Let’s start the season of Advent with a list of our 10 most beautiful Christmas markets in France’s North-East, all situated in the Alsace, Franche-Comté and Lorraine regions. Christmas markets are called “Marchés de Noël” in French and although they are a traditional event in Alsace, many of them have been “exported” to other parts of France, from Lille to Rouen and Bordeaux.
1. Most Beautiful Christmas Markets: Strasbourg, Alsace
France’s largest Christmas market is actually made up 300 chalets found in several villages throughout the old town.
Read more about Strasbourg Christmas Market.
2. Colmar, Alsace
Alsace’s second most visited Christmas market enhances the rich medieval and Renaissance architecture of the old town and the picturesque Little Venice district.
Read more about Colmar Christmas Market.
3. Montbéliard, Franche-Comté
The industrial town, formerly part of the Wurttemberg Duchy revives the German tradition of Christmas markets every year in its town centre. One of France’s most popular markets, it should be notes for the quality of its illuminations and decorations.
Read more about Montbéliard Christmas Market.
4. Mulhouse, Alsace
Set in the Place de la Réunion, between the Gothic façade of the Protestant Temple St. Etienne and the beautiful painted façade of the old Town-Hall, the Christmas market is a magical place earning each year a reputation for excellence. The Ferris Wheel adds to the festive atmosphere of the place.
Read more about Mulhouse Christmas Market.
5. Kaysersberg, Alsace
Ten kilometres from Colmar, nestled between the foothills of the Vosges and the vineyards, the little medieval town of Kaysersberg hosts one of France’s most authentic Christmas markets. With quality items and local produce from craftsmen carefully selected, Kaysersberg’s market should not be missed!
Read more about Kaysersberg Christmas Market.
6. Metz, Lorraine
Some say that Metz is France’s second most visited Christmas market after that of Strasbourg. From the railway square to the Cathedral square, the celebrations of Christmas are alive and well in Metz. A market only 1.30 hours from Paris by TGV!
Read more about Metz Christmas Market.
7. Thann, Alsace
A very small Christmas market but set with taste around the magnificent St. Thiébault Collegiate. The Christmas trees (actually fir-trees, hence the name of Thann) hold an honoured place with beautiful decorations.
Read more about Thann Christmas Market.
8. Obernai, Alsace
Mulled wine, chocolate, gingerbread, kugelhopfs… Obernai knows how to seduce its visitors! The stalls of the local Christmas market, not far from Strasbourg and Colmar, are perfectly set in the charming old town centre.
9. Sélestat, Alsace
Sélestat aka the place where the first mention of a fir-tree decorated was made on 21 December 1521. It makes no surprise that the local Christmas market pays tribute to the Christmas tree. Sélestat is easily accessible from Strasbourg, Colmar and Mulhouse by TER (regional trains).
Read more about Sélestat Christmas Market.
10. Éguisheim, Alsace
In 2013, Éguisheim was elected France’s most beautiful village in a TV programme on France 2. No doubt that the Christmas season can only bring the best to this jewel of the Alsatian vineyards.
Read more about Éguisheim Christmas Market.
There are so many other Christmas markets in the North-East that it would do them justice to mention them:
Close to Alsace, Germany and Switzerland host some of the world top-class Christmas markets: Basel, Freiburg-im-Breisgau, Heidelberg and Mayence.
Let us know about your favourite French and European Christmas markets and leave a comment below!