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Take a festive holiday and enjoy Christmas shopping at one of France's renowned Christmas markets, with holiday accommodation and travel from French Connections.
Magical Christmas Markets in France
Whether you’re looking for a unique Christmas shopping experience or a relaxing Christmas vacation, you can be sure that a short break or holiday in France during the festive season will be truly memorable. The French Connections guide to the Christmas markets of France gives you all the information you need to plan a festive break.
France is renowned for its colourful markets where fresh regional delicacies vie with beautiful arts and crafts, but in winter special Christmas festivals and markets are held. Christmas markets were originally created to supply rural French housewives with all the ingredients they needed for preparing and baking festive dishes before Christmas.
Many of the larger festivities are held in the North of France, such as the Lille, Paris and Strasbourg Christmas markets, but whichever region you decide to visit for a taste of the festive celebrations, a Christmas vacation in France will make this magical time of year even more special.
Find French Christmas food, gifts and decorations
Shopping at a Christmas market in France is a sensuous experience as you weave in and out of enticing stalls laden with unique handcrafted gifts and delectable goodies to make your Christmas recipes sensational. You can also find unusual decorations and ornaments for your Christmas tree and, if you're looking to send something different to your friends this year, then French Christmas cards will fit the bill.
French Christmas Markets Travel and Accommodation
So hopping across the channel for some Christmas shopping couldn't be easier, with great value ferries to France, convenient Eurostar services, and fast internal TGV trains. Or explore Christmas markets in some of the further reaches of France with low cost flights.
Once you've chosen a Christmas market to visit, you can find a nearby hotel or holiday rental, or combine your visit with a short stay in France chosen from our city break ideas. If you’re thinking of spending the whole of the festive period in France, find a charming rural farmhouse, chalet or cottage from our selection of Christmas and New Year holiday accommodation.
Guide to the Best Christmas Markets in France
Our comprehensive illustrated guide to the best Christmas markets in France tells you where to go, what to do and how to find the best shopping...
(N.B. Market dates are subject to change by the relevant tourist offices but were accurate at the time of being published on the website. We would advise you to contact the local tourist office before travelling.)
Toulouse Christmas Market (Haute-Garonne, Midi-Pyrénées) 30 November - 26 December 2012
The Christmas market is held in December, at the famous Place du Capitole, the very heart of Toulouse. Chalets will provide visitors young and old with a feast for the eyes and taste-buds. With original gift ideas from local woodcrafts to regional specialities (foie gras, preserves, cakes, etc.), but also toys, pottery, jewellery, candles, clothing and leather goods, there's definitely something for everyone. more
Bordeaux Christmas Market (Gironde, Aquitaine) 23 November to the 30 December 2012
Each year, Bordeaux's Allées de Tourny is transformed into a magical winter wonderland of little wooden huts and stalls. This is a traditional Christmas market and a great place for picking up some original gifts for your loved ones. more
Noisy le Grand (Seine-Saint-Denis, Ile-de-France) 12 - 16 December 2012
Noisy le Grand Christmas Market is one of the biggest in the Paris area and has become a favourite Christmas shopping destination. Twinkling decorations, traditional glassware, hand crafted wooden toys and horse-drawn carriage rides create a festive atmosphere that appeals to children and adults alike. more
Montbéliard Christmas Market (Doubs, Franche Comte) 24 November - 24 December 2012
Montbéliard holds its annual Christmas Festival of Lights with a Christmas market (one of the best in the area), craft fair and many other seasonal festivities. The town is ablaze with lights and decorations during this festive time of the year and attractions include pastry-making workshops for children, chocolate and warm wine tasting and sleigh rides. more
Mulhouse Christmas Market (Haut-Rhin, Alsace) 24 November to 28 December 2012
Mulhouse offers a typical Alsatian market with half-timbered stalls featuring exceptional fabric and other French products. The whole shopping experience gets even better while sipping mulled wine and snacking on "bredele" (small typically Alsatian cakes) or Christmas biscuits. more
Nancy Christmas Market (Meurthe-et-Moselle) 30 November - 30 December 2012
The medieval town of Nancy, famous for its triumphal arch built to honor Louis XV, hosts its celebrated market in the historic Place Maginot. A wide range of local specialties are on offer, from delicious fresh bread to spicy charcuterie and, for those with a sweet tooth, Bergamotte bonbons, Macarons and Mirabelle liqueur. Enjoyable Christmas activities include carol singing, folk dancing and lively street entertainment. Several little chalets (stalls) sell hand-crafted toys and an array of other presents. more
Brest Christmas Market (Finistère, Brittany) 7 - 30 December 2012
The market in this charming town is nestled in a natural harbour in Brittany. The market features chalets selling Christmas wares. more
Strasbourg Christmas Market (Bas-Rhin, Alsace) 24 November to 31 December 2012
This is one of the largest Christmas markets in France, and the setting in front of Strasbourg Cathedral is breathtaking. The Strasbourg Christmas market has been running since 1570 and is the oldest Christmas market in France. Be sure to visit La Petite France, a cosy neighborhood of timbered fairy-tale buildings with Christmas shops and a gingerbread bakery. more
Avignon Christmas Market (Vaucluse, Provence) 24 November 2012 - 1 January 2013
There is plenty for all to enjoy at this Christmas market. A variety of delectable delights and gifts are offered by all the stall holders and there is entertainment to delight and captivate all the family, including traditional folk dances and costumes, parades and games. more
Paris Christmas Market (Ile de France) Festival, various dates throughout December
Christmas in Paris is truly spectacular. Paris is always a picturesque city but at Christmas the city of lovers really comes into its own for visitors and residents alike. If you decide to spend Christmas in Paris, you will only have to walk a few steps to spot a Christmas tree. The city features several Christmas markets, with most starting some time between late November and early December. This is a wonderful time of year to visit the capital and take in the sites that the city has to offer. more
Arras Christmas Market (Pas-de-Calais) 30 November - 24 December 2012
Arras, the town renowed for its tapestries of the late Middle Ages, holds a spectacular Christmas market on the splendid Grand Place. Around 60 exhibitors offer a wide selection of arts and crafts, as well as local delicacies. more
Dijon Christmas Market (Cote-d'Or, Burgundy) Dates to be confirmed
Dijon's Christmas market at Place de la Libération offers a host of over 60 stalls selling local products (spice bread, mustard, foie gras and honey), plus colourful arts and crafts, children's toys and mulled wine. Visitors can glide on ice at the skating rink at the Place de la République. more
Menton Christmas Market (Alpes-Maritimes, Provence Cote d-Azur) Dates to be confirmed
In the Biovès Gardens and throughout the town. The Christmas festival in this charming Riviera town features lights, shows, and a Christmas market and nativity scene. more
Orléans Christmas Market (Loiret, Loire Valley) 5 - 30 December 2012
Organised by the town of Orléans, this month long Christmas Market is located at the Place du Martroi. The market boasts 62 chalets which offer a large range of local produce. There is also an ice rink to enjoy! more
Chartres Christmas Market (Eure-et-Loire, Loire Valley) Dates to be confirmed
Chartres hosts a fantastic Christmas market, the town ablaze with festive lights. There are stalls with local artisans displaying their goods as well as plenty of tasty treats of chocolate, chestnuts and cinnamon to tempt the taste buds. Younger visitors will enjoy the manger scene, a welcome parade for Santa Claus and ice skating. more
Reims Christmas Market (Marne, Champagne Ardenne) 23 November to 30 December 2012
Reims was the site of the first French Christmas celebration when, in 496, Clovis and his 3,000 warriors were baptized. Bishop Rémi had purposely chosen the day of the Nativity for this ceremony. Other important events eventually took place on Christmas day in the following years. During the run-up to Christmas, Reims' Christmas Village combines street entertainment, magicians, carol singers and market stalls selling Christmas gifts, decorations and food. more
Lille Christmas Market (Nord, Nord Pas de Calais) 21 November to 30 December 2012
The month-long Christmas Market in Lille is the largest in Northern France and has been a tradition for centuries. A popular destination for British visitors because of the Eurostar link, the festival is held in the Place Rihour in the town centre. more
Colmar Christmas Market (Haut-Rhin, Alsace) 23 November to 31 December 2012
Colmar holds its annual Christmas market from 23 November to 31 December and it is regarded as one of the most unusual French markets with its special character. It takes place in the Old Town at 5 various venues: Petite Venise for children, Place des Dominicains, Place de l'Ancienne Douane, Place Jeanne d'Arc and inside the Koifhus, the old customs house. more
Metz Christmas Market (Moselle, Lorraine) Dates to be confirmed
The sights and sounds from the stalls lining the city square of Metz are perfumed with mulled wine and gingerbread when the Christmas Market arrives. The whole Place Saint-Louis and the Esplanade is illuminated with enchanting waterfalls of lights and wonders to behold. more
Besançon Christmas Market (Doubs, Franche Comte) 30 November to 24 December 2012
Besançon's Christmas market offers carol singing, over 60 stalls selling arts and crafts and local products, folk dancing and plenty of street entertainment. more
Montélimar Christmas Market (Drome, Rhone-Alps) 15 - 24 December 2012
Montélimar, the capital of nougat enjoys Christmas times, full of joy and tradition. Visitors will be well entertained with markets, museums, cribs and tales. more
Béthune Christmas Market (Pas-de-Calais) Dates to be confirmed
Béthune is an attractive small town in Northern France with a Christmas market that holds around 40 Flemish-style chalets selling festive crafts, regional produce and other gifts. The market is located by the Belfry tower in the central square of the city and is regarded as one of the best ones in the region. more
Licques Christmas Market / Turkey Parade (Nord Pas-de-Calais) Dates to be confirmed
Licques Christmas Market is famous for its traditional turkey parade and market with high quality traditionally-reared organic poultry. At the market there is the opportunity to purchase various foodstuffs, regional produce, beautifully packaged sweets and chocolates, traditional decorations and local crafts. more
Amiens Christmas Market (Somme, Picardie) 24 November - 31 December 2012
The town is host to one of the largest Christmas markets in northern France. With an alpine flavour, this market is quite different to many around Europe and offers visitors a change from the traditional wooden crafts found elsewhere. Instead, visitors can enjoy Le Creuset kitchenware, fine crystal and hand-made glass, as well as Angora sweaters. For fish lovers, the market is home to many stalls selling eel, shrimp, duck and trout, as well as Beauvais chocolate and Amiens macaroons. more
Calais Christmas Market (Pas-de-Calais) - Dates to be confirmed
Every year a Christmas market is held outside the theatre. The Calais Christmas market extends around Le Forum Gambetta. more