Last Updated on 30th July 2018 by Sophie Nadeau
When travelling through Europe during the winter time, experiencing a traditional Bavarian Christmas Market is a quintessential bucket list item. Sip on some Glühwein, purchase gifts for family, or simply wander the market with friends, here’s your guide to the best Christmas Markets in France!
Nice is nice all year ’round, or so they say! What you might now know, however, is that this Southern French town holds a yearly Christmas market which is one of the very best in l’Hexagon. Located along the glittering French Riviera, highlights of this French Christmas market include over seventy stalls selling gifts, crafts, and food, as well as an ice skating rink.
When it comes to festivities in the French capital, there’s no shortage of Christmas things to do. From ice skaing in the city centre to marvelling at many of the Grand Department stores all decked out for the holiday season, Christmas truly is one of the most magical times to visit Paris.
While in the city, be sure not to miss the various Christmas Markets dotted all over Paris. Some of the best markets include those at La Defense and La Marché de Noël des Abbesses. While that of La Defense is slightly more touristic, the market at Abbesses is where all the locals really go!
Read more: The best Christmas markets in Paris
If you make it your mission to attend just one Christmas Market in France, then make it that of Colmar, a market which is frequently listed as being the best Christmas market in France. Home to Bavarian style chalets and incredibly close to the borders of Germany and Switzerland, this city is situated in the Upper Rhine Valley.
Colmar is a fairytale town that you won’t quite believe exists until you’re there in person. All timber-framed houses and meandering waterways, come Christmastime the entire town is lit up by twinkling fairylights and oodles of festive decorations.
The pretty as a postcard medieval city of Provins was once one of the most important communes in France. Thanks to its strategic position an hour or so from Paris, and its yearly ‘Champagne Fairs,’ this now largely touristic town was incredibly important during the Middle Ages. Today, it’s one of the best day trips from Paris and holds an annual Christmas Market.
Read more: An easy day trip from Paris to Provins
Close to Colmar, a weekend getaway can easily encompass a visit to both cities. If Colmar is the French capital of Christmas, then ever so pretty Strasbourg definitely comes in at a close second. After all, Strasbourg is home to the oldest Christmas market in France.
During Noël, the Christmas Markets have been held in Strasbourg ever since 1570! Today, the market welcomes over 2 million visitors annually and this traditional Bavarian market hosts a whole load of wooden chalets, vin chaud tastings, and illuminations.
The Christmas market at Montpellier is held over a month long period from the end of November to the end of December on an annual basis. Often called ‘Les Hivernales,’ this Southern French Christmas Market hosts illuminations, performance, and much much more!
Read more: A solo trip in the South of France
For one of the best Christmas markets in France, if not all of Europe, then a visit to the Northern French city of Lille is a must. Each year, over eighty wooden chalets are erected on Place Rihour. Once there, there’s a ferris wheel to enjoy, as well as a whole load of gifts, artisan foods, and other crafts to purchase.
Situated in the South West of France, in a region now known as ‘Occitanie,’ I’ll be the first to admit that Perpignan is not necessarily my favourite French destination. However, with all that being said, the Christmas Market at Perpignan is held for roughly a month each year and is well worth a wander around. More Catalan in style than French, there are twinkling chalets by the river, as well as a big wheel in the very heart of the city.
Home to plenty of timber-framed houses and a Gothic cathedral that’s now the final resting place of Richard the Lionheart and the Viking King Rollo, Rouen is now the capital of Normandy. Also alleged to be the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake, the entire city is steeped in history.
During the festive period, Rouen also happens to host one of the best Christmas markets in France. All wooden chalets (over seventy of them!) on the cathedral square, live music performances throughout the city, and even a ferris wheel, the Christmas Market is held for around six weeks on an annual basis.
For those who love wine, the French region and it’s capital city of Bordeaux likely need no introduction. Home to some of the best full-bodied red varieties in the world, the city of Bordeaux truly comes to life in the winter when the Christmas market oppens in the heart of town.