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Top Things to do in December in France

Children herd turkeys along a street in Licques, northern France at Christmas festival

National Holiday in France: Christmas Day (Noël) December 25

Licques, Pas de Calais, Hauts-de-France: Festival des Dindes, 10 December 2023. A charming festival where turkeys are celebrated in the little town of Licques Hauts-de-France (Pas de Calais). Held over a weekend, on Sunday morning, a gaglle of turkeys are released to “rampage” through the streets accompanied by local brotherhoods and dignataries in all their finery! There’s also a gastronomic fair with wine tasting and food for all your Christmas luxuries. www.paysdopale-tourisme.fr/les-fetes/la-fete-de-la-dinde/

Roubaix, Nord, Hauts-de-France: Braderie de l’Art, 9-10 December 2023. In the Nord, Hauts-de-France town of Roubaix, a 24-hour art festival features 150 international artists, designers, stylists, graphic artists, painters, sculptors. They use their imagination and skills to re-craft everyday objects into works of art which you can buy from €1 to €250.00. While you’re there, pop into the fabulous La Piscine museum, a stunning building and fabulous collection. www.facebook.com/braderiedelart/

Lyon: Festival of Lights, 8-10 December 2022. The people of Lyon will, as they have for the last 150 years, light candles and put them in the windows of their homes and the city puts on a spectacular light show. www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/en

Nancy, Grand Est, Lorraine: Fêtes de Saint Nicolas, 24 November 2023 – 7 January 2024. There’s much more to St Nick than a crimson red suit and a reindeer-drawn sleigh, as Les Fêtes de Saint Nicolas in Nancy in north-east France, Grand Est (Lorraine)shows. The spirit of the Christmas figure can be seen all over the city with a Christmas market, street parades, puppet shows and concerts. www.nancy-tourisme.fr/sortir/grands-evenements/saint-nicolas/

Valras Bain de Noël. In the town of Valras, Occitanie (Herault) join Father Christmas for a plunge in the Mediterranean at the annual Bain de Noël. Head for Valras beach, near Béziers, where the water will be about 15°C; chilly but refreshing! If you can’t face getting into the water, watch from a warm vantage point with a vin chaud. Date TBC. www.ville-valrasplage.fr

Féeries de Noël Morzine, Date TBC. Auvergne-Rhone Alpes (Haute-Savoie) Morzine. For two weeks in December and January the Alpine village of Morzine is transformed into a winter wonderland with festive workshops, light shows and a Christmas market. Don’t miss the ice-sculpting classes, pyrotechnic ballet performance on the slopes, 3m Christmas tree and Père Noël descending the Pleney Piste by torchlight on skis. www.avoriaz.com/evenements/feerie-des-lumieres

Carpentras Les Noëls Insolite (A Different Kind of Christmas), Date TBC. The streets of Carpentras in Provence are transformed into a Christmas story with 150 free shows performed by artists from all over Europe. There are also huge Christmas trees and street lights, carriage rides through the town, a food market, a Foire aux Santons, a giant Provençal nativity scene and magic shows. www.noelsinsolites.fr/accueil.html

Chestnut Faire Corsica – Date TBC. In Bocognano, Corsica, some of the best local and international producers of chestnuts offer a taste of the most beautiful culinary specialties prepared with chestnuts, from the classic castagnaccio, a chestnut flour cake, to traditional roasted chestnuts. www.visit-corsica.com/en

Try this delicious recipe for chestnut and apple soup from Michel Roux Jr.

Epernay Les Habits de Lumiere, Champagne, 8-10 December 2023. The famous Champagne city of Épernay, celebrates the gastronomic heritage of the region with a vibrant fete. For three days, the city is lit up and there are lots of activities on offer, including a firework display and a big street parade on Avenue de Champagne, exhibitions, musical entertainment, cellar tours and a whole host of shows for children and adults. On the Sunday morning there is a parade of several hundred collector’s cars, and in the afternoon, there is a special tea party for children. habitsdelumiere.epernay.fr/

Please check websites to confirm dates and details – things do change from time to time… 

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