If you're planning a trip to France this December, or need an excuse to, you can't forget about the Christmas markets. As a historically Catholic country, the French love Christmas - and the country is home to some of the most beautiful and charming Christmas markets in Europe.
Here are our picks for the six best Christmas markets in France. Visit one, or visit them all, and prepare to take a lot of photos! One piece of advice from us: arrive hungry. There will be lots of incredible and memorable food to try that we wouldn't want you to miss out on.
This Winter, Visit The Six Best Christmas Markets In France
As the centre of the Alsace region that borders Germany, Strasbourg is the closest you’ll get to a traditional German Christmas market on this side of the border. With a mix of French and German culture, the Strasbourg market is the largest of its kind in Europe. The market lies under the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg that makes for a magnificent backdrop. The hundreds of stalls have all kinds of Christmas treats and goodies, such as “bredele,” the traditional Christmas cookie of Alsace. A circus, merry-go-round, and live-music make this market stand out.
On the Champs-Élysées, over a hundred market stalls make up the most popular Christmas market in Paris. Paris does Christmas the notoriously Parisian way with oysters and champagne — what could be better. Carousels and a large ice-skating rink keep the kids occupied. Twinkling chalets cover the boulevard so you can admire the magnificent Arc-de-Triomphe while you stroll through the stalls. Have a very glamorous Christmas in Paris!
One of the most popular Christmas markets in the country is held in Lille. Hundreds of thousands of visitors swarm here every Christmas. In the Place Rihour, all sorts of stalls are lined up to sell French delicacies like cheese and pastries. A ferris wheel is nearby so that you can watch over the market and the lights twinkling below. The vast and merry market is open until the end of December.
The Rouen Christmas market lies in front of an incredible gothic cathedral — an architectural dream. In Normandy, the town of Rouen is known for its history with Joan of Arc. Find mulled wine, Christmas crafts and delicious caramels. Rouen has not one, but two outdoor ice-rinks providing holiday fun for the whole family. The Rouen market is open until the end of December.
All kinds of local treats, from macaroons to almond biscuits can be found at the Amiens Christmas market. Glass and soap are also sold as part of the local craft stores and stalls. The special “son et lumiere” (light and sound) show is projected onto the gothic cathedral of Amiens every night of the market. Christmas gets audio-visual! The Amiens Cathedral is the largest gothic cathedral in France, and an absolute marvel. There are also multiple events for children at Santa’s Grotto to keep up with the Christmas spirit.
Discover the impressive Grand Place which holds the Christmas market every year, although the festivities spread all over town. Many stalls are set out to sell food, decorations and gifts to help you prepare for the holiday. Coeurs D’Arras, in the shape of hearts, can be sweet or savory and are typical treats from the region. Some of the stalls demonstrate how their crafts are made, while the ice-skating rink puts your skills to the test. Street performers create Christmas cheer in Arras!
This article was written by Clara Hudson.