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French Fridays: France’s Christmas Markets


‘Tis the season for Christmas Markets of France!

Usually opening at the end of November or beginning of December, Christmas Markets are a tradition in France. Enchanting aromas of mulled wine and roasted nuts waft through the streets. Charming wooden chalets abound with various French regional specialties, gingerbread, sausages, artisan products and unique handcrafted toys. A fun and festive way to enjoy the season, we present
The Barge Lady’s French Christmas Market picks:


Marche de Noel – Strasbourg, France
The father of French Christmas markets, the famous Marché de Noël, pictured above, takes place in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace. Dating back to the 16th century, it is the oldest and largest Christmas Market in France. Situated in front of Strasbourg’s great Gothic cathedral, markets span the historical city center. Old postcards and engravings, glass paintings, music boxes, pottery and specialties like spiced bread are a sample of what await you in the market stalls. There’s also an ice rink in place du Château,  50 plus concerts in the cathedral and city churches, and storytelling and festivities for children.
Open: November 24 – December 31, 2012
Further information: http://www.noel.strasbourg.eu/index.php?page=1&id_lang=2

La Defense Christmas Market – Paris, France
Parvis de la Défense
Located on the outskirts of Paris, this Christmas market is well worth the visit! 350 chalets filled with local artisan crafts, jewelery and food specialties, topped off by an array of festive lights, decorations, including its red carpet and ice rink, make this Christmas market, situated next to the magnificent Grand Arch, one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Paris. Go in the evening when it is all lit up and experience the full magic!
Open: November 16th – December 29, 2012

Trocadero Gardens Christmas Market

Trocadéro, Paris, 75016, 16th Arrondissement
The Eiffel Tower serves as the backdrop for this fabulous Christmas market, held annually in the Trocadero Gardens. Need we say more?! After browsing the stalls, climb up to the Palais de Chaillot and take in the breathtaking views from its balconies.
Open: From December 13th, 2012 – January 6th, 2013

Saint Sulpice Christmas Village

Place Saint-Sulpice, 75006, 6th Arrondissement
In December, Place Saint Sulpice transforms into its very own “Village de Noel, or Christmas Village. Though on the smaller side, many artists gather to showcase their works at this market. Find a good selection of quality art works made from a variety of materials including wood, glass and textiles.
Open: December 1-24, 2012

Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées

Avenue Des Champs-Elysees, 75008, 8th Arrondissement
The twinkling lights along the iconic Champs Elysees provide a magical setting for the largest Christmas market within Paris’s city limits.
Open: November 16th, 2012 – January 6th, 2013

Lille Christmas Market – Lille, France

More than 80 colorful stalls sell local arts, crafts and regional food specialities such as Maroilles cheese, chicory pâté, macaroons and babeluttes (soft caramels). Located next door to Grand Place , it is surrounded by some of the city’s finest architecture, including the 18th-century, Flemish-Renaissance Vieille Bourse.  Take in the splendor of the Christmas village with a ride on the Ferris Wheel.
Open: November 24 – December 24, 2012
Further information: www.lilletourism.com


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