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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.

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.

About the Market

Béthune's town square is a stunning example of Art Deco architecture with a 14th century belfry, typical of Northern France. The sqaure becomes even more beautiful when it is transformed with the arrival of Christmas stalls. Local sellers offer festive crafts and regional specialities. Try the "Ane de Buridan" chocolates, named after a local philosopher’s fable about a donkey. Among regional cheeses “La Prairie”, is top of the list. The whole atmosphere of Christmas is rounded up with Santa Claus village and a living nativity scene.

More About Béthune

The medieval town of Béthune grew spectacularly when coal-mining started there in the 19th century. However, Béthune was occupied by German forces in the First World war, and left in ruins by fighting and bombardments. The town centre was re-built in the 'twenties and 'thirties in flemish style, with attractive red-brick buildings, typical stepped gables and some unusual art-deco houses.

The massive Town Hall with the pyramid formed roof on at the Grand Place (the square) was rebuilt in 1920, the stonework on its façade depicts the towns events and triumphs. On the facade, you can read the titles and glories of the city: "The War Cross" and the "Legion d'honneur" given in 1919 for the courage and the resistance of the bethunois during the first world war, as well as "The Coat of Arms of the City".

The belfry in the town square was a gift awarded to the people of Bethune for their loyalty to the crown. Originally built of wood in 1346 when it housed the town’s bells and a prisons cell, it was destroyed by bombing in 1918 leaving only the 16th century part intact. The belfry is classified UNESCO World Heritage. It is open to the public and you can climb to the top (30m high).

Accommodation in Béthune

Accommodation in Béthune gets booked fast during the Christmas market period, so make sure to book yours early. We also have a choice of more rural gîtes and cottages a short distance from the town. During the winter months many holiday property owners allow short stays.

Transport quick facts about the markets:

Free Parking: yes, Place Foch
Pay Parking: yes
Coach Parking: yes, Place Foch
Nearest Bus Route: all go to the town
Nearest Railway Station: 10 minutes from the market
Nearest Tram Stop: n/a
Nearest Tube Station: n/a
Nearest Airport:  Lille les Quins
Nearest Ferry Port: Calais (see our route planner for driving directions)

Getting to Béthune

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 Béthune:

By Train: you can take Eurostar direct from St Pancras International in London to Calais, in under 2 ½ hours. Connections can also be picked up from Ashford or Ebbsfleet. Book Eurostar and TGV tickets.

By Plane: 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 Béthune:

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.