The Best French Christmas Markets to Visit this Winter
French Christmas markets have a distinguished element to them in combining sparkling lights with France’s art and architecture. If you’re visiting France this winter, check out this list of the best Christmas markets in France that will leave a lasting impression on you.
Other Christmas market guides
- The best Christmas markets in Germany
- The best Christmas markets in the UK
- The best Christmas markets in the US
Christmas markets in Alsace
Most of the most beautiful French Christmas markets are in Alsace, and there is a reason behind that. Indeed, the tradition of Christmas markets is ancient, dating back to the Middle Ages within the Germanic Roman Empire, which then occupied a large portion of the continent. Because of its proximity to present-day Germany, Alsace has continued this tradition. The only problem lies in the question: which Christmas market to do in Alsace? Here are some of our best suggestions.
The most beautiful French Christmas markets in Alsace
Christmas market Strasbourg
It’s the oldest French Christmas market. Created in 1570, it is the market with the highest number of visitors per year: more than 2 million curious people come to discover the 300 or so chalets of the Strasbourg market.
With typical decorations, its glittering cathedral and majestic grand Sapin, fully savour this magical time of year in Strasbourg.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 24th 2023
Colmar Christmas market
You can find the real magic of French Christmas markets in Colmar. The city hosts not one, but 6 French Christmas markets in different places:
- The Marché de Noël Gourmand, Place de la Cathédrale to discover local products.
- The Christmas Market on the Place des Dominicains
- The Christmas Market in the Place de l’Ancienne Douane
- The Christmas Market for Craftsmen in the Koïfhus
- The Children’s Christmas Market in the Petite Venise district
- The Christmas Market on Place Jeanne d’Arc with its gourmet products
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 29th 2023
In addition, many activities await young and old to live the festivities to the end: ice rink, Father Christmas’ giant letterbox and Christmas carols from boats on the city’s canals.
Eguisheim Christmas market
In the heart of one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France, Eguisheim, this medieval city is a must on your route. Between its colourful Alsatian houses and its castle, you will be immersed in an authentic and traditional Christmas market. The artisans will present their know-how, and the villagers will make you discover the mulled wine and the local specialities.
Onwards to the traditions of Christmas in picturesque alleys illuminated for the occasion.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 23rd 2023
Ribeauvillé Christmas market
Travel back in time for a singular and authentic Christmas, between acrobats, jugglers or fire-eaters, the Ribeauvillé market is unique. The artists and musicians invite you to dance to the rhythm of a joyful farandole.
The half-timbered houses and the Alsatian alleys take you to the heart of an open-air festival. Meet the merchants decked out in period costumes and unearth handicraft treasures on their stalls and stalls in this French Christmas market.
Opening Dates : week end of the 2nd and 3rd of December and the 9th-10th of December 2023
Kaysersberg Christmas market
Close to the other Christmas markets, the one in Kaysersberg is the perfect junction between sweetness and authenticity. Among the most beautiful villages in France, Kaysersberg is also part of the Alsace Wine Route. It is in the historical centre that the wooden chalets are installed and ready to welcome you. You will be in a fairytale and enchanted world between blown glass items, wooden toys and Alsatian specialities.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 19th 2023
The Mulhouse Christmas market
A particular market to visit because it takes place in a fabric case. You are not dreaming; every year, the fabric is created and decorates the facades and the pedestrian streets. Climb 38 metres high on the Big wheel and watch the Christmas show before your eyes from the sky. Taste the local cakes in the wooden chalets: the Berawecka, a soft cake with pears, plums, figs, and kirsch and the Pebkucha, a cake of life made of honey and spices.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 23th 2023
Our hotel close to all markets
The Alexain Hotel Restaurant & Wellness is located in Colmar and has the perfect location to visit all the French Christmas markets in Alsace. The 42 rooms and suites offer you all the comfort to relax after walking through the different villages to discover the magic of Christmas.
Other French Christmas markets
Not all Christmas markets are limited to Alsace; other French regions also have their own.
The north is also home to many famous markets.
Christmas market Reims
The chalets offer you various festive, craft and gastronomic products on the square in front of the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral. When evening comes, the whole city of Reims lights up! A dynamic polychrome show comes to life on the cathedral’s façade, lighting it up.
Put on your ice skates and slide on the ice of the skating rink installed for the occasion.
Amiens Christmas Market
Nominated in the “Best Christmas Market in Europe” category by the European Best Destinations website, the Amiens market is a perfect mix of its chalets, animations, and the meeting with Father Christmas. Young and old will have many opportunities to marvel.
Opening Dates : November 25th to December 30th 2023
Lille Christmas Market
The city of the North shines with a thousand lights during the festive season. The city of light opens the doors of its market every year. The famous Christmas village is set up on Place Rihour. Let yourself be tempted by a warm chocolate waffle and a glass of mulled wine while strolling through the aisles of the chalets. Take a tour of Lille’s must-see attractions: the Big Wheel, the skating rink at the Chamber of Commerce and the wooden caterpillar built at the foot of the Opera House.
Opening Dates : November 22nd to December 31st 2023
From the South-East to the South-West, the famous Christmas market sets up.
Annecy Christmas market
Celebrate Christmas in the Alps by visiting the French Christmas market in Little Venice. Annecy is a must-see destination, and there are many things to do there, but even more so during the winter festivities. Every day, nearly 150 exhibitors offer Christmas decorations, gift ideas and handmade creations.
Opening Dates : November 25th 2023 to January 6th 2024
Lyon Christmas market
For a month, the market will be located on Place Carnot, between the Saône and the Rhône. We advise you to visit the market during the Lyon Festival of Lights from 7 to 10 December 2023. This is the most popular and well-known event in the city. Admire the light shows projected on the emblematic monuments of the city centre while taking a tour of the various chalets of the Christmas market.
Opening Dates : November 26th to December 24th 2023
Bordeaux Christmas market
Enjoy the magic of the festive season by sharing a convivial moment with friends or family at the Bordeaux market. More than 300,000 visitors discover a hundred trade stands, animations and various food outlets each year. It is a privileged place in the city’s heart, not to be missed if you visit Bordeaux at Christmas.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 27th 2023
Toulouse Christmas market
Place du Capitole; you can discover the authentic French Christmas market of the pink city. Stroll through the aisles lined with Christmas trees and numerous immaculate white chalets and search for the perfect gift: jewellery, unique designer pieces or wooden toys. Taste Christmas delicacies such as churros, mulled wine, and aligot and spend some time on the giant ice rink.
Opening Dates : November 24th to December 26th 2023
The Paris Christmas Market
The French capital transforms itself for the festive season and hosts many Christmas markets for the occasion. You will find open-air ice rinks to celebrate winter with your family, numerous chalets, and temporary restaurants. La Défense is the largest Christmas village in Île-de-France, with over 250 stands.
Opening Dates : November 16th to December 27th 2023
Christmas markets abroad
If France has many markets, our neighbouring countries also reflect wonders.
- The Prague Christmas market is the most romantic market in Europe to do as a couple.
- The Vienna Christmas market is a true musical baroque spectacle, ideal for those who love tradition.
- The London Christmas market is synonymous with festivity and is perfect for families. The most beautiful is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
- The Budapest Christmas market is famous for its 100% local products.
Christmas markets in Germany
Where it all began, where the markets were born, where French Christmas markets took their inspiration from: in Germany.
Berlin Christmas market
Berlin has over 80 Christmas markets, that’s a lot! One of the best is the WeihnachtsZauber, located on Gendarmenmarkt square. It is a traditional German Christmas market of wooden stalls selling handmade gifts.
The Bremen Christmas Market
Considered one of northern Germany’s most beautiful Christmas markets, Bremer Weihnachtsmarkt welcomes millions of visitors. It has around 200 stalls and is spread over several locations in the historic centre: around the Town Hall (Rathaus) and on Domshof Square, north of the cathedral.
Cologne Christmas Market
The most visited Christmas market in Germany is in Cologne. The Weihnachtsmarkt am Kölner Dom is at the foot of the majestic cathedral. 160 wooden chalets around a giant Christmas tree offer handicrafts, mulled wine and local specialities. For those who wish, St Nicholas also sets up his village to convey the spirit of Christmas, called the St Nicholas village.
If you wish to enjoy a romantic and fairy-tale atmosphere, discover the merry-go-round and the puppet theatre, which will warm the hearts of young and old.
Munich Christmas markets
Similar to French Christmas markets, Munich offers no less than 9 markets for the festive season. The main and most famous one is on the famous Marienplatz in the city centre. The other Christmas markets are smaller and attract more locals. Take advantage of this to find gift ideas for your loved ones. For an original gift, visit the medieval Christmas market at Wittelsbacherplatz. All markets offer activities such as a lantern parade for children and carol singing every evening.
The Best French Christmas markets: Final thoughts
French Christmas markets are in their own league compared to the rest of the world. They’re truly a wonderful and magical experience when you visit the region in the winter.
If that’s not enough, get inspired by our article on the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany!