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Christmas in France

Magical Time of Shopping, Feasting and Midnight Masses

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Strasbourg Christmas Market

Strasbourg hosts France's oldest Christmas market.

Alsace CRT/B. Naegelen

Christmas in France or Paris is memorable and magical. Hit the enticing Christmas markets, sing at midnight mass in a stunning gothic cathedral or dive into a Reveillon feast. Christmas is downright amazing when you spend the holidays in charming France.

Christmas Markets

There are many Christmas markets throughout France, such as the ones in Colmar, Strasbourg, Brissac-Quince, Nancy and Montlouis-sur-Loire. The Alsatian towns (like Strasbourg, Colmar and Nancy) are especially charming at Christmas time, with the influence of Germany and their fairy-tale timbered buildings and Christmas shops selling ornaments and cuckoo clocks.

Unique Christmas Shopping Finds

Head south for the Foire aux Santons to buy Christmas nativity figures (this event dates back to the 1802) in Marseille. Most of the markets run from late November through the end of the year.

Cathedrals at Christmas-time

France's glorious cathedrals pack them in for midnight mass on Christmas Eve, a longtime and sacred tradition in this country. The cathedrals are lit with dozens of candles and filled with the sounds of Christmas carols and hymns.

Christmas Reveillon Feasts

After midnight mass, families gather for the Reveillon, a huge late-night feast. Each region has its own mouth-watering Reveillon specialties for the massive Christmas meal.

Antique Christmas Mangers

Go see antique mangers in churches at Chartres, Chaource, Nogent-le-Rotrou, Sainte-Marie d'Oloron and in museums at Marseilles and Orleans.

France is a Bargain

The prices for a Christmas vacation in France make it even more appealing, as airfare plummets and hotels drop prices during the off-season to lure visitors.

Steeped in Christmas history

Most of all, what could be more fitting than to spend the holidays in the country that invented the Christmas tree (1605 in Strasbourg) or the manger (in Avignon in the 1300s by Saint Francis of Assisi)?

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