October 20, 2015

The gates of Strasbourg Christmas Market

France in winter is truly magical. In the run up to Christmas, the atmosphere gets festive and some wonderful attractions pop up across the country for you to enjoy. We know how tricky it can be to make plans to suit both you and your pets, so here are some of our favourite cultural attractions in France for you both to enjoy this winter.

Lille Christmas Market

For one entire month in winter, the city of Lille in northern France comes alive with festivity in the form of its famous Christmas market. Thousands of twinkling lights fill the city centre with a warm glow, and each year a large Ferris Wheel overlooks the many Christmas stalls selling festive treats and gifts. It really is a winter wonderland, and as it’s all outside you’ll be able to take your pet for a walk around the stalls without any hassle.

 Enjoy delicious baked goods at one of France’s Christmas Markets.
Enjoy delicious baked goods at one of France’s Christmas Markets.

Wooden chalets overflow with baked goods, toys, confectionary, and decorations for you to enjoy at Christmas, or to give as gifts to loved ones. Stroll around with your furry friend and enjoy a warm waffle, or perhaps a fresh crepe with Nutella and chopped walnuts. Delicious! Whatever your budget, there’s something here to suit, and it’s a wonderful place to visit even if you’re just passing through.

This market is held annually between the 18th of November and the 30th of December, 2015. Actual dates may vary.

Château de Chenonceau

When the French landscape is covered in a light layer of frost, its most visually exciting attractions are imbued with another level of beauty to that of the warmer months. Often it’s not possible to take your dog with you when visiting historical landmarks, but the large grounds of the Château de Chenonceau in central France welcome pets, and the castle even has a few animals of its own, from donkeys to coypus.

 The façade of the Château de Chenonceau.
The façade of the Château de Chenonceau.

Dogs must be kept on a lead while walking through the grounds, and if you have a small dog, you can even carry it into the castle itself. Built over the river Cher, the Château de Chenonceau was built in the 16th century and is a stunning place to visit. As well as impeccable grounds outside with a range of wildlife and even a maze, inside you’ll find well-preserved paintings, tapestries and furniture. For the Christmas holidays, expect wonderful decorations throughout the castle.

Take a look at the Château de Chenonceau opening times before you visit.

Strasbourg Christmas Market

Tucked neatly beside the German border, Strasbourg can be found in eastern France, and each winter hosts one of Europe’s most impressive Christmas markets. It’s one of the oldest and largest Christmas markets in France, having been going strong for over 400 years and boasting around 300 chalets. Taking your pet for a jovial walk around the market stalls, with the stunning Strasbourg cathedral standing tall over the festivities, is a great way to spend your winter break.

The market is so well known that it has earned the title of ‘the Capital of Christmas’. Although beautiful day or night, evening is surely the best time to visit as you’ll see the Alsatian Christmas decorations and lights at their best. A huge fir tree, musical carousel and delicious traditional festive treats are just some of the things you can enjoy with your pet at the Strasbourg Christmas Market.

The market transforms Strasbourg between the dates of the 27th November to the 31st December, 2015.

La Cité, Carcassonne

Some places receive so many visitors that, especially in the summer months, the charm of the experience can get lost. Carcassonne’s medieval citadel is one such place. Sat safely atop a steep rocky hill, the defensive walls of this French fortress have been used for over 2,000 years to protect the city, and today they are the main reason for Carcassonne’s popularity, attracting millions of visitors every year.

 La Cité, at Carcassonne.
La Cité, at Carcassonne.

With two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the citadel and the Canal du Midi, the grounds of Carcassonne provide a beautiful walk for you and your pet. The citadel is incredibly well preserved, boasting 52 stone towers, topped with 19th century roofs, and two sets of battlements. Inside the citadel, you’ll find a wonderful labyrinth of cobbled alleyways and streets, lined with quaint shops and restaurants. The city also boasts an impressive Gothic cathedral, although you probably won’t be able to take pets inside.

Remember to check the citadel opening times before your visit.

Feeling inspired to visit some of our favourite winter attractions?

With Eurotunnel Le Shuttle taking you from Folkestone to Calais in just 35 minutes, bringing your pets on holiday has never been simpler. All they need is a pet passport and return ticket.

Photo Credits:
The façade of the Château de Chenonceau. - Dennis Jarvis
La Cité, at Carcassonne. - Vicente Villamón
Enjoy delicious baked goods at one of France’s Christmas Markets. - (vincent desjardins)
The gates of Strasbourg Christmas Market - Tristan Schmurr

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