Christmas markets in France bring together three things that the French do best: food, tradition, and festivity. Known as Marché de Noel, these colourful pop-up villages of wooden chalets are a great way to get in the mood – vin chaud and roasted chestnuts, anyone? There are famous examples across northeast France but we’ve picked out five here you might not have known about….
Perhaps not a surprise that there might be great markets all over the capital, from Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés to Place de la Nation on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées and in Place du Trocadéro – and Notre Dame’s is one of the prettiest on Quai Montebello.
This little gem of an apartment is a stone’s throw from Notre Dame in the Marais – for less than €500,000!
Now for seasonal food, the Dordogne is hard to beat. The second most important Christmas market in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine takes place in the foodie’s paradise of Sarlat, and each year has a different theme – this year is Mexico. But don’t worry, it’s not all tequila, you can still buy your regional wines, artisan beer, have fun at the ice rink, enjoy magic shows and dance every Saturday.
This wonderful four-bedroom house is in the medieval town with room for a swimming pool.
Next to Nice’s famous old town, is an amazingly colourful collection of alpine chalets and pine trees in Jardin Albert, with a Ferris wheel, ice rink and a wonderful choice of Provencal food and wine. Fairy lights strung out along the Promenade des Anglais make for a magical atmosphere under balmy blue skies. Enjoy Christmas carols sung in Occitane too!
On the famed Place Garibaldi is a stunning three-bedroom apartment with high ceilings and elegant balconies.
Held in Place du Capitole in the very heart of Toulouse, this is an impressive market ideal for some unique Christmas gift ideas including local woodcrafts and regional specialities. You can find toys, pottery, jewellery, candles, clothing and leather goods, and plenty of duck and cassoulet, no doubt!
Close by is this stylish three-bedroom apartment with contemporary décor and south-facing balcony – for less than €300,000.
Avignon sparkles during its grand Christmas Market that runs throughout December in Place de l’Horloge, the central square. As well as streets lit up with fairy lights there’s live music and stalls selling crafts and food. A must-see is the ‘Chemin des Crèches’, a very pretty walk through the different animated and illuminated nativity scenes, allowing you to discover the fabulous traditional ‘santons’ figures which are hand-painted figurines made from wood or clay.
Check out this tastefully renovated two-bedroom apartment in the historic quarter.