11 October 2019 by Jessica Boston
Make 2019 your year to discover Christmas in France!
The festive season is a great time to visit France! Why not take a pre-Christmas break to explore magical Christmas markets, stock up on champagne, wine and delicious cheeses, and buy some unique gifts for friends and family? You could even plan a holiday over Christmas Day itself – ideal to overcome a lack of space at home by renting a large holiday property big enough for all the family, or if you’re looking to escape from it all, a cosy gite for two in France is the perfect retreat!
Christmas markets are popular in France with most towns and villages offering picturesque December markets with stalls selling local artisan gifts, food and festive decorations. There is usually entertainment too with live music, fairground rides and ice rinks as well as a chance to drink vin chaud or hot chocolate and try local street food specialities. Some of the most famous Christmas markets in France are in Paris and the Alsace region, but you’ll also find impressive ones all across France including those in Nantes, Caen and Rouen that are more easily accessible for a short break.
Festive food and drink
It goes without saying that France is a wonderful place to buy wine for your festive parties and celebrations; visit a vineyard for a tasting session and shopping will never have been so much fun! You’re also likely to get great value for money, especially when buying in bulk. No Christmas in France is complete without Champagne so don’t forget to put some fizz on your shopping list too!
The main Christmas celebration meal happens on Christmas Eve in France and the food is predictably luxurious with caviar, smoked salmon, oysters, lobster, Foie Gras, roasted game birds, rich chocolate buche de noel and fine French cheeses featuring on the menu. If you’re in France for the big day you’ll be spoilt for choice with delicious, fresh, local ingredients to cook with. Elevate the classic British Christmas lunch serving smoked salmon, roast goose with chestnuts, chocolate roulade and a mouthwatering cheese board, or go further sampling French classic recipes for the occasion. If you’re looking for additions to bring home to your festive table, tins of foie gras pate, jars of caviar, cheeses and preserved fruits all travel well, and regional specialities like Normandy Calvados, salted Brittany butter and caramel, and jars of rich confit du canard from Gascony are all ideal treats to bring home from your trip.
Winter is a great time to visit some of the most famous attractions in France, the crowds of summer are long gone and many places are beautifully decorated for the festive season. Mont Saint Michel is dotted with Christmas trees and festooned in over 7km of fairy lights making it even more magical than usual after dark. Many of the chateaux of the Loire Valley also have special events at this time of year with festive decorations, actors in period costume setting the scene, illuminated garden trails, music, craft workshops and ice skating or markets set against the stunning backdrop of these gorgeous castles. Wherever you go there are sure to be local events to enjoy from carol concerts and Christmas markets to light shows, festivals and processions. Pick a destination and check with the local tourist office to find out what’s on during your stay.
Winter holidays and short breaks in France during the festive season have so much to offer; relax and enjoy cosy firesides, romantic strolls in the markets and countryside, or bring family and friends for an unforgettable Christmas celebration. Search our portfolio for the perfect place to stay and try Christmas in France this year!