December: events in France
PUBLISHED: 12:00 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:00 25 November 2014
Discover some of the major events happening in France in December 2014. Including Christmas markets, outdoor ice rinks and a turkey parade.
Strasbourg Christmas market
28 November – 31 December
With its inaugural Christmas market held in 1570, Strasbourg claims to host the oldest and one of the largest marchés de Noël in Europe. Running this year from 28 November to 31 December, the market has some 300 chalets arranged across 11 areas of the city selling arts and crafts, food and Alsatian Christmas decorations. Highlights include delicious vin chaudand tasty bretzels, as well as the impossible-to-miss giant Christmas tree in Place Kléber and breathtaking illuminations throughout the rest of the city. Guaranteed to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Fête des Lumières, Lyon
Brighten up the short days of December with a visit to Lyon’s colourful Fête des Lumières. For four nights from 5-8 December, the capital of Rhône-Alpes will be illuminated with more than 70 light installations casting colourful displays on buildings, statues and streets throughout the city. Last year’s festival took place across the city at locations including Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and the big wheel in Place Bellecour.
Rock on Ultimate, Avoriaz
The ski resort of Avoriaz in the Portes du Soleil area celebrates the opening of the 2014/15 season with Rock on Ultimate, a whole week of snow sports from 12-19 December. Ski and snowboard brands will be letting people try out their new gear in the festival village from 12-14 December, and free concerts will be taking place. There is also a children’s zone where kids as young as three can learn to snowboard. What’s more, Avoriaz lift
passes are less than half price for the week of 12-19 December, so you can enjoy the newly opened slopes and an extra hot chocolate or two!
Habits de Lumière, Épernay
If you prefer to celebrate Christmas with a glass of something bubbly then head over to the town of Épernay, self-proclaimed ‘capital of champagne’, for the Habits de Lumière festival. Taking place on 12-14 December, the event sees the town and the elegant champagne houses of the Avenue de Champagne ‘dressed in lights’. Parades, light and sound shows and concerts happen across Épernay, along with tasting sessions, pop-up champagne bars, demonstrations from regional chefs and a vintage car procession to finish off the weekend.
Fête de la Dinde, Licques
The small town of Licques in Nord-Pasde-Calais is famous for its high-quality Christmas turkeys and, to celebrate the bird, the Fête de la Dinde is held every December. In a tradition dating back four centuries, turkeys are paraded through the town and thousands of spectators gather to watch the feathered procession. The local liqueur, Licquoise, is on offer and there is also a gourmet Christmas market so you can stock up on some French delights. This year the festival takes place on 13-14 December, with the parade on the Sunday morning.
Paris ice rinks
from 19 December
You can’t get much more festive than donning your ear muffs and woolly gloves, grabbing a pair of ice skates and taking to the ice on a crisp winter’s day. Visitors to Paris are in luck – the city has several rinks to offer over the winter season, including the iconic open-air patinoire in front of the grand Hôtel de Ville, opening on 19 December. There is also the themed ice rink located in the Christmas village on the Champs-Élysées, as well as a non-themed rink at the Trocadéro in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower. Entry is free, skate hire costs from €5.