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We love Christmas in France. From festive markets, to Chateaux decked out in gorgeous finery, sensational food and beautiful shops. Here are five of our favourite places to enjoy Christmas in France…

Strasbourg, Alsace

Strasbourg is nicknamed the Capital of Christmas and the Christmas market, known locally as the Christkindelsmarik, is the oldest in Europe. From 23 November to 30 December 2018, beautiful lights and decorations in the most festive Christmas market with, it’s said, the tallest decorated Christmas tree in Europe. Take a boat ride, wander from one Christmas market to another – there are eleven, and prepare to be awed by the fabulous decorations on almost every street. www.otstrasbourg.fr

Sarlat, Nouvelle Aquitaine

Sarlat in Dordogne hosts three weeks of colour and warmth at it's Christmas village. It's made up of forty-two charming chalets set up around an ice skating rink. The village showcases the work of craftsmen from all over France and a variety of goods are on offer to provide you with unforgettable gift ideas.

Gourmets will appreciate the many products to be enjoyed on site or taken away. Truffles, walnuts, foie gras are some of the favourites of the locals. There's a tavern at the heart of the market where you can warm up with a mulled wine or Christmas beer. The festive atmosphere and enchanting holiday décor are lovely.  December 5 – December 31 2018. www.sarlat-tourisme.com

Carcassonne, Occitanie

Credit: Julien Roche, City Hall Carcassonne

From early December until early January, Carcassonne’s magic is at its best as it comes alive with festivities for the Christmas period. There are twinkling lights everywhere, concerts, street entertainment, an ice rink, Christmas market and a wonderfully festive atmosphere. The celebrations take place in the Citadel as well as in the ancient city centre of Bastide Saint Louis at the base of the old city. Details: www.tourisme-occitanie.com

Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Credit: © Guillaume Souvant

Several of the Chateaux put on their winter and Christmas finery for real wow factor appeal. Some of the best include the Chateau de Brissac, the tallest castle in France and Chenonceau, the castle of flowers. www.loirevalley-france.co.uk

Puy du Fou, Poitou-Charentes

Credit: © Puy du Fou

Celebrate at Puy du Fou theme park in the Vendée, with a quirky take on Christmas. Puy du Fou is a unique and frankly amazing French experience. Best described as a historical theme park, they put on re-enactments, displays and special effects on a grand and epic scale and Christmas is no exception. puydufou.com