Getting into the holiday spirit is easy in France with its lavishly decorated streets and numerous Christmas markets all over the country. Most French Christmas markets (Marchés de Noël) operate from late November till the end of December. They offer lots of regional culinary specialties, festive decorations, crafts, and arts.
In Colmar, there are five Christmas markets, which makes this city in Alsace a perfect holiday destination. Wooden chalets are offering festive food and gifts across the town. One of the main markets is located at Place des Dominicains near the beautiful Dominican church. Over 60 stalls surround large decorated trees. Place de l’Ancienne Douane Christmas market is located by the picturesque Schwendi Fountain. Place Jeanne d’Arc Market is famous for its delicious foie gras, meats, cheese, and wine. If there is wind or rain, visitors can seek shelter at the Koïfhus indoor market. Families with children appreciate Petite Venise with many toys stalls and a large Nativity scene. There is also a Santa's letterbox.
One of the largest French Christmas markets is located in the Place Rihour, Lille. About 80 cozy chalets feature gifts from artisans, local gingerbread, gauffres liègoises, foie gras, cheese de Savoie, and wine are a must try. The main square in Lille hosts a huge Christmas tree and a Ferris wheel offering a panorama of the market square. Check out the carved nativity scene and beautiful ornaments decorating the square.
The first Christkindelsmärik of Strasbourg was held back in 1570, which makes it the oldest in France. It hosts over 300 chalets located in 11 areas of the city. They offer arts, crafts, and Christmas decorations. Sipping mulled wine or vin chaud and snacking on pretzels, enjoy the views of the Christmas tree in Place Kléber and surrounding UNESCO sites. Advent choirs sing Christmas songs and live nativity scenes are impossible to miss. Strasbourg markets have different specializations. One of them is dedicated to local food with farmers offering produce for sale, another is all about being environmentally friendly, while there are also markets with an emphasis on gifts and crafts.
Paris during Christmas hosts many beautiful markets near landmarks such as the Notre Dame Cathedral or Champ de Mars. The latter offers a nice view of the Eiffel Tower and many stalls where artisans sell their crafts and handmade Christmas cookies. Le Grand Market is one of the biggest and offers carriage rides that will let you appreciate massive decorations at the market square. Some markets feature ice rinks, choirs, and Christmas trees transforming the French capital into the winter wonderland.
The Christmas market in Nice offers amazing light decorations that color the trees and buildings. It features 60 stalls with crafts, an ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, and carousels. The market is also famous for its wide selection of champagne and seafood. You also don't have to worry about winter weather spoiling your shopping plans.
The Christmas Market of Bordeaux is located at the Allée de Tourney square. With 130 wooden huts, the markets feature unique crafts of the Aquitaine region, handmade chocolates from Bayonne and foie gras. Children can enjoy free sleigh rides across the square and visit Père Noël while adults enjoy a glass of Médoc.