It’s xmas. You’re all snuggled in your coat admiring the festive lights. You’re walking through the chalets and have scored some fabby Christmas gifts for your loved ones. Taking a break from all the shopping, you sip on hot cocoa and watch the festive world go by.
Now, fast forward to my recent adventure at the Tuileries Christmas market in Paris. So, I recently checked out this Parisian Christmas market. Let me tell you, these markets are buzzing with holiday vibes, and make for a great outing with friends and family. Stick around, because I’m spilling the beans on the best Christmas markets in France. Plus, catch my best strategies on visiting French Christmas markets.
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Best Christmas Markets in France
1. Strasbourg Christmas Market
Known as one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets in Europe, Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik is a must visit.
Picture cute wooden chalets adorned with twinkling lights, releasing the scents of cinnamon and roasted nuts. The breathtaking Cathedral Square serves as a backdrop, to the Christmas tree and an enchanting ice rink creating a truly magical atmosphere.
2. Paris Christmas Markets:
Paris has a special place in my heart. Every year the city of lights, takes on an extra sparkle during the Christmas season. Having grown up in Paris, I remember visiting the chalets stalls at La Defense eating chestnuts and walking down the Christmas market along the Concorde and admiring the humungous ferris wheel.
Christmas Markets in Paris:
1. Christmas market at Jardin des Tuileries
2. Christmas village at Parvis de La Défense
3. Christmas Market at Champs de Mars, next to the Eiffel Tower
4. Christmas Market at Paris Notre Dame
5. Christmas Market at St Germain des Prés
6. Christmas Market at Les Halles (Christmas Village at La Canopée des Halles)
7. Christmas Market at Place de Abbesses (Montmartre)
5. Nice Christmas Market (Village de Noël):
3. Toulouse Christmas Market:
Toulouse located in southwestern France, hosts a great Christmas market every year during the holiday season at Place du Capitole. This is located right next to the Town Hall. Wander around the different stalls of goodies and distinctive gifts. Create those lasting memories!
4. Colmar Christmas Markets:
Colmar, located in Alsace, has more than one Christmas market for you to explore. They each have their owncharm. Check out the different markets, shop for unique gifts, and feast on some yummy food.
Christmas Markets in Colmar
1. Christmas Market at Place des Dominicains
2. Children’s Christmas Market in Petite Venise
3. Indoor Market at Koïfhus
4. Christmas Market at Place de l’Ancienne Douane
5. Gourmet Market at Rue de la Montagne Verte
6. Christmas Market at Place Jeanne d’Arc
5. Nice Christmas Market:
Celebrate Christmas under the palm trees surrounded by twinkling lights. When you think of Nice you probably picture a summer destination with the Promenade des Anglais and its beautiful beaches. However, Nice also has a great Christmas market that turns the Place Masséna (near the Opera) into a festive village.
Address: Place Masséna, 06000 Nice
6. Lyon Christmas Market:
Lyon is one of my favorite cities in France and they have a Christmas market every year at Place Carnot (near the Perrache train station). Make sure you schedule your trip to coincide with the Festival of Lights. An amazing festival where the streets transform into a lively stage, and the buildings themselves seem to participate in a grand dance of colors. Don’t miss my complete Lyon in winter bucket list here.
Address: Place Carnot, 69002
7. Mulhouse Christmas Market:
Mulhouse is a winter wonderland that could melt even the iciest of hearts. Its Christmas market brings together art, crafts and awesome food.
Don’t miss the live artisan demonstrations, where you can check out the magic of craftsmanship unfold before your eyes.
Address: Place de la Réunion, 68100
8. Lille Christmas Market:
Lille is a city that seems to have borrowed a bit of magic from Santa’s workshop.
Take a stroll through its cobblestone streets as the air carries the scents of chestnuts and waffles drifting from nearby stalls.
Don’t miss the ferris wheel and the ton of cool Christmas activities like designing Christmas decorations, crowns and origami Christmas trees.
Address: Place Rihour, 59800 Lille
9. Reims Christmas Market:
Reims is a city in the Champagne region of France, that also hosts a festive Christmas market in France. It’s like you’re in a festive labyrinth where every turn reveals a new delight.
10. Le Barcarès Christmas Market:
Barcarès is a seaside town located in the Pyrénées-Orientales region that comes alive every year during the Christmas market. Check out the festive decorations, toys, and gifts to bring back from your travels.
Tips for Visiting Christmas Markets in France
✨ Know the Language
At a minimum, you should know some basic French words. Like hello, thanks, goodbye. Many shop clerks don’t speak much English, especially in the less touristy markets. So it’s always good to be well armed.
✨ Avoid the Crowds
To make the most of your Christmas market experience, you’ve got to be strategic and plan well. I visited the Tuileries Paris Christmas Market on a Friday evening and let me tell you it was so crowded you could barely walk. There were so many people and there were queues at the attractions and all the food stalls. I def. recommend you come on weekdays and go earlier during the day to beat the crowds if you can.
✨ Know What you’re Buying
While there can be a lot of artisanal products there can also be a ton of stuff that is made in China. That’s fine if it’s not in your budget. But if you’re buying something that’s artisanal make sure you ask the shop owner about it’s origins and that it is indeed artisanal. Just keep in mind a lot of stuff at the Christmas markets can be overpriced so always weigh in the pros and cons.
✨ Just Say No
Don’t ever feel pressured to buy anything. Some shop clerks can be insisting or legit get into a monologue. Just say “non merci” (no thanks) or “merci- je reviendrai” (Thanks- I’ll be back). Which everyone knows is code for abort missions ruuuun for the hills.
✨ Be Open to Local Customs and Traditions
Remember to engage with the friendly vendors, learn about local customs, and low-key immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. The markets are not just shopping destinations. They are cultural experiences. So embrace all the good stuff these markets have to offer. I was going to add a famous Home Alone quote here but it’s overused and you’re Nonna would be offended so naah.
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