In Alsace, the Christmas tradition is celebrated from Advent to Epiphany, and in Colmar it starts with the old town, which takes on a fairy-tale atmosphere thanks to its decorations and illuminations. There are a total of six traditional markets spread throughout the city, each with its own identity. The chalets have been designed by architects and decorators, which allows them to be perfectly integrated into each square to create a playful atmosphere. Each little chalet in Colmar will introduce you to its confectionery and other culinary specialities, from which the delicious aromas of citrus fruits, cinnamon and other spices emanate.
Also in the Haut-Rhin, Riquewihr is an essential stop on your trip to Alsace. The quality of its heritage and its exceptionally well-preserved architecture add to the beauty of the town when it is adorned with Christmas lights and decorations. The Riquewihr Christmas market is located in several historic squares in the town centre and is usually open from the last weekend in November until Christmas Eve every day. Don't miss the Christmas concerts by the Chœur d'Hommes de Riquewihr and the Saint-Nicolas procession.
Strasbourg is said to be the capital of Christmas, and the tradition of the Christmas market in the city dates back to 1570. It is arguably the most festive capital in Europe during this period, and has a unique atmosphere. It welcomes no less than two million visitors every year for five long weeks. There are almost 300 chalets in the historic centre called La Grande Île. You will be offered the traditional delicacies but also decoration and gifts. The whole city is lit up at dusk with all its illuminations.
Located in Moselle, the city of Metz has been a major Christmas market for over fifteen years. Every year between mid-November and 31 December, the Place de la République is decked out in lights to welcome around thirty chalets offering gourmet and artisanal products as well as decorations, all in a Christmas atmosphere. There are other sites on Place Saint-Louis, Place Saint-Jacques and Place d'Armes. The Sentier des lanternes (Lantern Trail) is a 'dreamy lighted' trail that families will enjoy in Metz during this period.
It's a magical atmosphere that awaits you in Lyon on the Place Carnot for a month. In the heart of the city from the end of November until Christmas, you will discover 90 chalets that will surely guide you in your Christmas shopping. Jewellery, toys, games, fashion accessories... everything is there! It is also important to note that 80% of the shopkeepers sell French-made products.
Christmas market is the largest market in northern France. While it will be closed on 25 December, you can make a note in your diaries of its opening between the last weekend of November and 31 December. In addition to the 130 red chalets on the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, which will allow you to taste regional specialities, the city of Amiens proposes animations such as the puppet theatre, Santa's house as well as the big zip line and many other activities for the little ones such as colouring and workshops to write a letter to Santa.
In Mulhouse the Christmas market is the third largest in Alsace. 90 chalets are gathered in the centre of the city. It differs from other major markets such as Strasbourg and Colmar in that it has a tradition of making a large cloth to cover the monuments in the the city centre. Thus, fountains, monuments and shop windows are covered with 10 km of printed fabric! The Mulhouse Christmas market also offers Christmas concerts, shows and storytelling in the Children's Village.
On the Thonon-les-Bains The Christmas market is very different but still has a warm Christmas atmosphere. There are about fifty chalets offering local gastronomy, not forgetting the traditional mulled wine, entertainment for children, a 600 m2 natural ice rink, sound and light shows on the façade of the Town Hall, concerts and an enchanted forest. Two campsites to discover Thonon, la Drance and Saint-Disdille.
The square in front of the superb Notre-Dame cathedral is where some of the 140 chalets of the Reims Christmas market are located Reims The part reserved for children is located in the courtyard of the Palais de Thau. During the day, you can take a seat on the Ferris wheel with its heated cabins, installed for the event, to discover the city and the vineyards from above. In the evening, you can admire the illumination of the market alleys as well as the architecture of the cathedral highlighted by a multimedia show on the theme of the kings of France.
Even if it is rare to see snow falling in Toulouse, the city is not exempt from a Christmas market, yet another proof that they are not reserved for Alsace! From the last weekend of November until Christmas Day, this year, various districts of the city are draped in their costume of light to take you on a journey through the magical world of Christmas. You will have to wander around the city to discover the chalets offering sweets, mulled wine, churros... but also toys, games and designer items.