Strasbourg Christmas market

Christmas markets in France

Much like in Germany, Christmas markets in France are a traditional affair, but with the added bonus of delicious Gallic treats too. Otherwise known as Marchés de Noël, city squares across the country are transformed into winter wonderlands for the festive season, with merchants travelling from far and wide to sell the very best of food, wine and gifts. Every lovingly decorated display, Christmas tree and tasty French delicacy helps to create an unforgettable experience.

We take a look at some of the best Christmas markets France has to offer.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

25 November – 31 December

Held at the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral, the world-famous Christkindelsmärik is the oldest Christmas market in France, and is greatly influenced by its traditional Alsatian heritage. Taking place every year since 1570, prepare to be amazed by festive concerts, beautifully decorated Christmas trees and delicious aromas of cinnamon, gingerbread and warming mulled wine. This year, the ‘Capital of Christmas’ will welcome Portugal as a guest country, offering the chance to try tasty Iberian treats from the many stalls in the Portuguese village.

Arras Christmas Market

25 November – 30 December

Arras, capital of the Pas-de-Calais department, is not only known for its wartime history and literary residents, but also famed for its breathtaking Gothic scenery. A glorious sight to behold come Christmastime, this elegant city’s tree-lined avenues, grand mansions and astonishing Flemish architecture are illuminated with colourful lights and festive displays. The Arras Christmas market is split across the picturesque squares of Grand’ Place and Place des Héros, and features some 70 stalls. With cosy wooden chalets, an ice rink and gourmet food demonstrations from local chefs, there’s plenty for all the family to enjoy.

Amiens Christmas Market

25 November – 31 December

Home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Place Notre-Dame, the northern city of Amiens is especially beautiful at Christmas when its spectacular cathedral is decorated in sparkling lights. The Amiens Christmas market is held in the very heart of the city each year, and crafters come from far and wide to transform the centre into an Alpine setting spanning almost 2 square kilometres. One of the largest of its kind in France, there are over 150 stalls to choose from, with everything from fine crystals and perfume to traditional macarons and gingerbread on offer.

Colmar Christmas Market

25 November – 31 December

Colmar’s Christmas market is a totally unique proposition. It’s separated into five sections across town, with each built around a different theme. Interconnected by beautifully lit alleyways and side streets, half the fun is navigating between sectors to soak up the festive cheer down each street. If you’re travelling with little explorers, be sure to visit the children’s Christmas market in Petite Venise (Little Venice). You’ll find over 40 colourful cottages brimming with toys and gifts, along with carousel horses and a giant postbox for sending letters to Santa. Others are dedicated to arts and crafts, local produce and antiques, while a traditional market encompassing all is held at Place Jeanne d’Arc.

Lyon Christmas Market

24 November – 24 December

Spread across the city in small clusters, Lyon’s Christmas markets are a lot more relaxed. The largest is found at Lyon’s Place Carnot, which is transformed with Santa’s grotto, fairground rides and a petting zoo, while the Place de la Croix-Rousse has a smaller offering with artisans, merchants and chefs travelling from across France to sell their wares. Events are scheduled throughout the holiday season, but the first week of December is perhaps the best time to visit, as this is when the city hosts its world-renowned Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights). With over 80 locations exhibiting light installations and exciting light shows, it’s the perfect place to celebrate with loved ones.

Check out our guide to France to inspire your own adventure.