5 mins

Joyeux Noël! The 5 best Christmas markets in France

Where else would you want to sip a steaming mug of spiced mulled wine than in the world's wine capital? Here are the five best French Christmas markets to do so...

The best Christmas markets in France (Shutterstock)

1. Reims, Champagne

Reims Cathedral (Shutterstock)

Reims Cathedral (Shutterstock)

Wooden chalets and sparkling illuminations spring up around UNESCO-listed Reims Cathedral and the Palace of Tau courtyard, selling festive treats and artisan crafts including glass, ceramic and embroidery works.

A magical Ferris wheel overlooks the market; don’t miss the chance to see the spectacle from a height.

Christmas cheer runs from: 21 November to 28 December 2019

2. Mulhouse, Alsace

Place de la Réunion, Mulhouse (Shutterstock)

Place de la Réunion, Mulhouse (Shutterstock)

Mulhouse’s cloth-making heritage is celebrated in the city’s most important central square, Place de la Réunion, which dazzles during the festive period in what some applaud as Europe’s most colourful Christmas market.

Twinkling lights lead the way around the chalets, which sell French foodie goods like bredele (an Alsatian biscuit), cheese, wine and gingerbread.

Christmas cheer runs from: 23 November to 29 December 2019

3. Strasbourg, Alsace

Strasbourg at Christmas (Shutterstock)

Strasbourg at Christmas (Shutterstock)

Strasbourg’s Christkindelsmärik is the oldest Christmas market in France, located nearby the city’s dramatic Gothic cathedral.

The market celebrates the intricate work of hundreds of skilled craftspeople, selling their handmade goods from a cosy huddle of wooden chalets. There’s plenty to eat and drink; try the sweet and spicy pain d’epices.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 30 December 2019 

4. Colmar, Alsace

Colmar at Christmas (Shutterstock)

Colmar at Christmas (Shutterstock)

The quaint medieval setting of Colmar appears to be designed solely to celebrate Christmas. Timber-framed buildings are decked with colourful bunting and fairy lights, swaddling the town’s six Christmas markets in warmth and festive cheer.

There’s a gourmet food market in Place de la Cathédrale, markets in Place des Dominicains, Place de l’Ancienne Douane and Place Jeanne d’Arc, a children's Christmas market named La Petite Venise, and an indoor craft market at the town’s Renaissance Koïfhus building.

Christmas cheer runs from: 22 November to 29 December 2019

5. La Défense, Paris

Village de Noël Christmas market, La Défense (Dreamstime)

Village de Noël Christmas market, La Défense (Dreamstime)

For sheer scale and variety, head to the enormous Village de Noël Christmas market in Paris’ La Défense business district, where skyscrapers stand as a stark backdrop to some 300 little chalets selling just about every Christmas craft you could imagine.

Contemporary illuminations and decorations give the market a more modern feel than others in Paris, though you can expect all the Christmassy comforts like mulled wine, hot dogs and snug spaces to huddle together and raise a glass to the season.

More French inspiration for your visit:

5 family-friendly festive activities for Colmar

10 reasons why we'll always love Paris

6 unusual ways to experience France's Champagne region

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