If there is one thing (amongst many) that the French do well, it is the Christmas market. At a Christmas market in France you’ll find warming cups of vin chaud and handfuls of amandes pralinés being handed out from the decorated Christmas chalets. If the snow happens to fall, then the experience promises to be even more magical.
Bordeaux Christmas market
Take a cheap flight to Bordeaux from the UK with Easyjet and experience one of the best Christmas markets that the South West of France has to offer.
From the 29 November to the 29 December this year (2013), the Allées de Tourny will be transformed into a winter wonderland with chalets galore selling a bewildering array of gastronomic delights, handmade crafts and products unique to the SW of France. You’ll find wine, chocolates, preserves and macarons share space with Laguiole knives, mohair jumpers, beautiful ceramics and stunning handmade jewellery. For the children there is of course Father Christmas as well as a giant bubble blower on stilts (yes, really!) and a fairytale carousel. Full details about the Bordeaux Christmas market can be found on their website.
You’ll no doubt be wanting to stay somewhere that is within walking distance of the Christmas market, so I would highly recommend this family-friendly boutique bed and breakfast which is also close to a tram stop to get you around the city. It really is great value for a city centre guest house and the hosts are lovely welcoming people.
Reims Christmas Market
The Champagne region is only a 3 hour drive from Calais so why not take the car over, visit one of the best Christmas markets in France in the city of Reims. Stock up on great value Champagne for the end of year festivities at the same time! Outside of Alsace, the Reims Christmas market is the biggest Christmas market in France so well worth a visit.
It runs from the 23 November to the 30 December and in the streets around Reims cathedral you will discover no less than 135 chalets. They sell gastronomic delights, locally made artisanal and festive products amongst other things. If you have a head for heights, take a ride on the big wheel which will give you a birds-eye view of Reims from a height of 40 metres! Or try your hand at ski de fond or the luge on the specially designed track in the centre of the city – now that will be something to remember. As you wander the fairy-lit streets you will be entertained by musicians and dancers who will not fail to get you into the Christmas spirit.
Throughout the Champagne region, 46 towns and villages along the ‘Chemin des Crêches’ will be carrying on the Christmas theme with their own Christmas markets, entertainment and Christmas lights. Stay in the heart of the region and you will be able to experience the best of the Christmas spirit
Clermont-Ferrand Christmas market
With cheap flights from the UK with Easyjet, Clermont-Ferrand is very accessible as a winter break destination. Not only is the Super Besse ski resort in the Sancy mountains now open thanks to excellent early snow fall, but the Christmas Market in Clermont-Ferrand is now underway and will run until the 29 December. In the heart of the historic old town, the Christmas market is filled with seasonal illuminations and chalets selling various local products and handmade gifts. Take a ride on the big wheel or hop on the board the little train and soak up the full Christmas spirit on an hour long ride around the old quarter of the town.
Christine’s B&B is in a lovely part of the Auvergne countryside from which Clermont and also Super Besse are easily accessible. It’s great value, has stunning winter views and a great spot for a Winter break