City Breaks

What's Happening in France this Winter

We look at some of the major events happening in France, this winter.

Marche de Noel sign at Lille’s Christmas Market © Guillaume Baviere

We’ve recently taken a look at some of the best festive events and fun festivals that are happening in France this winter. We’ve looked closely at the Alsace region of France, but now it’s time to look a little closer at some of the wonderful wintery happenings across the rest of France, at one of the most charming times of year.

Lille Christmas Market

One of the most picturesque cities in northern France, Lille welcomes the festive season with a month-long Christmas market. Despite being a major city in France, Lille is actually quite an underrated destination. A cultural hotpot, Lille boasts a stunning old town, where locals converse in charming Flemish accents, and the nightlife is driven by a flourishing student population.

The quaint Christmas market boasts wooden chalets selling delicious festive treats, like gingerbread, fresh crepes, and hazelnut doughnuts, as well as locally-made arts and crafts, which serve as charming presents for loved ones back home. Take a ride on the large Ferris Wheel at night as it lights up the market below, and take a picture in front of the 18-metre-high Christmas tree which towers over Lille’s town centre.

The Lille Christmas Market is open from 18th November to 30th December 2015.

 An overview of the Lille Christmas Market.
An overview of the Lille Christmas Market. © Guillaume Baviere

Fête des Lumières, Lyon

One of France’s biggest winter festivals, Lyon’s Fête des Lumières lights up the city with a range of different light installations, over four nights in December. Residential streets, busy town squares and snow-covered parks come alive with coloured lights, created by over 70 different light installations. The event attracts millions of visitors from all across Europe, and it’s a wonderful chance to see Lyon buzzing with a festive ambience.

During the festival, the residents of Lyon celebrate the Virgin Mary, as her statue stands proudly on Fourvière hill for the whole city to see. As you stroll the streets of Lyon, you’ll see candles in people’s windows, which marks the festival of light. The origins of the festival date back to 1852, when the Virgin Mary statue was installed and the locals suffered from sudden stormy weather. When the weather subsided, the locals put candles and lights on their window sills, and this tradition is still honoured to this day.

The Fête des Lumières takes place between 5th and 8th December, 2015.

 The amazing Ferris Wheel at the Fête des Lumières, Lyon
The amazing Ferris Wheel at the Fête des Lumières, Lyon © Matthieu Blanco

Amiens Christmas Market

A delightful city in northern France, Amiens often takes second place to visitors who visit Paris, and other larger cities, during winter. Those who do chose Amiens, are rewarded with awe-inspiring Gothic cathedrals, a charming pedestrianised city centre and a youthful buzz, which is evidence of the Amiens’ status as a university city. Each year Amiens plays host to a wonderful Christmas market, which takes place in the city centre.

Known for selling some of the best local produce in northern France, the chalets at Amiens sell everything you could want, from tender eel, to rare stones. Many visitors from the UK visit Amiens to taste the city’s famous macarons. Distinctly different from the colourful French macarons which we know and love, the ones from Amiens are simple, golden in colour, and absolutely delicious.

The Amiens Christmas Market will take place between 20th November and 30th December 2015.

Excited to head to France this winter?

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