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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 an excellent opportunity to discover Annecy from a new angle with the magnificent background of its lake and snow-capped mountains.

 

 

Annecy Christmas Market: Noël des Alpes

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 ten 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. Several 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

No guest of honour has been chosen for the 2019 and 2022 editions of the Christmas market in Annecy.

The Annecy Christmas market is open from 19 November 2022 to 1 January 2023.

Let’s start the visit with 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 and other parts of France.

Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
At the Old Town Christmas Market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
A stroll in the lanes of the Old Town Christmas Market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
Beautiful December night at the Christmas Market in Annecy © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
The old town Christmas Market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
Handmade items at the Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments

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

Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
Night time at the Christmas Market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
At the Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
The Annecy Christmas Market in the old town © French Moments
The Christmas Market in the old town © French Moments
Annecy Christmas market © French Moments
Look for the Alsatian white storks! © French Moments

I particularly 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. You’ll find Santa’s House (la Maison du Père Noël).

Annecy Christmas market © French Moments
The Artisan market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas market © French Moments
Santa’s House, Annecy Christmas market © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments
Santa’s chalet, Annecy Christmas Market © French Moments

 

The Alps Village

Annecy Christmas Market by the Courier shopping centre © French Moments
Annecy Christmas Market by the Courier shopping centre © French Moments

In 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 trendy place among Annecy people and tourists. It recreates a typical village from Savoie with wooden chalets set in a round arrangement. At the village’s centre are a traditional Savoie bar and a stage on which music bands and DJs 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.

The Christmas tree in front of the Courier shopping centre © French Moments
The Christmas tree in front of the Courier shopping centre © French Moments

 

Discover the Nativity Scenes in Annecy’s 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 normal as, according to tradition, Infant Jesus is placed on Christmas night. Furthermore, the Magi will be placed later, on Epiphany Day (6 January).

Nativity Scene at the church of Notre-Dame de Liesse, Annecy © French Moments
The Nativity Scene at the church of Notre-Dame de Liesse, Annecy © French Moments
Nativity Scene at the St. Maurice Church, Annecy © French Moments
At the St. Maurice Church, Annecy © French Moments
Nativity Scene at the church of Saint-Francois-de-Sales, Annecy © French Moments
Nativity Scene at the church of Saint-Francois-de-Sales, Annecy © French Moments
The Nativity Scene at the Annecy Cathedral © French Moments
The Nativity Scene at the Annecy Cathedral © French Moments

 

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 “La Boîte à Souvenirs” (the memories box).
  • In 2019 the theme 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 late 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!

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
Annecy at Christmas © French Moments
A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
A little Christmas tree in Annecy © French Moments

 

Annecy by night

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

Annecy in December © French Moments
Pont Perrière and Palais de l’Ile in December © French Moments
Annecy in December © French Moments
Quai de l’Ile and the Palais de l’Ile, Annecy in December © French Moments
Annecy in December © French Moments
Quai du Semnoz in December © French Moments
Annecy in December © French Moments
The view to the Alps from Pont Perrière, Annecy in December © French Moments
Annecy in December © French Moments
Quai de l’Ile and the Palais de l’Ile, Annecy in December © French Moments

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

 

More about Annecy Christmas Market

A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments
A Christmas stroll in the streets of Annecy © French Moments

 

About Annecy

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 northeast.

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.

 

2022 Opening Dates

  • The picturesque Old Town Christmas Market in Annecy is open from 21 November 2022 to 1 January 2023.
  • The Alps Village and its ice-skating rink (place François Menthon, near Courier shopping centre) are open from 19 November 2022 to 1 January 2023.
  • The Craft Village (parvis of the Courier shopping centre) is open from 21 November 2022 to 28 December 2022 (tbc).
  • Website of the Annecy Christmas market.
  • Website of the Event Noël des Alpes with a list of Christmas manifestations and workshops.

 

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 Christmas sites within walking distance.

Also, when possible, don’t wait until 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

 

What to do and see in Annecy?

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

 

 

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)

 

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Christmas in Annecy © French Moments

Christmas in Annecy © French Moments

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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