The capital of Christmas in France, home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in the world, Strasbourg in Alsace is THE place to go if you love Christmas and a magical atmosphere.
2. Captivating Colmar
Not far from Strasbourg is the lovely historic city of Colmar. Fairy-tale pretty, it positively sparkles at Christmas.
3. Luscious Lille
The northern French city of Lille is a gastronomic delight and a shopper’s paradise. The fabulous architecture, the narrow winding streets and the incredible museums and art venues here make this one of the best places for a spot of Christmas shopping in Europe. (See our feature 10 of the most brilliant places to eat and drink in Lille).
4. Lovely Le Touquet
This little town on the Opal Coast of northern France in Pas de Calais is glamorous and packs a punch above its weight at Christmas. Thousands of twinkling lights, Parisian style shops and a sensational selfie spot – the bandstand in the park. (Read our feature on this unique French seaside resort with a British vibe).
5. Exquisite Eguisheim
Unbelievably pretty, Equisheim in Alsace is a romantic and perfect get away from the big city atmosphere town.
6. Ravishing Riquewihr
Irresistible, jaw-droppingly lovely, Riquewihr is a special place all year round but at Christmas its streets are lit up and it’s a truly captivating little town. There’s a special shop dedicated to Christmas, fabulous restaurants and gorgeous architecture.
7. Fascinating Reims
Champagne in Reims at Christmas – it doesn’t get much more glamorous than that does it?! This is a town that knows how to put on a show and then toast it with festive fizz.
8. Chateau chic
Many chateaux in France dress up for Christmas but one of the best has to be the gorgeous Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte in France (it’s about an hour from the centre of Paris). Fake snow (if the real thing doesn’t materialise), beautiful decorations, a carousel in the grounds – sublime and stunning.
9. Picture perfect Paris
What’s to say, Paris is always a good idea but at Christmas, perhaps just that little bit more special.
10. Champagne show-stopper
It’s the ultimate in festive tipples; Christmas just isn’t Christmas without a glass of Champagne! (Read our feature: Champagne the French Elixir)
11. Spell-binding La Rochelle
Bags of charm, this beguiling port town in Poitou-Charentes wears it’s Christmas finery with style and panache. If you love oysters at Christmas, you’ll adore La Rochelle for its fresh seafood and festive magic.
12. 13 Desserts of Provence
In Provence, the traditional Christmas Eve meal is known as le gros souper (the big supper) and it ends with a ritual number of 13 desserts (treize desserts). Read more about the 13 desserts of Provence
13. Fabulous Fromage
Christmas without cheese in France – unthinkable! Cheese is revered and Christmas is a time to indulge therefore Christmas + cheese = perfect in France. (Read how to make baked Camembert, the perfect French cheese dish at Christmas).
14. Heavenly Honfleur
This might not be on most Christmas venue radars for visitors to France but it’s oh so heavenly. Twinkling lights around the harbour, a festive atmosphere – Honfleur is just magical.
15. Captivating Kaysersberg
Not far from Colmar, nestled between the foothills of the Vosges and the vineyards, the little medieval town of Kaysersberg hosts one of France’s most authentic and pretty Christmas markets.
16. Alluring Arras
Christmas in Arras is awesome. The market is one of the largest in northern France but it’s not the size the counts, it’s the quality and this is a place that has bucket loads of charm and a fabulous atmosphere. Great shops, great restaurants, sublime architecture – faultless.
17. Mesmerising Mont st Michel
The legendary Mont Saint-Michel doesn’t bling up for Christmas, it’s a little more sedate than you might think given its touristic tendencies. This time of the year it’s nowhere near as busy as the summer and you can enjoy it and the twinkling lights in peace.
18. Brilliant Boulangeries
You can’t have Christmas in France without a Buche de Noel – a yule log! The patisseries are full of them – every colour, every flavour and utterly scrumptious.
19. Enticing Nice
Nice might be sunny at Christmas (usually) but it’s still a fabulous place to go and enjoy a spot of festive cheer and shopping.
20. Sweet Santons
Christmas in France is time to get your Santons out! The little figurines are prominent in the south of France but you’ll find them everywhere. They’re not only religious figures, you’ll come across diverse figures such as Lady Gaga or Bart Simpson these days.