Escape, recharge or recover from the Christmas chaos or festive revelry with one of these cosy Christmas city breaks in Europe, recommended by DFDS ferries.  

The cross-Channel ferry company connects Dover to Calais and Dunkirk, which put you within a couple of hours' drive of a host of fabulous French cities where you can relax and enjoy a cosy festive getaway. 

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Wrap yourself in a world of winter wonders and experience a sparkling selection of festive events in Bruges until January 8, 2023.  

Activities include everything from walking trails to light festivals, and from ice-skating on the romantic Lake of Love to superb shopping.  

Explore the inspiring concept stores, small boutiques and unique creators that fill the historic city centre’s main shopping streets.  

Bruges hosts special shopping weekends throughout the festive period supporting local speciality businesses selling a range of fashion, home décor, delicacies, books, and gifts. 

The city will be lit up by eight stunning new light installations for the Awakening Light Experience Trail.  

Walk the trail and enjoy a magical light and laser show that brings the city’s historic sites to life every evening from 5pm until midnight. 

Bruges is just over an hour from the ferry port of Dunkirk. Book two nights in a city centre hotel from £289 with DFDS’ hotel partner



Break away from the crowds for a more relaxed Christmas in the city of Bethune – this vibrant art-deco destination is only an hour from Calais. 

Visit the UNESCO-listed belfry and climb its 133 steps to enjoy fantastic views across the city. Then stop in the cobbled square below for a fairy-tale Christmas village with a Ferris Wheel and traditional Christmas market

Bethune is a centre for craft brewing and is home to the historic microbrewery Brasserie Castelain. Handed down through three generations, the brewery is home to the famous Ch’ti beer and produces an annual Christmas beer.  

For the ultimate relaxing weekend, stay at the charming four-star Chateau de Beaulieu an oasis of tranquillity nestled in the countryside just outside the city, with rooms from £230 per night.  



If the hustle and bustle of one of Northern France’s cultural centres is more your thing, Arras is the perfect winter weekend destination.  

One of its highlights is the Wellington Tunnels, which sit 20 metres below ground. The museum there tells the story of the First World War soldiers who sheltered in the tunnels during the brutal Battle of Arras in 1917. The Museum of Fine Arts located in seventh century Abbey St Vaast holds an exceptional collection of rare treasures and 17th century French paintings.  

Arras also hosts one of France’s largest Christmas markets, with squares throughout the city transformed into a festive wonderland.  

Gastronomes can gorge on a host of gourmet delicacies from the local area, including oysters, andouillette sausages and the finest cheeses. The market is open every afternoon until December 30 (except Christmas Day).  

Reach Arras in just over an hour from the Dover-Calais ferry and stay at a city centre hotel overlooking the belfry from just £198 for two nights. 



Walk the wintry streets and parks of Amiens for a romantic festive getaway. The city’s botanical gardens are beautiful in winter and a slow stroll through its 10,000 square metres of outdoor space offers a great way to recharge.  

Find time for a boat trip through the floating gardens of Les Hortillonnages for a relaxing way to see France’s renowned ‘Venice of the North.’ 

Make time to see the spectacular Chroma sound and light show which illuminates the Notre-Dame d’Amiens at seven every evening. It uses state-of-the-art technology to take spectators on a sensory journey through the city’s past, lighting up the cathedral’s medieval façade. 

Relax in a log cabin with a lake view at the Chalet des Hortillonnages from £197 for two people over two nights in December. 

For more information on cross-Channel ferry crossings, visit 

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