Throwback Thursday: French Christmas Markets

Okay, I’m going to cheat this week with TWO photos! I know. I went and got all crazy on you.

french christmas markets

I’m in the mood for Christmas, lately. With the weather getting chilly and every chain store playing holiday  music, I’m reminded of some special holiday memories. In particular, I remember December 2010. Some friends and I went to Lille, France on a little vacation from our semester abroad in Caen.

Lille is magical! Its town centre was lit up spectacularly. We indulged in rich hot chocolate, gazed at the ferris wheel and perused the Christmas market. They even had a stall from Canada, much to my delight, where the Quebecoise staff were selling maple syrup treats. Mulled wine was also in order!

What I love about a European Christmas is that it feels less about Santa Claus (to me, at least) and more about the other traditions surrounding the holiday. It’s the music, the chestnuts, the food, the wooden decorations and the evening walks through the marketplace. We don’t have that same kind of market experience in Calgary. Yes, we have Spruce Meadows, but you have to drive to it, park there and it’s very ‘coordinated’ in a way that the European markets feel cozy and warm.

Following our trip to Lille, we stopped by Paris to get our train back to Caen. With time to kill, one of the gals and I zipped over to the Champs Elysees and surrounding areas. We grabbed a cone of freshly roasted chestnuts, a real treat, and savoured the atmosphere.

french christmas markets

I have big plans to go back to Europe for a taste of the German Christmas markets in 2017. Yes, I plan that far in advance. I have a niggling feeling they will be just as magical as my time at the French Christmas Markets.

What are some of your favourite holiday traditions? Where do you like to travel during the holidays?


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2 Responses to Throwback Thursday: French Christmas Markets

  1. An Incurable Wanderlust December 17, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    Just returned from an Alsatian Christmas Market tour, did some German and Swiss ones last year. All were phenomenal.

    • Victoria Smith December 17, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      Fantastic. Anything in particular different about the Alsatian one vs German/Swiss ones? Specific foods or customs?

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