french christmas markets

stop what you're doing
and take a break

French Christmas markets are truly remarkable and are a fantastic way to do your Christmas shopping whilst taking an enjoyable break at the same time. Now doesn't that sound more like the kind of Christmas shopping you will love?

The Christmas markets in France began as a way to supply French housewives with all the commodities they would need for Christmas, and as time has progressed they have become much more grand and so well renowned.

In recent times, many towns and cities throughout the UK have taken to putting on markets, but, without taking anything from the UK counterparts, the French markets have that certain je ne sais quoi, naturellement. In any case, it's a bit of fun, dashing over to France for a few days of merriment, mayhem and mulled wine.


The north of France is where the larger and most popular markets are held especially in Arras, Calais, Lille, Paris and Strasbourg. These are easily accessible from the UK, due to the proximity and of course it is much easier to travel by Eurostar and the TVG train services nowadays. But they are popular with the French too, and offer a festive opportunity to experience France in a convivial atmosphere.

The Strasbourg Christmas Market is the oldest, and this glorious city is just 2¼ hours by TGV from Paris (Gare de l'Est). Lille has a huge market with the most beautiful handcrafted gifts as well as the famous French food stuffs which are just heavenly and make the most acceptable gifts for friends and family. Most people love the French cheeses, the patés, cakes and confectionery, they are all such delicious foods and make great Christmas gifts.

Christmas decorations are also a good buy as most are unusual and much better quality than in department stores. And when you have tired yourself out walking around the dazzling stalls, take a relaxing break with some traditional French food and wine – or try some of the renowned Northern France beers? – or maybe a lunch of traditional moules frites  or beef carbonade.

Then for those of you with a sweet tooth there are the most amazing little French crepes – so delicious, although I have a terrible weakness for Iles Flottantes – note the plural!.

Festive markets are also held in other regions, such as Haute Garonne, where the Toulouse market, held in the place du Capitole in the heart of the city, has something for everyone. Bordeaux's Allées de Tourny is a magical transformation with wooden stalls and unusual and traditional gifts.

In the Paris area, the Noisy le Grand market is one of the biggest of the markets, drawing people with its festive atmosphere and traditional Christmas fare.

In the south of France you will find a Christmas market in the gorgeous little town of Menton, where you will find everything you need to have a truly romantic Christmas.

These are just a few of the French Christmas markets and if you visit France from the end of October right through until Christmas Eve, and in some cases right into the New Year, you will have the opportunity to see one wherever you are.

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