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Top French Christmas Markets for this Christmas in France
When it comes to Christmas Markets in Europe, France has something to say. From late November, the run-up to Christmas sees town squares all over France filled with festively decorated French Christmas Markets selling handcrafted goods and delicious food. Also, the best Christmas Markets in France are the perfect places to learn about the French Christmas traditions during your Christmas in France.
If you’re looking for Christmas Markets to visit during your Christmas holiday in France, this post is for you. Here, travel experts and friends bring us the most traditional, prettiest, and most unique Christmas Markets in France to add to your list.
NB. All these French Christmas Markets can be easily visited during a day trip or weekend getaway from Paris by train. Check out our France by Train guide to learn how to travel around France by train.
By Elisa from World in Paris
The French capital is one of the best places to visit in France in the winter. Among all the Christmas Markets in Paris, the Tuileries Christmas Market is our favorite one. This market is located in one of the side alleys of the historic Tuileries Gardens, the oldest garden in the French capital. It is a quite new market, only two years old, born to replace the Champs Elysées Christmas Market.
The Tuileries Christmas Market is one of the biggest markets in the city. It has around 100 wooden stalls, with handicrafts, food, drinks, and other beautiful products, perfect for a Christmas gift. The market is beautifully adorned with Christmas lights and decoration and there’s also a 20-meter Christmas tree.
The Tuileries Christmas Market is a cool place to hang around for an hour or two, perhaps after your visit to the Louvre Museum. Apart from shopping and eating, there are many activities for kids and adults: an ice skating rink, fair games and rides, a Ferris wheel and free activities for children.
When: November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Where to sleep: check out this beautiful selection of hotels in Paris
Strasbourg (Grand Est)
By Brianna from Curious Travel Bug
Strasbourg Christmas market is a must-visit if you are traveling to France in winter. Located in France’s Alsace region, the Strasbourg Christmas Market takes over the whole old town region of the city. As Strasbourg sits on the border with Germany, some of the German traditions of Christmas have become part of Strasbourg’s culture. There is s huge Christmas tree, many lights, and lots of Christmas decorations in the old town of Strasbourg. It truly feels like a Christmas wonderland.
One of the unique things about Strasbourg’s Christmas Market is that it is actually made up of multiple markets. Each square is a separate market with a different theme. They have the classic style of market as well as the Alternative Market, where you can find vintage and fair-trade items. One of the best things about Strasbourg is that each year they invite a different country to take part in the market as a guest to showcase Christmas food and traditions. For 2019, the guest market country is Lebanon.
Aside from the 300 stalls you can shop at, it’s also a must to go into the Strasbourg Cathedral to see the multiple nativity scenes set up in the church. There is also a skating rink in front of the Christmas Tree in Place Kléber.
There are tons of food to try in Strasbourg. The markets have everything from traditional hot drinks like cider and mulled white wine to Alsatian cookies and gingerbread and sausages. When purchasing a hot drink, you also buy a small plastic reusable cup that is then refilled at the next place to cut back on garbage. The cups have different Christmas-themed prints on them and are good enough quality you can take them home as a souvenir.
While you can visit Strasbourg as a day trip from Paris using the high-speed train, it’s worth staying overnight at least for one night to see the Christmas Market with all lit up.
When: November 22- December 30, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Strasbourg
Aix-en-Provence (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
By Nadine from Le Long Weekend
The Christmas markets in the Provençal city of Aix-en-Provence run right through from the end of November to the end of December. Spanning the entire length of Aix’s main boulevard, Cours Mirabeau, the month-long markets are a must-do if you’re staying in Aix during winter.
The iconic wooden chalets are lavishly decorated by the artisans who occupy them and create a magical atmosphere in the city. Around 50 local producers sell their wares at the market, and it’s a fantastic place to pick up handcrafted gifts, local delicacies, and regional specialties. Grab a warm cup of vin chaud, nibble on a sugared waffle, and stroll the entire length of the Avenue before doubling back and sampling the other side!
If you need to rest your feet in between the shopping, there are a number of cafes lining the street that you can settle into and indulge in a little people watching. And of course, as the gateway to the old town, there are plenty more boutiques in the surrounding streets if you wish to continue your shopping journey further! Little ones are catered for too with the usual arrangement of rides and games scattered around the Rotonde.
The market is at its liveliest in the week leading up to Xmas, so if you don’t mind the crowds (Aix doesn’t get nearly as busy as some other markets), this is the best time to go. Be sure to pick up a Santon figurine which are specific to the Provence region, and sample at least one of the ‘thirteen desserts of Christmas’.
When: November 20 – December 29, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Aix-en-Provence
Colmar Christmas Market (Grand Est)
By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
The quaint little town of Colmar, France, a short distance from Strasbourg, is revered for its annual Christmas market. The beloved village market squares are lined with stalls selling an arrangement of goods.
What makes this market exceptionally special is that Christmas is brought to life. The sound of Christmas carols fill the air and a real-life Santa Claus can be spotted strolling the snowy streets with his donkey. The architecture has a German touch and alleys have canals around every corner. Witness a nativity scene which displays real livestock and visit the market at 17:00 to get a glimpse of the children’s choir.
The market has run for two decades now where guided tours, wine-tastings, activities for children, exhibitions of ornamental art and concerts are commonplace. Enjoy a culinary show followed by the concoctions of master restauranteurs available at the standing bar. In excess of sixty chalets sell crafts including ornaments for your Christmas tree. Stalls focus mainly on one type of good at a time, offering selections of cold meats, wines, liqueurs, and baked goods. Craft stalls display ceramics and pottery, with master artisans on-site tailoring to requests from the public.
The decorated wine cellars offer tastings and an opportunity to meet local winemakers. The Musée du Jouet toy museum displays toy collections available for purchase, including an electric train set. From glass-makers to sculptors to jewelers, the markets satisfy the demands of artists and foodies alike. The Christmas markets attract tourists and locals each year to bask in its tradition of hospitality and passion.
Terry and Maura from Travel Kiwis also wanted to share their experience in Colmar with us
Colmar, in the Alsace region, is one of the prettiest Christmas markets in France. Each Christmas, the medieval old town is elaborately decorated, enticing visitors to join in “La Magie de Noël.”
Colmar becomes a Christmas wonderland during this festive time. It oozes an ambiance of warmth and cheer, making the town atmosphere something to be enjoyed.
One of the best things to do at the Colmar Christmas market is to see the illuminations on Friday and Saturday nights. The colors attract lots of “oohs” and “aahs” as half-timbered medieval buildings become illuminated.
Colmar is unique with six markets around the various squares of the medieval old town. Each market has its theme with stalls of Christmas decorations, gourmet food, crafts, even a children’s market.
Three things you need to try in the market are Vin Chaud aux Epices (Mulled Wine), delectable nougat cut from a massive block, and Bredalas (a variety of small biscuits).
Colmar is your fairy-tale Christmas market with century-old traditions and Christmas illuminations, making it the perfect Christmas Market in France.
When: November 22 – December 29, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Colmar
Nancy Christmas Market (Grand Est)
Like many cities in the East in France and Germany, Nancy proposes its Christmas markets, named here Villages de Saint-Nicolas which largely participate in the special magical atmosphere of Christmas in Nancy.
During the festivities of Saint-Nicolas, several markets settle throughout the city, being Le Grand Village de Saint-Nicolas the most important one.
Le Grand Village de Saint-Nicolas is located in Place Charles III, the most important square in the Ville Neuve, more precisely between the covered market and the San Sebastian shopping center. Explore its more than sixty wooden stalls decorated with twinkling garlands and full of gift ideas, seasonal delicacies so typical of the East of France, and mulled wine.
Don’t miss the 100% craftsmen cluster surrounding the magnificent carousel with the effigy of Nancy, in the heart of the Village!
When: November 22 – December 29, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Nancy
Obernai (Grand Est)
By Lucy from On the Luce
Close to the border with Germany, Obernai is one of Alsace’s prettiest towns. It might not be as well known as nearby Strasbourg and Colmar, but Obernai is overflowing with charm. And during the festive season, Christmas market stalls fill its cobbled streets and the half-timbered buildings are swathed with sparkling illuminations and decorations.
Obernai’s Christmas markets are centered around the Place du Marché, where you’ll find a giant Christmas tree, model village and a Petit Train for kids. Stalls spread out into Place Neher, Place du Beffroi and Place de l’Étoile, with the tourist office offering walking tours and biscuit-making classes.
The market specializes in gastronomy and crafts, so look out for tasty local specialties like flammkuchen, pretzels, bredeles (Christmas biscuits) and mannele (brioche gingerbread men). And being a wine region, don’t miss the vin chaud – instead of the regular red, there’s a delicious spiced white version made with local Sylvaner wine.
When: November 23 – December 31, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Obernai
By Patricia from Ze Wandering Frogs
The Clermont-Ferrand Christmas Market is held in the city of Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne’s major town. Located at the Place de la Victoire by the iconic Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral, the 30-year old Christmas Market offers plenty of activities during the month-long presence. The central location in the old part of the city is perfect for exploring the narrow streets and visiting the famous Cathedral, one of the top things to do in Clermont-Ferrand.
Clermont-Ferrand Christmas Market is composed of over 60 stands spread across different “villages.” “Le Coin des Lutins” is dedicated to children with a Santa Claus stand, treasure hunts, makeup stand, and magic shows. Local producers showcase their handicrafts and homemade food productions at the “Fabrique de Noël” village. The “Burons Gourmands” offer local specialties ready for tasting, all while visitors can listen to concerts on Fridays’ evenings. Concerts will cover from jazz bands, pop rocks, and Gospel performances from 6:30 pm.
A Christmas Parade will start at 4 pm (16 h) on November 29, 2019, from Place Delille through the Place de la Victoire and end at the Place de Jaude where the Christmas Tree and Ferry Wheel will continue to convey the holiday spirit.
When: November 29 – December 29, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Clermont-Ferrand
Don’t miss Béthune’s Christmas Market, considered one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in France. The Cité de Noël, located in the medieval Grand-Place de Béthune and surrounded by beautiful historic houses and belfries, offers 5 weeks of wonder and magic to locals and visitors.
For the occasion, the beautiful Grand-Place of Béthune is filled with wooden chalets and fairy decorations to welcome local and regional artisans who offer seasonal culinary products, but also gift ideas for the end of the winter holidays.
The Cité de Noël is completed by rides and animations for children: carousel, ice rink, Ferris wheel, a small train, workshops, and concerts.
Don’t miss the Christmas Market’s highlight: on the evening of December 24, Santa and his elves descend from the top of the historic Belfry of Béthune! This is a magical show perfect for children and adults.
When: November 30 – December 31, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Béthune
Sarlat (Nouvelle Aquitaine)
Visit the Village de Noël of Sarlat, one of the most beautiful medieval towns in the Périgord Noir. This is the second most important Christmas Market in the region of Aquitaine which every year honors a different country. Which country will be the guest this year?
The 70 or so wooden chalets are spread between Place de la Grande Rigaudie and Place du 14 Juillet and they offer beautiful Christmas gifts and seasonal food. There is also a tavern proposing regional wines, artisan beer, and the unmissable vin-chaud while the more sporty will have fun at the ice rink, with soirées dance floor every Saturday.
In addition, the Market proposes many activities for kids and adults: magic shows, circus, music and Christmas tales.
When: December 4 – December 31, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of hotels in Sarlat
The medieval city of Provins hosts during the winter holidays Le Marché Médiéval de Noël, a beautiful and authentic medieval Christmas Market just like in the medieval times! Head to the Old Town, beautifully decorated for the occasion, and discover demonstrator artisans, all on medieval costumes, who will revive for you an almost forgotten know-how.
Entertaining and authentic, the medieval Christmas Market of Provins will delight young and adults. Warm-up by dancing at the Medieval Ball, taste medieval products and admire the prowess of jugglers, and fire shows.
Provins is an easy day trip from Paris by train but we recommend spending the night on-site to admire the unique and magical atmosphere of the market in the evening, illuminated by hundreds of candles.
When: December 14 – December 15, 2019
Where to sleep: check out these beautiful hotels in Provins
Nice (Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur)
By Sharon from Dive Into Malaysia
The Nice Christmas Market is a must-visit attraction if you want some Christmas spirit, to do some shopping or just want to hang out somewhere with a great vibe. It is located in a very central location in Jardin Albert, next to the Old Town and the shore which makes visiting it a very easy thing to do during your Nice stay.
The market itself is a nice combination of attractions. There are 60 chalets selling a range of products as well as a food area with plenty of choices. There are also some amusement park rides including a giant Ferris Wheel which has great views over the market.
If you like ice skating, there is also a rink as well as the big red man himself in his own little house.
For kids, there are also special Christmas themed shows. We almost missed this as it is off to the side. After you walk past the rides in the direction of the chalets, look for a path to the right for the shows and Santa.
When: December 6, 2019 – January 5, 2020
Where to sleep: check out this selection of beautiful hotels in Nice
Nantes (Pays de la Loire)
Visit the Nantes Christmas Market, the biggest Christmas Market (and one of the most beautiful) in western France! The Market takes place in Place du Commerce and Place Royale, with more than 100 chalets proposing gift ideas for the winter holidays, regional products and drinks, jewelry and other accessories.
Of course, Nantes Christmas Market is also the occasion to discover animations, fanfares, and other street performances. There is also a beautiful carousel and Christmas songs are played in the Market every evening from 5 pm.
Don’t miss the Christmas Market’s inauguration show, this year on Saturday, November 23. The show starts at 5 pm with the Déambulation des Échassiers (cover picture) and goes on with different fanfares.
When: November 22 – December 24, 2019
Where to sleep: check out this selection of beautiful hotels in Nantes
France is truly a stunning country to explore, especially in the Christmas season. Don’t miss to visit one of these beautiful French Christmas Markets during your Christmas holiday in France!
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Cover picture: Déambulation des Échassiers, Nantes Christmas Market. Photo courtesy: Métropole Nantes – Rodolphe Delaroque ©