A Discovery Guide to the Annecy Christmas Market

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The Annecy Christmas market is the most important event in town during Advent. Each year the festive event “Christmas in the Alps” (Noël des Alpes) draws more than 500,000 visitors. This is when Annecy puts on her most beautiful festive clothes with street lights and illuminations, animations for children, concerts, Nativity scenes, Christmas markets, and more… What a great opportunity to discover Annecy from a new angle with the magnificent background of its lake and snow-capped mountains.

 


Discover the Annecy Christmas Markets

The chalets are gathered in three locations:

  • the ‘Marché de Noël du Vieil Annecy‘ (Old Annecy Christmas Market) with 80 chalets located around the St. François-de-Sales church.
  • the ‘Village des Alpes’ (the Alps Village) with an open-air ice-skating rink on place François de Menthon
  • and, next to it, the ‘Village des Artisans‘ (craft market) with around 10 chalets on the forecourt of the Courier shopping centre.

The first one is by far my favourite…

In 2017 the guest of honour was Quebec. A number of events were organised in connection with the Canadian province and a Quebec-themed chalet can still be found today in the old town’s Christmas market.

Annecy in December © French Moments

Christmas tree with decoration themed on Quebec, Bonlieu Centre © French Moments

It seems that no guest of honour has been chosen for the 2019 edition of the Christmas market in Annecy.


Where to stay in Annecy?

You can choose from a great range of accommodation in Annecy, from hotels to B&B and campings! My recommendation is to book your accommodation near the city-centre. Although it’s a more pricey option, you’ll save time on transportation and can access most of the Christmas sites in walking distance.

Also, when possible, don’t wait the last minute to book as finding hotel rooms can be a problem, especially on weekdays.

To book your accommodation in Annecy, click on this affiliate link which will redirect you to our partner booking.com… or use the interactive map below:



Booking.com

Let’s start the visit by the picturesque old town Christmas market…


The Old Town Christmas Market

Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments

Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments

Found in the historic centre of the town, the Old Town Christmas Market (marché de Noël du Vieil Annecy) gathers some 80 chalets spread around the churches of St. Maurice and St. François de Sales (place Saint-François de Sales, quai du Semnoz, rue Saint-Maurice and quai Eustache Chappuis).

Some chalets sell regional craft items from Savoie but also from other parts of France.

Other offer alpine and French produce: tartiflette, cheese, gingerbread, nougat…

I particular like the Alsatian chalet. The stallholders are Alsatian people who sell real produce from Alsace. 👍

Annecy Christmas market © French Moments

The Alsatian chalet at the Old Town Christmas market, Annecy © French Moments

On a little square bordering the St. Maurice church are white wood chalets. They form the small village of the artisans. There you’ll find Santa’s House (la maison du Père Noël).


The Alps Village

Annecy Christmas Market by the Courier shopping centre © French Moments

Annecy Christmas Market by the Courier shopping centre © French Moments

On place François de Menthon, the Alps Village (Village des Alpes) is a new and innovative concept in France. Since its introduction it has become a very popular place among Annecy people and tourists alike. It recreates a typical village from Savoie with wooden chalets set in a round arrangement. At the village’s centre is a traditional Savoie bar and a stage on which music bands and DJ can perform. 

The ice skating rink on place François de Menthon © French Moments

The ice skating rink on place François de Menthon © French Moments

Of course, the most popular attraction is the open-air ice-skating rink (430 m2) which includes a 30m2 dedicated area for little children.


The Craft Market

Situated just opposite the Alps Village, on the forecourt of the Courier shopping centre is the Craft Market (Village des Artisans). Its chalets stand by the Christmas tree.


What to do and see in Annecy?

Here’s a few ideas of what to see and do when visiting Annecy and its superb region!

 


Discover the Nativity Scenes in Annecy churches

Nativity Scene Saint Francois de Sales Annecy © French Moments

The Nativity Scene at the church of Saint-Francois-de-Sales, Annecy © French Moments

The churches of Annecy house traditional Nativity scenes from mid-December to the beginning of January.

Enter the following churches to admire them: St. Pierre Cathedral, Notre-Dame de Liesse, Saint-Maurice, and Saint-François-de-Sales.

If you visit the churches before Christmas Day, the Nativity Scenes will be incomplete! This is completely normal as, according to tradition, Infant Jesus is placed on Christmas night. Furthermore, the Magi will be placed later, on Epiphany Day (6 January).


The light show onto the City-Hall façade

Each year a video is projected onto the façade of the City-Hall featuring light animations.

  • In 2017 the show was themed on “La Boîte à Souvenirs” (the memories box).
  • In 2019 the them is “Belle Epoque”
Light show on the façade of the Annecy City-Hall © French Moments

Light show on the façade of the Annecy City-Hall (2017 edition) © French Moments

The sound and light show lasts 12 minutes with an 8 minute interlude, from end of November to early January.


A Christmas stroll in Annecy

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments

At any season of the year I enjoy strolling by the canals of the picturesque old town of Annecy. Even during the day the architectural setting on Annecy by the water is a treat!

Annecy by night!

At night time Christmas lights can be admired in various places in the old town. A favourite tourist spot is the Pont Perrière that offers a fine view to the Palais de l’Isle.

Pont Morens is another beautiful spot and is Annecy’s oldest stone bridge. You can also have a general view of the River Thiou and the old town from Pont de la Halle.


What to see in Annecy?

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments

Only a few cities in France can boast of being situated between a gorgeous lake and snow-capped mountains. Nicknamed “the Venice of Savoy” for the enchanting canals that cross an old town centre clustered at the foot of a medieval castle, or “the Rome of the Alps” for a past comprising Catholic influence challenged by Protestant Geneva, Annecy will never leave the visitors insensitive of its charm.

Annecy is nestled at the northern tip of Lake Annecy. The old town is located between the last slopes of Mount Semnoz to the south and Mount Veyrier to the north-east.

The most picturesque part of Annecy lies at the foot of the castle on the hill, a warren of lanes, passages and arcaded houses, below and between which flow branches of the Canal du Thiou, draining the lake into the River Fier.

The houses, surrounded by canal-side railings overflowing with geraniums and petunias in summer or Christmas lights in winter, are incredibly beautiful.

Find out more about Annecy and its surroundings.


English-French Vocabulary

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

  • Alps = Alpes (f,p)
  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • castle = château (m)
  • chalet = châlet (m)
  • Christmas market = marché de Noël (m)
  • Christmas Tree = sapin de Noël (m), arbre de Noël (m)
  • church = église (f)
  • Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
  • holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
  • ice-skating rink = patinoire (f)
  • mulled wine = vin chaud (m)
  • Santa = Père Noël (m)
  • square = place (f)
  • street = rue (f)

2019 Opening Dates

  • The picturesque Old Town Christmas Market in Annecy is open from 22 November 2019 to 5 January 2020.
  • The Alps Village and its ice-skating rink (place François Menthon, near Courier shopping centre) is opened from 22 November 2019 to 4 January 2020.
  • The Craft Village (parvis of Courier shopping centre) is opened from 22 November 2019 to 28 December 2019.
  • Website of the Annecy Christmas market.
  • Website of the Event Noël des Alpes with a list of Christmas manifestations and workshops.

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Christmas in Annecy © French Moments Christmas in Annecy © French Moments


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About 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. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French 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.

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