When it comes to Christmas Shopping, a flavour of France is something to be savoured and for Brits, a visit to the region of Champagne-Ardenne is a great way to buy great value Champagne and wine but also to stock up on fabulous regional produce and unique Christmas gifts. It’s just a 3 hour drive from Calais to Reims.
New for 2016 : The giant advent windows at Troyes
A fabulous new Christmas event for this magnificent medieval city. The front of the Troyes town hall will be a giant advent calendar. From 1-24 December the giant video advent windows will be opened at 5.30 pm revealing a video animation, until all 24 windows are open on 24th December. Each night from 1 -31 December there’s a giant 3D video projection on the building from 5.30-8.00 pm (9.00 pm Fridays/Saturdays).
More at www.tourisme-troyes.com
During December, traditional Christmas markets are being set up throughout the region. The largest is at Reims, with loads of chalets offering a range of gourmet products, arts and crafts and creative gift suggestions. The renowned Reims Christmas market is held annually in the tree-lined pedestrian streets around Place d’Erlon and the city centre, all beautifully illuminated and decorated. And, the famous cathedral of Reims will be lit up with a magical display of lights.
Nearby Châlons-en-Champagne comes to life with about 40 chalets offering artisanal products such as jewellery, leather goods, hand-crafted gifts, clothes and local specialities. Various animations and shows add to the atmosphere, such as the sound and light show projected from the bell tower of the Notre-Dame-en-Vaux church in the evening, an ice skating rink in the Place de la République, a concert of Christmas music by a 200-strong choir in the St Etienne Cathedral and exhibition of toys in the town hall and crib scenes in the St Alpin church.
In Charleville-Mézières, the historic setting of the Place Ducale is transformed into a festive Christmas market with a thousand lights illuminating 30 chalets selling gourmet treats, regional produce, festive fare and arts & crafts. An ice skating rink and giant slide will delight the young at heart.
Christmas festival ‘Habits de Lumière’, Epernay
Epernay’s annual Christmas festival explodes in a riot of light, colour and flavour over a 3 day extravaganza. Most festivities are based around the elegant villas of the ‘Avenue de Champagne’, housing some of the world’s most famous champagne producers. Epernay is ‘dressed in lights’ with a grand opening event on Friday evening, sound & light shows, tasting sessions, pop-up champagne bars, food demos from top regional chefs, music, fireworks and a truly impressive procession of vintage cars for the grand finale on Sunday.
See www.habitsdelumiere.epernay.fr for details & times.
See www.champagne-ardenne-tourism.co.uk for more information and visit suggestions.