The best Christmas markets in France are to be found in the East (Strasbourg), North (Rouen, Amiens, Reims and Lille) and in the South (Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Nice and Menton). I have heard from friends that the Christmas market in Bordeaux in Western France, is very special and is growing in size each year. Here we focus on the best Christmas markets in the South of France.
Best Christmas markets France - South
There are a number of Christmas markets spread over the South of France, but perhaps the best known and most visited are the markets in Nice, Aix-en-Provence and Avignon. But I would also give a special mention to the Christmas market in Menton, France, because although smaller than the others, it is a real joy to visit.
Avignon Christmas market in France
I would perhaps put the Avignon Christmas market as my first choice because it doesn't quite feel as purely commercial as the other Christmas markets I have been to. The Avignon Chritmas market takes over the whole town and the different nativity scenes in the local Churches and along the Palais du Roure, as well as the floodlit buildings, brings a special atmosphere to the event. The music and street entertainers also make it a great event for the kids. The Avignon France Christmas market will be held from 3 December 2016 until 7 January 2017, for more information please visit our article Avignon Christmas market in France.
If you are thinking of visiting Avignon Christmas market, then we can help you find accommodation in Avignon for you and your family (visit Avignon accommodation for our full listing).
Christmas market in Aix-en-Provence
Christmas is an especially good time for visiting Aix-en-Provence because the Christmas market brings a real distinct atmosphere to the city. The main pedestrianised shopping street in Aix-en-Provence, the tree-lined Cours Mirabeau, is decked out with Christmas lights, decorations and a whole collection of market stalls selling local food and wine, Christmas gift ideas and various craftwork. During December, around 60 Chalets are set up along the Cours Mirabeau and the boutique shops along the street compete with each other for the best Christmas decorations. The particular French Christmas tradition of "Santons" or Nativity figurines features heavily at the Christmas market in Aix. These are sold at various market stalls on the Cours Mirabeau and along Allees Provencales.
Further information on the Christmas market in Aix can be found at Aix-en-Provence Christmas market. If you are looking to visit at any time of year, you can a range of Aix-en-Provence accommodation options here.
Nice Christmas market France
The biggest Christmas market in the South of France is held in Nice every year. The "Le Village de Noel" is held in the central Jardin Albert 1er that incorporates an ice rink, a Ferris wheel and a lot of Christmas related food and drink. The Nice Christmas market is themed around an alpine village and you will see the stalls located in 60 French mountain chalets and an alpine forest constructed from over 600 pine trees. Perhaps the most picturesque element of the Nice Christmas festival however is the christmas lights and decorations along the Promenade des Anglais. The Nice Christmas market runs from 3 December 2016 to 1 Jan 2017 in the Jardin de Albert 1er and is open from 11.00 to 20.00. Papa Noel makes an appearance from his busy Christmas schedule from 19 to 25 December 2016 (from 14.00 to 19.00).
If you are planning on visiting Nice Christmas market, it is also an opportunity to pop down the coast to visit the nearby Menton Christmas market (just 20kms away). For more information on the Nice Christmas market please visit our article Christmas in Nice. We can also provide a range of accommodation options for you to stay in Nice during Christmas (Nice apartments to rent).
Menton Christmas market France
The Menton Christmas market takes place from 3 December 2016 to 3 January 2017. The Menton Christmas market is a good place to bring families to shop because it is not too crowded and there plenty of activities for the kids to enjoy. The market is centred on the Bioves Gardens, but you will also find events taking place at other locations including Les Halles (the indoor market) and the Marché du Carei, located on the Promenade du Maréchal Leclerc. But what makes the Menton Christmas market so special is that the whole town gets involved in the festivities. All throughout Menton you will find lovely nativity scenes displayed in doorways, small alleys and in the shops. The market is open from 10.00am through to 19.00pm each day. The Menton Christmas market, with its extraordinary nativity scenes, is widely regarded as one of the most colourful Christmas markets in France. Also, with Nice just down the road, you can take in two of the best Christamas markets in France during your stay.