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French Christmas

Updated on January 25, 2013
Princessa profile image

Wendy moved to France in 2005. She planned to stay there for only 5 years but fell in love with everything French and still living in France

Christmas in france

I have been living in France for the past five years and I absolutely love it here at Christmas time. It reminds me a lot of Christmas in my country where the festivities used to focus around family gatherings around festive tables and family attendance at mass on the eve of the 24th just before our big Christmas dinner.

A few weeks ago I was in England and I was shocked to see that some shops had already put up their Christmas decorations. It is not that I don’t like Christmas decorations; it is just that October feels to me very early to start preparing for Christmas. I would much rather take the slow road and gently get into the Christmas mood step by step, like a progression into something really important.


Christmas in Central France: The Berry

I live in Central France, in what is considered the countryside, perhaps that is why Christmas traditions are kept alive longer than in big cities where the hustle and bustle of everyday life urges people to prepare their Christmas like a military campaign.  Here in the Indre department, Christmas makes a slow but steady appearance.  Decorations appear late and few and far between.  It is mainly the bigger cities that can afford fancy Christmas decorations in their streets and can boast Christmas illuminations.  The rest of the villages just barely illuminate their main streets.  We have no big Christmas parades or events here; instead Christmas markets are what signal the start of the Christmas festivities.

There are several Christmas markets around.  Some of them specialised in a particular item like truffles or foie gras, while others are more general and include decorations, clothing and food.  There are also the international Christmas markets like the French-German market in Argenton Sur Creuse and the European Christmas market in Saint Maur. 

Below you can find some of the biggest Christmas events in Berry.

The Chocolate market

The Salon du Chocolat

This year Argenton Sur Creuse opened the Christmas season with its Salon du Chocolat on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of November. The Salon du Chocolat is a heaven for all chocolate lovers. I was there last year and we could hardly move among the tide of people who were happily spending large amounts of money buying chocolates made by the best Chocolatiers in France.

Argenton Sur Creuse and its Salon du Chocolat

Oranges half covered in dark chocolate.  5,80 per 100gr
Oranges half covered in dark chocolate. 5,80 per 100gr

Chateau Guillaume Christmas market

The village of Chateau Guillaume in Lignac offers one of the most picturesque Christmas markets, mainly due to the beauty of the setting.  Last year there were more than 50 stalls selling cakes, crepes, decorations, etc.

This year the Chateau Guillaume Christmas market will take place on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th of November.  This is an excellent opportunity to buy local products and also to have a tour of the medieval village and the Chateau Guillaume castle.  For more information you can call:

Argenton Sur Creuse, Indre 36200, France

Argenton Sur Creuse:
36200 Argenton-sur-Creuse, France

get directions

The French-German market at Argenton Sur Creuse

The French-German market at Argenton Sur Creuse will take place this year on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28th of November from 9am to 8pm at the Halle de la Grenouille. It is expected to have around 70 stalls selling regional products, food, and presents.

This is the perfect place to enjoy a German beer (directly from Ulm), pretzels and German wines. The entrance is free.

My children like this market because it is a place where they always find their friends and also because there is a Santa going around giving sweeties!

To see photos of the 2010 French-German market you can click here

Argenton Sur Creuse: French-German Christmas market

Festival of Regional Products at Le Blanc 36300

On Sunday 12 of December 2010 you will find no better place to buy the most delicious foie gras, meat, seafood and many other festive foods for your Christmas table.

If you don’t know how to cook something just ask the seller and he will be more than happy to give you his own family recipe!

Journee de Noel

Christmas celebrations in Le Blanc take centre stage on the 19th of December with a Christmas market, street shows, and exhibition of vintage toys plus a horse and carriage tour around the town with Santa.

European Christmas Market at Saint-Maur   36250

I believe that this is what used to be the British Christmas market (as it is in the same place and around the same dates).  I have been there every single year and enjoy it as much as the children did with the free pony rides and merry-go-round.

 This year the European Christmas market promises to end with fireworks.  The market will be open on the 18th of December from 10am to 8pm.  For more information you can call 0254082630

Limoges Christmas Market at Place de la Motte 87000, France

place de la Motte 87000 Limoges:
Place de la Motte, 87000 Limoges, France

get directions

Marché de Noël limoges

Limoges Christmas Market

The Christmas market in Limoges is held every year at the Place de la Motte the week before Christmas.  On 2010, the market will be open from Friday 17th to Tuesday 21st of December from 9am to 7pm.  In the Limoges market you can find everything from local products, food and clothes to Limoges porcelain. 

The Limoges Christmas market is the perfect place for finding a last minute Christmas present for that special person.  The food is sold by local producers directly from their farms, therefore assuring an excellent quality.  Only producers are authorized to sell in this market. 

The market takes place in a specially built “exterior village” and entrance is free of charge.

Illuminations at Limoges

If you are visiting the Limoges Christmas market, why not treat yourself to a tour on its mini train around the city.  You will be able to see the old city part of the city as well as the modern Limoges in the comfort of your seat. 

The little train only works an hour a day from 17:30 to 18:30.

Limoges at Christmas, 2009

Chateau de Chabenet Christmas Market 2009

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chateau de ChabenetChateau de ChabenetRosting chestnuts
Chateau de Chabenet
Chateau de Chabenet
Chateau de Chabenet
Chateau de Chabenet
Rosting chestnuts
Rosting chestnuts


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    • quilt827 profile image


      7 years ago from Tampa Bay, Florida

      How beautiful! I have visited France before, but now I want to come at christmas time!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      SweetiePie: Hi, I hope one day you manage to come over here and enjoy a coffee and cakes at one of the small villages in Central France. I am sure you'd love it.

      Merry Christmas!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I would love to visit the French countryside one day. I love small towns that do the Christmas tradition in a small way, and not over the top. Even here in Southern California I feel Christmas decorating could wait until closer to the season. We never used to see it until after Thanksgiving, which is our major holiday here in late November. Now some stores are already decorating in early November. I miss seeing the decorating of turkeys and Thanksgiving day themes, but stores gloss this over because they know Christmas sells, and Thanksgiving is primarily about family and having a nice meal. Oh yes, and I would love to drink a French coffee and eat pastries in the cafes there. I have heard such good stuff about this.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      venus_smileygal: Merry Christmas to you too!

    • venus_smileygal profile image

      Venus Smileygal 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      France has always been one of the places I would love to visit someday. Reading your hub makes me fly all the way to France. Thank you so much for a nice info.

      Have a Merry Christmas to you and all your hub followers. :)

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      oceansnsunsets: orange and ginger covered in black chocolate are two of my favourite treats!

      dahoglund: LOL, I am not very religious, but I always try to make it to the Christmas eve mass as it is such a beautiful ceremony which includes children singing and representations of the nativity. Apart from that it is the perfect place to meet friends :-)

      Wolffie: I as there tonight, make sure you don't miss it tomorrow. I was a bit late so I am planning to go back tomorrow for my "buche de noel" (they are all the way at the back of the building, Madame Martinelli's cakes are delicious!)

      If you are interested you can also visit the marche de Noel at the Chateau de Chabenet in the Pont Chretien tomorrow, that one is a very pretty setting for a Christmas market.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Principessa -- I am so impressed by your festive account, and also for giving me the dates of the markets. I am American/English [having spent about half my life in each country] and now live in Saint Marcel, just above Argenton, so this information is such a help for me. I'll make sure I get to the Argenton German/French market Sunday. Merci!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      France is certainly an attractive place. My mother is of French Canadian descent. She talked french before English.

      I remember Midnight masses bu they are a thing of the past, I believe.I would never be able to stay awake through one now.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      I have never been to France, but would love to one day. I enjoyed the pictures and hearing about many of the Christmas festivities. I love orange chocolate, and the other chocolates are simply beautiful.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      edelhaus: I hear you have some beautiful Christmas markets in Germany, I would like to visit them.

    • edelhaus profile image


      8 years ago from Munich, Germany

      Wonderful! Its interesting to see the differences (and similarities between countries). I'm living in Germany now and find the preparation and celebrations magical.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      coolbreeze: You would love it, surfing on the French Atlantic coast is just amazing specially followed by a big platter of seafood mmmm....

    • coolbreeze profile image

      Rik Rodriguez 

      8 years ago from Hawaii

      Your hubs are always great. I have always wanted to go to France to surf and eat the good food.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      shygirl2: lol I don't know how they do it! But tomorrow I'll be enjoying myself at the Salon de Gastronomie in Chateauroux... cannot wait to taste those cheeses, hams, chocolates and wines mmmmm...

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Cool hub, Princessa. :)The French can make even Christmas look romantic! Thanks for sharing this!!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      Lyria: The roasted chestnuts are delicious, especially accompanied by a mulled wine from the region...

      kimh039: It is always a pleasure.

      ocbill: Glad to hear you have Beautiful memories from your trip to France.

      ripplemaker: happy holidays to you too, one day my dream will come true and I'll visit the Philippines.

      6hotfingers3: You are welcome, thanks for visiting! I should add more pictures next week after I vist the Chateau Guillaume Xmas market and the Franco-German Xmas market in Argenton.

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      talfonso: The salon the chocolate is one of my favourite parts of the Christmas celebrations... who could resist?

      Craan: I hope you enjoy France. Paris also has a very pretty Christmas market all along the Champs-Elysees.

      BrianS: I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with all your little ones around you. xx

      Les Trois Chenes: I am sure you are going to enjoy the Limoges Christmas market, I might see you there!

      vocalcoach: Thanks for the rating!

      dahoglund: I've spent Christmas in several countries and I can tell you that there is something very special about Christmas in France; maybe it is the food, maybe the focus on family gatherings, maybe just the setting...

    • 6hotfingers3 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub! The pictures were great graphics that helped the reader visualize the different markets and almost feel the festive aire of them. Thanks for sharing!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I loved reading your hub and how you celebrate Christmas in France. In the Philippines, the decors come out early too. And to a wonderful Christmas celebration to you and your family. :)

    • ocbill profile image


      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      Great photos and I always have good memories of my trip through France with its beautiful scenery.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 

      8 years ago

      Enjoyed the video and the chateau pic. Thanks for sharing a piece of France, Princessa.

    • Lyria profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful photos and great hub! I can just imagine how the roasting chestnuts smelled at the Chateau de Chabenet. How nice!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Having never been overseas places like France have a romantic aura.It would be nice to see Christmas there.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      8 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      A simply wonderful and inviting hub. The pictures are beautiful and add to your good writing skills. A very big thank you. Rated big thumbs up!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      8 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Christmas is great in the French countryside, so much so that I've never ventured as far as the Limoges Christmas Market, but after reading this I'll make the effort this year. Many thanks for an 'illuminating' Hub.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      8 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

      You are right France is gorgeous at Christmas and we have had a few Christmases here with our family. But alas this year the focus is on England so it looks like we will be heading for the UK. But at least we will see all the grandchildren at this special time of the year. Hope you have a great Christmas here in France.

    • Craan profile image

      Sheila Craan 

      8 years ago from Florida

      A fabulous hub! I look forward to visiting France in December. Christmas is about paying homage to Jesus The Light of the World. It's great how this is felt in the little rural towns of France.

    • talfonso profile image


      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      A french Christmas sure sounds like fun! I love the salon of chocolate part!

    • Princessa profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      MarieAlice: It is all very pretty and tasty :-)

      DeBorrah: Thank you very much and all my best wishes to you to.

      sherrylou57: In its own way rural France can be very festive. Here you will not find big parades or outstanding street illuminations but you feel the festive spirit in each of these little markets.

    • sherrylou57 profile image


      8 years ago from Riverside

      Very festive and I love Christmas.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Princessa, Beautiful! Lovely festive hub! Oh my the holiday season is upon us! ENJOY! Thank You for sharing, In HIS Love, Grace, Joy, Peace & Blessings!

    • MarieAlice profile image

      Maria Alicia Cardenas 

      8 years ago from Spain

      so, so beautiful!!!!


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