Colmar is a delightfully colourful Christmas paradise
Image by Flickr user Derrick Brutel
When winter rolls around I’m always excited for Christmas – it’s never too early in my opinion! I absolutely love buying gifts for friends and family, and it’s a brilliant time of year to visit my mother’s homeland – France – as there are some really great shopping opportunities to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for homemade market crafts or traditional French sweets, I’ve made a list of some of my favourite places to enjoy Christmas shopping in France.
Vieux Lille – Lille
One of the best places for shopping in northern France is the historic centre of Lille, also known as Vieux Lille. Not only is this the most beautiful part of the city, with captivating historical architecture, it also boasts the best Christmas shopping opportunities. During Christmas time I like to splash out a little on loved ones, and in Vieux Lille there are some fantastic high-end French stores to enjoy, as well as dozens of smaller, local shops, restaurants and cafés.
One of my favourite streets is Rue Basse, which boasts antique shops, gorgeous boutiques and art galleries, all housed in 18th century grandeur. You could easily spend hours exploring the narrow shopping streets of Vieux Lille, so it’s perfect for a day trip to France. Outside of the historic centre, don’t miss the brilliant flea market, La Braderie. Lille is also home to a famous Christmas market, which you can find in Place Rihour. Explore the festive sights in Lille
© Flickr user Dara
Auchan and Cité Europe – Calais
When it comes to practical Christmas shopping, Calais can’t be beat. There are several supermarket and hypermarkets to enjoy in Calais, and exploring their many aisles, lined with delicious French products, is an adventure in itself! I love finding delicious gourmet foods, as well as picking up some wine from Calais Vins to enjoy around Christmas time.
Auchan and Cité Europe are two of the best supermarkets in Calais, so don’t miss them! The town is more than just hypermarkets, however, and there are some lovely smaller shops to check out, such as La Maison du Fromage et des Vins, which is a delightful store selling deli products including cheeses and wine. There is more than just supermarkets – as good as they are!
© Flickr user G Baviere
Christmas and covered markets – Colmar
There are countless Christmas markets taking place across France during the festive period, but Colmar also boasts a brilliant covered market, where you’ll find all kinds of food products, including hot pretzels, Munster cheese and wild-boar saucisson, plus a number of cafés to enjoy when you need a break.
With its canals running through the city centre, most of which is pedestrianised, Colmar is a great place to visit for a spot of Christmas shopping. Pick up some local cheese from Fromagerie St-Nicholas and find beautifully-crafted chocolates at Choco en Têtes. Colmar is a picture-perfect shopping destination.
© Flickr user Flavio Ensiki
Rue Sainte-Catherine – Bordeaux
Any trip to Bordeaux is worth talking about. The beautiful city sits alongside the Garonne River in southwestern France, and it’s always been one of my favourite places to visit – not least because of the wine! As well as all this, Bordeaux has one of the longest pedestrianised shopping streets in France – Rue Saint Catherine.
Stretching out for around 1.2 kilometres, the street is home to all the best French chain stores, most of which can be found on the northern part, while the south is home to more chic and bohemian shops and restaurants. Don't miss the beautiful Grand Théâtre, and the Galerie Bordelaise.
Travelling to France for some Christmas shopping? You can get from Folkestone to Calais in just 35-minutes with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, making it the perfect festive day trip.