Much like Germany and Austria, France is huge on Christmas markets in the winter season. Once late November creeps in, pretty much every city, town, and village around the country turns itself into a world of Christmas lights, festive traditions, and a setting that is sure to spread the holiday spirit. From some of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe, to ones that hold quirky traditions, these are the best Christmas markets in France to attend this season!
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The Best Christmas Markets in France
Christmas markets in France vary from city to town, but they all have one thing in common: French Christmas traditions and holiday spirit. Here’s what you can expect at some of the holiday celebrations around the country. Note: These are cities outside of Paris, but here are things to do in Paris at Christmas.
1. Strasbourg Christmas Market
Strasbourg is one of the most picturesque towns in France, and the spirit of Christmas does not disappoint. This market is actually the oldest Christmas market in France and one of the oldest ones in Europe! Strasbourg is also referred to as the Capital of Christmas!
Set in the Grand Est region (formerly Alsace), the Strasbourg Christmas market blends seamlessly with the city’s charming streets. The market has a lovely vintage feel to it, with stalls offering plenty of traditional crafts and local products.
It feels as though you’ve traveled back to the Middle Ages to when the year the Strasbourg market was first held in 1570! The magic of Christmas is sure to be found here.
2. Metz, France
For over a decade now, the Christmas market in Metz has been consistently ranked not only as one of the best Christmas markets in France but also among the best ones in Europe.
This traditional Christmas market is spread across several plazas all over the city, making it a place you can spend several evenings exploring during your time in the city.
The Christmas village at Place d’Armes is a favorite for visitors because it is located next to one of the tallest Ferris wheels in Europe and provides glorious views of the city.
As if that weren’t enough, the Metz Christmas market also hosts the Sentier des Lanternes (the Trail of Lanterns). This activity takes place in the Jardin de Boufflers right behind the Palais de Justice. It takes you on a walk through a fairytale-like Christmas forest dotted by hundreds of lanterns and adorned with Christmas decorations (think candy canes, elves, reindeer, Christmas trees, gingerbread men, and more)!
3. Montbéliard, France
The town of Montbéliard is in eastern France, and this Christmas market has been famous for a long time because of its illumination. Each evening, this fairy tale market and its surrounding areas are lit up by a spectacular display and light show that goes on all the way from the Place Denfert-Rochereau to the railway station!
Here, you’ll find over 120 stalls selling all sorts of local produce as well as gorgeous traditional goodies from local artists like glasswork, pottery, candles, artworks, and more in the town square.
4. Reims Christmas Market
The capital of Christmas might just be the one in Reims. This Christmas market is the third largest in France and takes place right by the city’s main cathedral.
Aside from the hundreds of stalls you’ll be able to explore, Christmas time in Reims is known for its liveliness. Not only will you be able to go window shopping for hours on end, but you’ll also get to enjoy a very unique night out here.
This festive season features lights, ice rinks, and even a few champagne bars and are all part of what visiting this market in northeastern France is all about.
5. Marché de Noël (Bordeaux Christmas Market)
Known for its incredible wine scene, the city of Bordeaux in southern France is a treat to visit year-round, but it becomes especially stunning once this festive season creeps in. There are so many amazing things to do in Bordeaux, so come for the markets but be sure to extend your stay!
All along Allées de Tourny, you’ll find plenty of wooden huts offering just about everything from delicious homemade pastries to intricate handmade creations.
Since Bordeaux is considered one of the best wine regions in France, you can expect to find a pretty vast selection of wine all over, which you can sip from a glass or, better yet, enjoy it as mulled wine!
6. Colmar Christmas Market
Colmar usually hosts several Christmas markets throughout the city, but one of the favorite ones to check out is the one that takes place in Place Jeanne D’Arc.
The atmosphere in this market was designed to make visitors feel like they are walking through an authentic Alsatian village. During your time here, you’ll be able to shop for many crafts and goodies in the main square, but the best thing you can invest in are the many traditional Alsatian treats you’ll find all over – think local food like foie gras, charcuterie, cakes, wines, and more!
7. Toulouse Christmas Market
Set in the heart of the alluring city of Toulouse, this winter wonderland market is known for its skating rink and the impressive number of stalls it features.
As you stroll along, you’ll be treated to many serendipitous finds. Shopping options are extremely varied, but you can expect to find plenty of leather goods, handcrafted wooden toys, jewelry, candles, and clothing. Regional Christmas market foods are also part of the repertoire, and of course, wine is king at this Christmas market!
If a Christmas market that is off-the-beaten-path and offers an extremely quirky tradition is what you’re after, look no further than the one held in Licques!
This town in the Hauts-de-France region of the country is known for its poultry. During the Christmas season, Licques hosts the Fête de la Dinde, which is a live parade of turkeys!
This popular Christmas market only runs for three days, which means planning is essential in order to be able to attend the festivities.
9. Arras Christmas Market
With a giant Ferris wheel acting as the centerpiece, the town of Arras features several magical Christmas markets all over town where the Flemish culture reigns supreme.
After enjoying three hundred and sixty degree views of the city from above on the Ferris wheel, you can spend a few hours walking through the maze of market stalls. Mulled wine and handcrafted goodies can be found in Arras, but the star of the show is Gaufres. These are Flemish waffles served with melted chocolate that are unique to the region!
10. Le Touquet Christmas Market
Much lesser-known than Christmas markets held in bigger cities, Le Touquet is pretty small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with a wonderful atmosphere.
This Christmas market features two ice skating rings, an illuminated trail through the forest, storytelling events, and plenty of live shows. For the kids, there are plenty of fun activities as well, including horse-drawn carriages and a carousel.
Tip: If possible, try attending this Christmas market on the opening day of the town’s Christmas parade because it hosts a splendid display of fireworks you can enjoy from the beach!
11. Amiens Christmas Market
Held right under the main Gothic cathedral, this Christmas market boasts a collection of over 130 wooden stalls and plenty of Christmas-inspired activities, including a merry-go-round and a glorious ice rink.
Aside from getting to drink mulled wine and browsing through hundreds of hand-crafted items from local artisans, make sure you also try mulled beer – an interesting twist to mulled wine that is common at this market.
Get in the festive spirit in Amiens, which is also known for its gourmet offerings. Try the macaroons and Beauvais chocolate which are two of the favorite treats to try while here!
Moreover, if you want to buy something unique to the city, Amiens is famous for its glass works, and is the best place to find plenty of unique locally-made glass artwork and other pieces at this nice Christmas market.