Ten Great places to visit in France for Christmas 2018

Written by on November 17, 2018 in Christmas Markets

We look at some fabulously festive places to visit in France for Christmas 2018.

Alsace

Head for Strasbourg‘s Christmas market, known locally as the Christkindelsmarik, the oldest in Europe. From 23 November to 30 December, beautiful lights and decorations in the most festive Christmas market with the tallest decorated Christmas tree in Europe.  Take a boat ride, wander from one Christmas market to another – there are eleven, and prepare to be awed by the fabulous decorations on almost every street. More on Strasbourg Christmas Market here.

Aquitaine

In the year round gorgeous Dordogne, the town of Sarlat hosts three weeks of colour and warmth at it’s Christmas village. It’s made up of forty-two charming chalets set up around an ice skating rink. The village showcases the work of craftsmen from all over France and a variety of goods are on offer to provide you with unforgettable gift ideas.

Gourmets will appreciate the many products to be enjoyed on site or taken away. Truffles, walnuts, foie gras are some of the favourites of the locals. There’s a tavern at the heart of the market where you can warm up with a mulled wine or Christmas beer. The festive atmosphere and enchanting holiday décor are lovely.  December 5 – December 31 2018 www.sarlat-tourisme.com

Burgundy

Place de la République in Dijon is even more vibrant than usual at Christmas with its little wooden chalets in such a magificent location. There is an ice rink in the Place de la Liberation and a little train for rides at Place Darcy. Open 1 December 2018 to 6 January 2019. www.visitdijon.com 

Champagne-Ardenne

The Christmas market at Reims is the biggest in the region and also one of the largest in France with 135 chalets offering a range of gourmet products, arts and crafts and creative gift suggestions. This renowned market is held annually in the tree-lined pedestrian streets around Place d’Erlon and the city centre, all beautifully illuminated and decorated. There’s also an international craft market, ice-skating rink and Santa’s Grotto in the Place du Forum. There’s  a traditional funfair and Ferris Wheel offering spectacular views over this coronation city. Plus events, creative workshops and concerts  throughout the region. Enjoy gourmet food, crafts and festive gifts and of course a glass or two of the fizzy stuff.

Open every day from end November to end December. 11am – 7.30pm (9pm Saturday and Sunday, Mondays 2pm – 7.30pm; Friday and Saturday: 10am – 9pm. More info www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk

Languedoc-Roussillon

Discover Montpellier in its winter clothes! From November 29 to December 27 2018, Montpellier lights up in vibrant colours for a Mediterranean style Christmas. There is a traditional market, local crafts and parades. During the whole month, there’s a festive atmosphere on the Place de la Comédie, in the heart of Montpellier.  www.destinationsuddefrance.com

Limousin

The town of Limoges celebrates Christmas in style. At the Place de la Motte you will discover around thirty artisans and producers who will share their Christmas treats. From candy to clothing and of course, the famous porcelain of Limoges. 30 November – 5 January 2019. www.limoges-tourisme.com

In the Loire Valley

Many of the Loire Valley Chateaux put on their winter and Christmas finery for real wow factor appeal. Chenonceau is full of sumptuous bouquets and Vaux-le-Vicomte is absolutely incredible with its carousel, fake snow and thousands of decorations (see The Good Life France magazine for gorgeous photos).

Nord-Pas-de-Calais

From 23 November to 30 December 2018, the Grand Place in Lille will be transformed with chalets, a Ferris wheel and an 18 metre-high Christmas tree. There is a lively Christmas market in Place Rihour. With thousands of shops  from high street to unique boutique, Christmas shopping here is on a different level. More on the Christmas market at Lille. lilletourism.com

For a truly charming Christmas market head to Boulogne-sur-Mer (about 30 minutes from Calais port) for the weekend of 13 and 14 December 2018. Head to the Old Town to find elves, knights animals, festive stalls, beautiful decorations galore. There are lovely light displays in this really authentic Christmas market. Warm up at the newly extended NAUSICAA, Europe’s largest aquarium – it’s astonishingly good.

Poitou Charentes

Celebrate at Puy du Fou theme park Vendée, with a quirky take on Christmas. Puy du Fou is a unique and frankly amazing French experience. Best described as a historical theme park, they put on re-enactments, displays and special effects on a grand and epic scale and Christmas is no exception. Read our review in The Good Life France magazine.

More on Christmas in France

3 quirky festivals in France 2018
How to spend Christmas Eve in Paris
15 things to do on Christmas Day in Paris

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