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Arras Christmas Market (Pas-de-Calais) 29 November to 29 December 2013

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.

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.

About the Market

Around 60 exhibitors offer a wide selection of arts and crafts, as well as local delicacies like chocolate rats, Atrébate beer and Coeurs d'Arras - heart-shaped biscuits which come in two flavours, ginger and cheese.

Entertainment includes cooking lessons with chefs, craft demonstrations, a merry-go-round, heated shelters, and of course meeting Father Christmas!

Special guest from Poland will offer hand-made Christmas decorations, embroidery, lamps, candlesticks, amber jewellery, pottery, dolls, crystal, wooden items and delicious Polish gourmet produce.

Arras Christmas market offers also native products from Vietnam, Morocco, Indonesia, Africa and gourmet regional specialities from different parts of France: Auvergne, Savoie, Holland, South-Western France and Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

More About Arras

The capital of Artois is a very busy town and there is a lot to see in the centre with the flemish style houses and shops. Central Arras looks so much the historic part, so well restored, that it is hard to imagine the war damage from which it suffered.

The town spent its accumulated wealth on its 16th century Gothic town hall - Hôtel de Ville (rebuilt in a slightly less grandiose style after the war) and on adorning its two squares, the Grand' Place and the Place des Heros, with the dignified Flemish gabled houses.

Many of Arras's most notable structures, including the museum and several government buildings, occupy the site of the old Abbaye de Saint-Vaast. The abbey's church was demolished and rebuilt in fashionable classical style in 1833, and now serves as the town's cathedral. The abbey now houses the Musée des Beaux-Arts which contains a motley collection of paintings, including a couple of Jordaens and Brueghels, fragments of sculpture and local porcelain. Only one of the tapestries or arras that made the town famous in medieval times survived the world war bombardments. In the 14th and 15th centuries Arras was a thriving textile town. The industry specialised in fine wool tapestries which were sold to decorate palaces and castles all over Europe.

There are a couple of memorials nearby worth a visit:

  • The Vimy Memorial - memorial commemorating a major World War I battle, the Battle of Vimy Ridge won by Canadian army, the only victory the Allies would enjoy during their 1917 spring offensive. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was part of the broader Allied offensive in April known as the Battle of Arras.
  • The Basilica of Notre Dame de Lorette, overlooking the nearby village of Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, likewise stands before one of France's largest World War I necropolises.
  • CWGC Cemetery and Memorials - memorial to the Flying Services including the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force (RNFS, RFC and RAF) from the World War I.

For more information about Arras click here

Accommodation in Arras

Accommodation in central Arras gets booked fast during the Christmas market period, so search for a hotel in Arras now. Alternatively you may want to try charming rural self catering accommodation near Arras, as during the winter months many holiday property owners allow short stays.

Transport quick facts about the markets:

Free Parking: yes, less than 500m away
Pay Parking: 3800 spaces less than 500m away
Coach Parking: yes
Nearest Bus Route: Various
Nearest Railway Station: TGV at Arras station, about 10 mins from market
Nearest Tram Stop: n/a
Nearest Tube Station: n/a
Nearest Airport: Lille Les Quin or Beauvais-Tillé airport, about 75km southwest of Arras
Nearest Ferry Port: Calais (see our route planner for driving directions)

Getting there

Suggested Travel Routes

Choosing to travel by train to France is a simple option. It’s fast and cost effective and also allows you to enjoy the beautiful French countryside. With a great rail network in place, it has never been easier to get to France by train. Book Eurostar and TGV tickets.

As a foot passenger from the UK to Arras:

By Train: To get to Arras by train from the UK you can take the Eurostar to Lille and then change platforms for the 30-minute journey to Arras by TGV. From as little as £55 return, you can take Eurostar direct from St Pancras International in London to Lille, in under 2 ½ hours. Trains run regularly departing London from 7am and the last return journey 9.13pm from Lille, Monday to Sunday. Connections can also be picked up from Ashford or Ebbsfleet. Book Eurostar and TGV tickets.

By Plane: Arras has no direct flights from Britain so to get to Arras by air you will need to fly via Brussels and take the train or go to Beauvais-Tillé airport, about 75km southwest of Arras. It is worth checking online to find out which airlines are offering the best deals at the time. Book cheap flights to France.

Taking your car from the UK to Arras:

By Train: take your car on Eurotunnel from Folkstone, Kent direct to Calais in France. Journey time is about 35 minutes and the cost varies but is around £55 day trip return for a car and 5 passengers.

By Boat: It is usually cheaper to take a car over to France by boat, because the journey takes longer. Operators such as Seafrance and P&O offer regular ferry trips across the channel, with prices ranging from around £30 for a return day trip. Book a ferry to France.

If travelling by car the A26 motorway will get you to Arras from the coast. The drive from Calais to Lille is just over the hour. Then about 45 min drive to Arras itself.

At a glance

Pas-de-Calais

Location:La Grand Place, Arras

Date:  29 November to 29 December 2013

Location: La Grand Place, Arras

Admission Charge: Free

Opening Times: 12h00 to 20h00 Mon to Fri (24 Dec: 12h00 to 17h00), 10h00 to 21h00 Sat and 10h00 to 20h00 on Sun.

Food & Drink: Yes
Entertainment: Yes
Suitability: Families
Disabled Access: Yes
Toilets: Yes

Tourist information website

Tourist info email: arras.tourisme@ot-arras.fr

Tourist info number: + 33 (0)3 21 51 26 95

Tourist info address: Office de Tourisme, Hôtel de Ville, Place des Héros, BP 49, 62001 - Arras Cedex