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Magical Christmas markets in Pas-de-Calais

Arras Christmas Market

In the north of France, they take their Christmas markets seriously! And in the region of Pas-de-Calais these fabulously festive and friendly events are a great way to discover the food specialties and artisan-made products of France whilst you enjoy the magic of a colourful, vibrant Christmas market.

Pretty much every large town hosts a Christmas market throughout December and some even start earlier. Here are some of the best Christmas markets in Pas-de-Calais – perfect for the whole family, great for gifts that are different, for foodies and for those who love a sprinkle of festive fun!

Arras: Winter wonderland

Arras Christmas market is one of the biggest and best Christmas markets in France. On the red-carpeted Grand’Place in the centre of this historic city, you’ll discover more than 100 traditional wooden chalets where you can shop for everything deliciously French, from regional specialities to foie gras, wine and liqueurs, and the most mouth-watering sweets. You’ll also find fabulous and unique gifts. Every stall is hand-picked for its artisan and superior craft quality products – no mass-produced merchandise here. Ride the Ferris wheel for a bird’s eye view over the festive fun, pop into the Palace of Ice – where you’ll find amazing ice sculptures, whiz around the skating rink or hop on the musical carousel.  And when you are ready for a break, sip a mulled wine or steaming hot chocolate at the traditional German Winter Bar, indulge in champagne and oysters, or warm up with regional street food specialities like.

Practical details: 6 free car parks 10 minutes from the city centre on foot. A free electric shuttle criss crosses the city centre, every 10 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Plus, two (paid) underground car parks

Arras Christmas market dates: 24 November – 30 December 2023. Find opening times and more details at Arras Tourist Office: arrasparysdartois.com/en

Béthune: Christmas town!

Bethune Christmas market

In the historic cobbled Grand’Place of Béthune, at the foot of the UNESCO-listed Belfry, the traditional style Bethune Christmas market is traditional and friendly. Taste local specialties like mulled wine and tartiflette, a huge steaming bowl of cheesy scrumptiousness and pretty much irresistible. You’ll find stands selling artisan-made products including wooden toys and handmade jewellery. There’s a children’s carousel, workshops, and concerts. Gratify your gastronomic desires and visit the local food shops in the town, and stock up on regional cheeses like the scrumptiously stinky Maroilles! And for a truly special break, head to the nearby Chateau de Beaulieu, just 20 minutes by car. The hotel has two restaurants, one has 2 Michelin Stars – Restaurant Christophe Dufossé, and the other is a brasserie style. Absolutely delicious.

From November 25 to December 31, 2023

Find opening times and more details Bethune-Bruay Tourist office: tourism-bethune-bruay.fr

Le Touquet Paris-Plage – Sparkles galore

Christmas lights cover the bandstand in Le Touquet

In December, the seaside resort of Le Touquet is transformed into a Christmas village. As you enter Le Touquet, you’ll be welcomed by the sight of the Christmas village and the lovely band stand in the Parc des Pins, covered in thousands of twinkly lights. It is the perfect place for a selfie (and there are even props like fun hats for visitors to use in their photos). The roads are lined with Christmas trees and more lights and the whole place twinkles and charms with its celebratory festive spirit.

There are plenty of places to stop for a hot chocolate, glass of wine or Champagne – and the bar at the art deco Westminster Hotel serves all three in style!

Le Touquet Christmas market takes place over the weekend of December 9 and 10.

From 1 December 2023 to 7 January 2024

Opening times and details at Le Touquet Tourist Office: en.letouquet.com

Calais lights up for winter!

The streets of Calais are lit up with festive decorations and special illuminations to celebrate the end of year holidays. It’s the perfect small city to leave the car behind and take a stroll. The Place d’Armes is transformed into a Christmas village: carousel from the 1900s, decorated chalets and the Place du Théâtre is lined with stands of local producers and artisans, and there are concerts, street shows and other entertainment between these two historic squares.

There’s an ice-skating rink and important historical buildings, including the Church of Notre-Dame, are illuminated. Restaurants and cafes offer special holiday menus, highlighting the flavours of local cuisine. And while you’re there, don’t miss the chance to get acquainted with the Dragon of Calais who will be celebrating Christmas too no doubt!

The illuminations will take place from 27 November 2023 – 7 January 2024. The Christmas market will take place from 9-17 December 2023

Opening times and details at Calais Tourist Office: calais-cotedopale.co.uk

Find out more about what to see and do in Pas-de-Calais and book accommodation at: visitpasdecalais.com

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