Some of France’s biggest cities transform into winter wonderlands throughout December as the Christmas market season begins. With this in mind, cross-Channel ferry operator DFDS, shares top tips for how shoppers can get the most out of a short weekend break across the Channel. 


When thinking of French Christmas markets, Lille is top of the list for many British visitors.  

Until the December 30, the Christmas Village returns to this beautiful city. More than 90 chalets fill the Place Rihour, selling regional products, Christmas decorations and delicious Christmas food.  

Every Friday there is a different event, including acrobats, concerts and dancers, and every Wednesday there is an event for children.  

Don’t miss

The 160ft high Ferris Wheel that dominates the Grand Place. You can enjoy spectacular views across the city from one of its 36 gondolas. 

Where to stay

Great for families: Novotel Lille Centre Gares  

Perfect for couples: Moxy Lille City, Lille  


The Christmas Village in Arras’ Grand Place is one of the biggest in the Hauts de France region.  

This year’s market is bigger than ever, with a longer route spread over five locations and nearly double the number of stalls. With its glittering lights and extravagant decorations the already stunning square becomes even more wondrous as the Christmas celebrations begin.  

The village continues across the city with Santa’s grotto, rides, and performances from musicians, dancers, and entertainers.  

Don’t miss  

Celebrate the festival of St Nicholas, when you can see him descend from the belfry overlooking the Place des Heros, accompanied by a special light and sound show. 

Where to stay  

Great for families: Mercure Arras Centre Gare  

Perfect for couples: La cour des grands, Arras  


No Christmas market trip would be complete without a visit to Amiens, home to one of France’s largest and most famous Christmas markets.  

Until New Year’s Eve you can discover the lights, sounds and smells of Christmas, and with 120 chalets spread over 2km of Amiens’ beautiful streets, this is a Christmas market not to be missed.  

Meet Santa, skate on the ice rinks then get your fill of the fabulous food. With so many shows, street performers, and rides to enjoy, Amiens really does go all out to celebrate Christmas. 

Don’t miss 

Chroma – at 7pm throughout December a spectacular light and sound show takes over Amiens’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Lights are projected onto the façade, bringing the statues and carvings to life in vivid colour and sound. 

Where to stay

Great for families: Hotel Vistor Hugo, Amiens  

Perfect for couples: Hotel Le Prieure et La Residence, Amiens   


Normandy has recently been voted the most desirable region in Europe at the prestigious Wanderlust Travel Awards 2022, so a trip to the region’s capital Rouen is a must.  

The market sits beneath the imposing Rouen Cathedral and its iconic towers, where over 80 chalets sell gifts, decorations and festive food. The light show projected onto the cathedral and surrounding buildings in Rouen is certainly one of the best in Northern France, and don’t forget to see the 10m high pyramid of light at nearby Saint-Sever church.  

Don’t miss 

Normandy is renowned for its apples, so indulge in a mulled cider or hot calvados as you stroll through the Christmas village.  

Where to stay

Great for families: Novotel Suites Rouen Normandie  

Perfect for couples: Radisson Blu Hotel, Rouen  

Explore these winter wonders on a short break to France with DFDS. Prices on the Dover to Calais or Dover to Dunkirk routes start from £39 for a car and up to four people.  

For access to the west of France, travel from Newhaven to Dieppe from £80 each way for a car and two people. For more information or to book visit 

READ MORE: The Best Things To Do In London This December With Family & Friends