This year you may be looking to have your Christmas abroad; it might be the first time or something you do every year as a family. For those who are looking for some advice on how to plan for this festive break, this guide, and several more to come in our First Christmas Abroad series will help you prepare for a fantastic holiday at one of our villas in France with family this winter.
First, the big question is where to go. There are many fantastic places in France that will be perfect for a Christmas holiday, and you can see how our European neighbours celebrate the festive season first hand.
The town of Sarlat in Dordogne brings it all for Christmas. There is a colourful market that lasts three weeks, a large ice skating rink and craftsman from all over France come to the medieval Sarlat to sell their wares. There is so much on offer you will be able to pick up some unforgettable gifts. Many of the taverns and pubs in the town will be welcoming in ice skaters and shoppers who are searching for a warming drink and light snack. As you warm up with mulled wine, you can sit back and relax to enjoy the festive atmosphere and décor.
In the Loire Valley, several of the chateaux put on their winter and Christmas finery, which definitely delivers the wow factor! Chenonceau is full of sumptuous banquets, and Vaux le Vicomte looks amazing with a carousel, fake snow and thousands of decorations. It will truly feel magical wandering the grounds and rooms of the chateaux, seeing the huge Christmas trees and experiencing what Christmas might have been like when the chateaux were in their prime.
The southern city of Montpellier gets its winter clothes on in December, making it a wonderful place to visit for Christmas. There is a traditional market on the Charles de Gaulle esplanade selling local crafts and regional specialities and tours of the town complete with parades and mulled wine. Be sure to see Montpellier at night too, as the whole place lights up. You can tour the old city centre and truly feel the magic of Christmas!
Nice in the French Riviera is a thriving city all year round, and if you love the city in summer, you are sure to love it in winter. Throughout the whole of December, the Nice Christmas market is held every day from 11 am to 8 pm in the central square Place Massena. In the wintry setting, visitors can discover the enchanted forest, and numerous other events take place during the Christmas period. There are parades, concerts, ice skating and fantastic shopping.
The Christmas market at Reims is the biggest in the region and one of the biggest in France. You can buy a range of gourmet food, wine, arts, crafts and creative gifts. The market is held every year in the pedestrian streets around Place d’Erlon and the city centre. The centre is beautifully lit up with Christmas lights; there is an ice rink and Santa’s Grotto in the Place du Forum the kids will enjoy visiting. The city also has a traditional fun fair in the Christmas period and a Ferris Wheel offering views of the city, and creative workshops and concerts, with delicious food to indulge on.
If you need some extra advice on your first Christmas abroad, keep an eye out for more blogs in the coming weeks and months, and get in touch with one of the Quality Villas team who can advise where is best for you based on personal preferences.