The holiday season in France has a charming, almost magical quality to it. Each year starting in December, Christmas markets crop up in almost every French city, drawing groups of families and friends who come to enjoy traditional food and festivities. Despite the freezing rain and cloudy skies in the Ardennes region where I live, the Charleville Christmas market still buzzes with activity on a nightly basis. Though our market is small compared to those in larger French cities, there is no shortage of holiday cheer.
Most cities in France host an annual Christmas market beginning in December and continuing just after the holidays. Small chalets sell gifts, trinkets, local products, and festive food to tourists and locals alike.
Vin chaud (or mulled wine) is a staple at all French Christmas markets. Some even offer a souvenir mug for an extra fee.
In Charleville, a vin chaud blanc will only set you back 2€.
Gaufres (waffles) are also a popular treat during the Christmas season. Belgian waffles, or gaufres liégeoises, tend to be sweeter and heavier than what an American might be used to.
There are plenty of activities for families and friends at the markets, as well. Ice skating around the fountain in the Place Ducale…
La Grande Roue, or Ferris Wheel
The carousel, which is situated in the central square year-round.
You can also enjoy a free dance performance about l’Étoile de Noël (the Christmas Star).