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CHRISTMAS

IN PICTURES: The best Christmas markets to visit in France in 2018

France has its fair share of wonderful Christmas markets to choose from, especially if you head east. Here’s a handy list of the best marchés de noel in 2018.

IN PICTURES: The best Christmas markets to visit in France in 2018
Photo: Village De Noel Paris La Defense/Facebook
Marchés de Noël have been popular in Alsace and northern France since the 16th century, and nowadays France boasts the second largest number of Christmas markets in Europe.
 
They are famous for selling regional produce and are filled with yummy treats from mulled wine to Alsace Bredele biscuits.
 
Here are some of the most picturesque and charming Christmas markets to visit in France in 2018. 
 
PARIS: Tuileries (home to the cancelled Champs-Elysées Christmas Market)
 
A year after the emblematic Champ-Elysees Christmas market was cancelled after being deemed too tacky by city officials, the iconic Christmas market has found a new home in as equally a swanky spot as its previous location: the Tuileries gardens situated right in front of the Louvre.
 
Dubbed La Magie de Noel (The Magic of Christmas), the market features a giant ice rink, a ferris wheel and 120 stalls serving up Christmas food specialties from 20 French regions. There's also a host of artisans showcasing and selling their creations, and kids can look forward to a free theatre and a Guignol puppet show on weekends.
 
Open 24 November to 6 January. Find out more here
 
 
PARIS: L’Arche de Noël à la Défense
 
This is the largest of all the Christmas markets in Paris and certainly one of the merriest. Its 350 or so stalls are packed full of festive decorations, original presents and tasty treats. Set in the heart of the busy business district, the Christmas village makes for a quirky contrast with the tall skyscrapers.
 
Open 22 November to 29 December. Find out more here
 
Photo :Village De Noel Paris La Defense/Facebook
 
 
MONTBELIARD
 
The picturesque city of Montbéliard in the France's eastern Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region holds one of the country's most stunning Christmas markets. Here, visitors will find themselves fully immersed in festive spirit, with the craft market filled with handmade, traditional products, the festive light display and illuminated streets. And for the adventurous, there's even an ice rink.
 
Open 24 November to 24 December. Find out more here
 
 
AMIENS
 
Amiens Christmas market is renowned for its local produce: sugary delights like macaroons and tuiles amienoises (almond biscuits) as well as glass, soaps, and angora pullovers. But what makes Amiens really stand out is the spectacular “son et lumière” (light and sound) show projected onto the town’s gothic cathedral every night. 
 
Open 23 November to 31 December. Find out more here
 
Photo: Marché de Noël Amiens/Facebook
 
STRASBOURG 
 
This is the oldest marché de Noël in France, dating back to the 16th century. Set in the quaint, medieval old town, it has 300 stalls, making it one of the largest markets in Europe. The heart of the festivities is Place de la Cathédrale, in front of the gothic cathedral.
 
Open 23 November to 30 December. Find out more here or visit the Strasbourg Christmas Market Facebook page
 
 
Photos: Strasbourg Tourism 
 
REIMS
 
Reims Christmas market, in the Champagne region of France, is one of the best for pure yuletide joy and Christmas cheer. They keep their market lively with winter sports at the dry ski slope and street performances from carollers, jazz bands, jugglers and organ grinders.  A total of 140 little wooden chalets will be selling local crafts, as well as delicacies from the region, so expect a lot of champagne.
 
Open 21 November to 28 December. Find out more here (English guide). 
 
Photo: AFP
 
 
 
LICQUES
 
This town in the Nord Pas-de-Calais region wins for originality. Here the focus is on fine festive food, especially top quality poultry. Known as the Fête de la Dinde their Christmas food market includes a parade of live turkeys through the centre of town. This is followed by a swig of the local liqueur, Licquoise, before buyers personally select their Christmas dinner.
 
Festival runs on December 14, 15, 16. Find out more here
 
 
 
MULHOUSE Les étoffes de Noël
 
Mulhouse has a celebrated tradition of textiles (étoffes) and every Christmas they create a new festive cloth which is then used to decorate the market. Fairy lights, chalets and stalls create an Alsatian winter wonderland where, thanks to Mulhouse’s location near the Swiss and German borders, it’s no surprise to find stalls selling crafts from Mulhouse alongside traditional Swiss and Vosgien gifts.
 
Open 24 November to 27 December. Find out more here or visit the Mulhouse Christmas Market Facebook page. 
 
Photo: Marché de Noël Mulhouse/Facebook
Photo: Vincent Desjardins
 
LILLE
 
This northern city has one of the most popular Christmas markets in France, attracting 900,000 visitors every year. Almost 100 stalls in the central Place Rihour sell traditional goodies like Maroilles cheese, chicory pâté and babeluttes (soft caramels). In the nearby Grand Place, a 50-metre-high ferris wheel offers fantastic views over Lille’s Flemish-Renaissance architecture, festooned with sparkling Christmas fairy lights.
 
Open 23 November to 30 December. Find out more here or visit their Facebook page
 
Photo: Marché de Noël Lille/Facebook
 
ARRAS
 
This charming town in the north of France is the perfect setting for a magical Christmas market. A total of 90 stalls are set up in the Grand Place where scents of mulled wine mingle with hot chocolate and Flemish waffles – a local specialty. There are plenty of musical events and street performances from fire-eaters and jugglers, as well as a daily visit from Santa Claus. Open until December 30th.
 
Open 30 November to 30 December. Find out more here or visit their Facebook page
 
Photo: Marché de Noël Arras/Facebook
 
COLMAR.
 
This is one of the prettiest Christmas markets thanks to its almost entirely pedestrianized town centre, medieval Alsace architecture and annual decorations competition. Twinkling fairy lights and glowing Rudolphs bedeck balconies and shopfront windows alike. The children’s market in Petite Venise includes stalls selling handcrafted toys and a giant letter box for posting a wish-list to Santa.
 
Open 23 November to 30 December. Find out more here
 
Photo: Marché de Noel de Alsace
 
ROUEN
 
The gothic cathedral in the historic part of town is the perfect backdrop to the Rouen Christmas market. Plenty of little stalls sell delicious mulled wine, local specialties and other typical Christmas goods. There’s a whole part of the market dedicated to children and you can show off your ice skating skills on an outdoor rink.
 
Open 28 November to 30 December . Find out more here or visit their Facebook page.  
 
 

Photo: Marché de Noël Rouen/Facebook
 
BORDEAUX
 
The Bordeaux Christmas market has become a holiday tradition in the region. Over 150 exhibitors sell unique gifts and creations from all over the world. Stroll around the illuminated market, sip on a cup of mulled wine and enjoy some delicious treats.
 
Open 30 November to 30 December. Find out more here or visit their Facebook page
 
Photo: Marché de Noël Bordeaux/Facebook
 
 

Vous avez été nombreux pour ce week-end d'ouverture! ?✨ #marchenoelbdx

Une publication partagée par Marché De Noël Bordeaux (@marchenoelbdx) le 26 Nov. 2017 à 9h23 PST

 
METZ
 
By some accounts France's second most visited Christmas market after Strasbourg, Metz in the Grand Est is a must-visit. With six of the city's squares filled with stalls dedicated to celebrating the festive period, it's impossible not to get into the festive spirit. Enjoy traditional treats like the merry-go-round, a walk through the magical forest or stock up on gastronomic Christmas essentials at the city market hall. 
 
Open 17 November to 6 January. Find out more here
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Nos ambassadeurs vous font découvrir ou redécouvrir Metz et ses environs à travers vos plus belles photographies. Nous vous présentons notre coup de ? du jour; la place Saint-Louis et son ambiance chaleureuse à l'approche de Noël ?. BRAVO à @ladygrenat ? Suivez @metznotreville et taguez vos photographies sur #metznotreville Photo Sélectionnée par @unefilledepaname ? L'équipe Metznotreville : @tidonots / @the_dream_traveler / @etrephemere / @unefilledepaname / @lagockichristophe / @pinksky57 / @allwarel? . . #mnv_ladygrenat #coupdecoeurgrandest #christmas #placesaintlouis #noel #streetphotographer #marchedenoel #enjoymoselle #metz #villedemetz #grandest #jaimemetz #inspiremetz #weheartmetz #topmetzphoto #moselle #yourhappyfrance #francetourisme #hello_france #igersmetz #moselletourisme #lorraine #metzcapitale #lovemoselle #merveillesdefrance

A post shared by Metz Notre Ville ? (@metznotreville) on Nov 26, 2018 at 3:04am PST

 
 
 

#metz #marchedenoelmetz #cathedralemetz

Une publication partagée par Ric Hô (@rico_photographe) le 15 Déc. 2016 à 4h21 PST

RIQUEWIHR

Officially one of France's most beautiful villages, Riquewihr's fairytale atmosphere makes it the ideal location to celebrate the festive season. Wander the medieval cobbled streets and see the village at its most stunning. You'll find a Christmassy world of tasting sessions, concerts, exhibitions and delicious food.

Open 1 to 23 December. Find out more here (English guide).

 

Christmas market in Riquewihr ?⛄️? #riquewihr #france #weihnachtsmarkt #christmasmarket

Une publication partagée par CHRIS ✨ (@chris.wa.de) le 26 Nov. 2017 à 12h46 PST

 

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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