On Monday, I went to the marché de Noël near me in Angers. French Christmas markets are a great way to get in the Christmas spirit, do a little shopping, and enjoy some festive treats. Let me tell you more about what you can find at French Christmas markets and share my video I made so you can go on a virtual tour with me!
Christmas in France: Visiting a French Christmas market
First, let me lead with my French Christmas market video I put together:
Traditionally, Christmas markets in France started in Eastern France and Germany, with the oldest (and best maybe?) in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg. Other popular ones to visit are in Colmar and Metz and I’ve heard the one in Ribeauvillé is gorgeous. I’ll have to put those on the list for next year!
You’ll find a bunch of different vendors who set up shop in beautifully decorated chalets, the colorful little houses you’ll see in my video. Here in Angers, the chalets are blue and red because those are Angers’ city colors. Look closely and you’ll see that the roofs are made of imitation slate, which represents the traditional slate you’ll find in the Anjou region.
Sometimes Christmas music will be playing in the background as you walk around and you may even see groups of carolers helping to spread the Christmas cheer.
France vs USA Christmas differences >>
Bring a healthy appetite to a French marché de Noel if you find yourself doing Christmas in France so you can take advantage of all the amazing food and drink options. My market had raclette sandwiches, tartiflette, soup, saucisson, crepes and waffles and wonderful-smelling vin chaud. That’s a Christmas in France must. The vin traditionnel is generally red wine flavored with orange, cinnamon, cardamom and other festive spices. Some vin chaud options even have Cointreau liqueur or rum to really warm you up.
In terms of sweets, I picked up some macarons and even found trendy donuts and a cookie dough bar, two very new things on the scene that aren’t typically French.
One of my favorite parts is that many of the vendors will offer you a sample of their product(s) and I happily tasted saucisson and cheese before buying both. You know, to get in the spirit. 😉
In addition to food, you can find artisanal wares and other interesting goods, many of which are local. One of the chalets even focused on a wide array of maple syrup products from Canada!
Yes, you are required to wear a mask at this particular French Christmas market, and you have to show your pass sanitaire to enter.
Have you been to a French Christmas market or spent Christmas in France? Wishing you all a very happy and healthy holiday season!
Lovely video. Thank you Diane.Have visited Strasbourg, Metz and Ribeauville . It is great place at any time of year but very special at Xmas. Can’t beat a French Xmas market for the ambiance. Our Xmas market where I live in Pays de la Loire has been cancelled!! Trying to find another nearby. I am prepared to drive 35 kms. In the meantime I’ll have your video on repeat Do hope that are able to feel some joy as I know it will be a difficult one for you and your family. Wishing you a peaceful Xmas. Kameela
Thanks so much, Kameela! Xo
Aussie Jo says
I liked thepost wearing a mask is part of life now days.
Yup! It feels weirdly normal.
Mary Z says
We have the same thing in Chicago called Christkindlmarket, maybe with less cheese and sausage (or I didn’t notice them), and more German themed, with items from around the world. I would love to taste a violet macaron! How special! And a cup of vin chaud sounds wonderful right now. Joyeux Noel a vous!
Thanks so much Mary!! You too 🙂
It sounds delightful and I look forward to visiting a French Christmas market some day! I did have the pleasure of experiencing the Christmas market in Heidelberg once and had so much fun. The German club here in Sacramento has an annual Christkindlmarkt that is fun, but a mere shadow of the authentic experience (and has been cancelled the last 2 years). I’m (im)patiently awaiting a planned move to France when I retire – hopefully within the next year!
Vin chuad blanc from a stand in front of the cathedral in Strasbourg is my new favorite winter beverage. I tried the others. No one was as good as hers. And I have no idea how to make it. Do you see the conundrum I’ve created here? lol
We had some really tasty meals at both the Colmar and Strasbourg markets. I kind of want to spend a month in Alsace visiting all the smaller markets now. If only.