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In the North of France, not far from the Belgian border, the town of Béthune hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the Hauts-de-France region. Bethune is a short distance from England via the Eurotunnel or cross-Channel ferries. In fact, a British magazine recently began its article entitled “10 things to visit in France at Christmas” with the Bethune Christmas market. Between the Belfry and the illuminated facades of the main square, the festive event takes on a fairy-tale atmosphere. Let’s find out why you should visit the Béthune Christmas market!

Cité de Noël Béthune 2022

 

Béthune Christmas Market

The festive event takes place in the town centre, particularly in the main square of Béthune.

The Béthune Christmas market is open from 26 November to 31 December 2022.

 

The Christmas village

Location: Grand Place.

The Christmas market of Béthune (aka la Cité de Noël) takes centre stage in the Grand Place, which has been beautifully enhanced with Christmas lights. The Grand Place is the historic square of Béthune and is bordered by the belfry (edified in 1346), the Town Hall, and houses with Flemish-style façades. Rue du Carillon links the square to the St. Vaast church.

Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet
Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet

More than 45 wooden chalets offer original gifts, traditional objects and local produce.

Béthune Christmas Market © Guillaume Bavière - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Béthune Christmas Market © Guillaume Bavière – licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Béthune Christmas Market © Guillaume Bavière - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Béthune Christmas Market © Guillaume Bavière – licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons
 

The Christmas village features a live Nativity scene, an ice-skating rink, a merry-go-round and a Ferris Wheel.

Béthune Ice-Skating Rink © Noeldebethune - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Béthune Ice-Skating Rink © Noeldebethune – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Cité de Noël de Béthune © Ville de Béthune
Cité de Noël de Béthune © Ville de Béthune
Cité de Noël de Béthune © Ville de Béthune
Cité de Noël de Béthune © Ville de Béthune

 

About the Grand’Place of Béthune

The Grand Place is historically the main square of the town. In the Middle Ages, it housed an alderman’s hall. The square, destroyed during the First World War except for the Belfry, was rebuilt between 1920 and 1927 in the post-war style; the eclectic architecture is mixed with neo-regionalism and Art Deco.

Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet
Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet

 

Partly destroyed following the bombings of the First World War, the town hall was rebuilt in 1926 to the plans of the architect Jacques Alleman. It occupies the site of the destroyed town hall and adopts the same architectural features as the surrounding houses but on a monumental scale.

The Belfry dates back to 1388 near the alderman’s hall. A 17-metre high campanile tops the 33-metre high tower with a dragon on top. It is one of the 23 belfries listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005 as part of the list of “Belfries of Belgium and France“.

Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet
Béthune Christmas Market © JM Hecquet

 

English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • belfry = beffroi (m)
  • Christmas = Noël
  • Christmas Eve = veille de Noël (f) / réveillon (m)
  • Christmas lighting = illuminations de Noël (f,p)
  • Christmas market = marché de Noël (m)
  • Christmas Tree = sapin de Noël (m), arbre de Noël (m)
  • church = église (f)
  • Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
  • Ferris Wheel = grande roue (f)
  • holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
  • ice-skating rink = patinoire (f)
  • merry-go-round = carrousel (m)
  • mulled wine = vin chaud (m)
  • Nativity scene = crèche (f)
  • Santa = Père Noël (m)
  • sledge course = piste de luge (f)
  • square = place (f)
  • street = rue (f)

 

French Moments would like to thank the Tourist Office of the region of Béthune-Bruay for allowing us to share their photos on this page, including the featured image.

Visit the Tourist Office website of Béthune.

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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