expect a lot of champagne! 

When: 22nd November to 29th December 2019

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

Timings: Monday: 02:00 pm - 08:00 pm

Tuesday to Thursday & Sunday:  11:00 am - 08:00 pm

Friday and Saturday: 11:00 am - 09:00 pm

8. Mulhouse Christmas Market

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: 22nd November to 29th December 2019

Address: Place de la Réunion, 68100 Mulhouse

Time: Monday to Thursday & Sunday: 10:00 am to 08:00 pm

Friday and Saturday: 10:00 am to 09:00 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 trades people 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: November to December

Address: The Place Rihour. Marseille

Time: 10:30 am to 07:30 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: 22nd November to 30th December 2019

Address: Spread throughout the city

Time: 11:00 am to 08:00 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, Besancon, Dijon, Nancy, Épinal. Visit any of these Christmas markets in France and have a Merry Christmas!

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