Christmas markets are a great way to get into the festive spirit with mulled wine, Christmas carols, local specialties, fairground rides and more.
Shoppers wanting to sample something a little different from the usual attractions can head to Hauts-de-France, which is home to some of the best Christmas markets in Europe.
The festivities are easily accessible by hopping aboard Eurotunnel Le Shuttle to the UK’s closest international self-driving destination.
This region of northern France offers an authentic festive experience at your fingertips. From the glittering Ferris wheel and charming wooden chalets of the Lille market to the atmospheric stalls of the Christmas Village in Arras, to the spectacular light show of Amiens Cathedral, there is no shortage of things to explore.
Traveling by car from Folkestone to Calais with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle is by far the easiest way to get to France for a night or a long weekend. Here is Hauts-de-France Tourisme’s selection of the best Christmas markets for 2021.
Lille Christmas market –November 19 –December 30
One of Europe’s most popular Christmas markets is in the city of Lille just over an hour’s drive from the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in Calais. Buy till you drop and you’ll be spoiled for choice with an array of handmade decorations and intricate arts and crafts from as far away as Russia, Canada and Poland. Stock up on local produce including gingerbread, pastries and waffles while keeping warm with delicious mulled wine, ride the glittering Ferris wheel and Christmas carousel, then enjoy traditional Christmas carols by browsing a selection of 90 wooden chalets on Place Rihour.
Arras Christmas market –December 3 –January 2, 2022 (all week)
About halfway between Lille and Amiens, and just an hour’s drive from Calais, Arras attracts visitors all year round for its splendid Flemish-style architecture, part of which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. . At Christmas, it’s even more atmospheric, since a Christmas Village takes over the baroque Grand Place and the rest of the city center, with no less than 130 Christmas market chalets. Stroll through the beautifully illuminated town and admire the exquisite windows of Arras’ many boutiques. On certain dates, special events take place, including the Saint-Nicolas rappelling from the Belfry on December 6 and a daring brass band performing every Friday evening.
Amiens Christmas market – November 27 –the 31st of December
With around 130 chalet-style stalls, the Amiens Christmas Market ticks all the boxes for festive shopping for the whole family. Choose from local crafts, regional cuisine, and unique gifts as you browse the stalls spanning over 2km of the beautiful city. There is a plethora of delicious dishes to enjoy while shopping, with grilled chestnuts, hot chocolate waffles and tasty local specialties. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, you can indulge in some fantastic entertainment including lights, Christmas carols, an ice rink and Santa Claus parade, and a funfair wheel and carousel. The real highlight of the city is the Cathedral – proudly seated and twice the size of Notre-Dame de Paris, it is lit up all December, with a spectacular sound and light show (Chroma).
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Book a getaway with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle from:
- £ 91 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a standard ticket (any duration). One way
- £ 249 per vehicle (up to 9 passengers) for a Flexiplus ticket, show up anytime and board the next available train, and club lounge access (for any duration). One way
- Bring your four-legged friend from just £ 22 each way
To inspire you, Hauts-de-France Tourisme has created a specially curated website with a tempting range of itinerary and accommodation ideas at www.french-weekendbreaks.co.uk.
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