Places to visit

Christmas Markets 2010

The North's Chrstmas markets include fairs, entertainments, and market stalls with regional produce and other unusual and different present ideas...(pictured: Lille, Rinxent)

Christmas Markets
In past centuries, housewives in rural France would spend much of the two weeks before Christmas baking and preparing typical festive food - hence the markets, which grew up to supply them with all the supplies they needed.

Today, Christmas markets and fairs are enjoying a rennaissance! Bigger and better than ever, they give an opportunity to buy unusual and different foodstuffs, local produce, regional specialities, rich cakes, beautifully packaged sweets and chocolates, traditional decorations, local crafts and other present ideas - and often to save money, compared with UK High Street prices!

...[Christmas markets in Lille]... really are wonderful. There are so many Christmas present ideas and something for everyone. It's the only time of the year when Lille actually feels culturally together. The atmosphere is great and this is the only reason I would return! ...
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Where to go..Christmas fairs in Nord Pas-de-Calais
Locations of some of the bigger Christmas markets:
towns in red are in the Nord; blue in Pas-de-Calais

Characterful Christmas market close by the Belfry in Bethune (11) - easy to find just off the A26 motorway.

Events in Xmas 2010 - Places to visit,
NOTE: use the web links to check details before travelling:

2. Calais: Dec 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 (each Fri to Sunday) Christmas market in Place d'Armes: for details, see

7. Lille: 24 Nov - 30 Dec - Handy, for Eurostar, the month-long Christmas Funfair in the Place Rihour; concerts, exhibitions, entertainment, and more than 50 stalls selling original gifts. Details

9. Licques: Dec 11-13 - traditional turkey parade and market (high quality traditionally-reared organic poultry). Details:

10. Arras: Nov 26-Dec 14 Christmas Market with 40+ craft stalls and giant tree also in Grand Place, plus ice-skating, cookery and entertainments - details:

11. Bethune: Nov 27-Dec31 - Christmas market held every day with around 40 Flemish-style chalets selling decorations, regional produce and other gifts by the Belfry in the town square. - details:

Boulogne: Christmas market Dec 11-12, for details, see

Children in the North traditionally look out for visits from Saint Nicholas rather than Father Christmas - look out for him in processions around 6th December!
Some of the most spectacular annual events are in
Boulogne [picture below] and Arras.

1. Boulogne - St.Nicholas parade. 2. Calais - Christmas Market by Theatre. 3. Licques - famous turkey festival


Link to the Tourist Board websites to check times & dates, and for lots of other events at Christmas time:

Nord / Pas-de-Calais




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