Every year in December, the Place de la Victoire in Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne, hosts a month-long French Christmas Market. The annual event, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019, is usually held from November 29 to December 29, right by the famous Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral.
Strasbourg and Paris are among the best Christmas markets in France, but their popularity tends to attract a more massive crowd. On the other hand, Clermont-Ferrand Christmas Market is perfect for a more intimate experience in a smaller setting.
Check out our Clermont-Ferrand Things To Do for more ideas while visiting Auvergne’s capital.
What to Expect from a French Christmas Market
As a historically Christian nation, Christmas in France is an important event. Primarily a family gathering, it’s also the time when people gather to share food and gifts, and the Christmas markets are in the same traditions.
And because it’s France, expect lots of food and drink! Shopping is expected from both the vendors and visitors, who can grab locally made gifts made of wood, wool, and anything in-between.
What to Do at the Clermont-Ferrand Christmas Market
A Christmas Parade usually starts on the first day of the festivities, crosses from Place Delille through the Place de la Victoire, and ends on the Place de Jaude. The Christmas Tree and Ferris Wheel stand on Clermont’s most famous square. Several streets around Place de Jaude and the Christmas Market are illuminated roads that can be explored on foot or a small sightseeing trolley. These two options are probably the best way to explore and enjoy the holiday festivities, as driving might be trying and parking limited given the event’s popularity.
Featuring over 60 stands, the Marché de Noël, as it’s called in French, offers different “villages.” Some are dedicated to children with “Le Coin des Lutins,” where kids can find a Santa Claus stand, go treasure hunting, enjoy a makeup stand, and watch magic shows. In addition, kid-friendly activities and workshops are available on Wednesdays afternoons.
Gourmands and gourmets will make sure to check the “Burons Gourmands,” where you can taste local specialties. Mulled wine (vins chauds), roasted chestnuts (marrons grillés), bretzels, oysters, foie gras, or local Aligot (mashed potatoes mixed with cheese) with sausage, craft beers, truffade, and more.
Handicrafts and homemade food productions are available at the “Fabrique de Noël.” There, you will find shawls, wooden toys, and Christmas ornaments.
Free live concerts take place on Fridays from 6:30 pm (18h30), with genres from Jazz, pop-rock, and even Gospel performances.
How to Visit Clermont-Ferrand Marché de Noël
Clermont-Ferrand Christmas market is located at the Place de la Victoire, close to the famous dark stone Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral. Historians consider the square to be the oldest part of the city, which dates from the 6th-century. The central location makes it ideal for visiting Old Clermont and its narrow streets, one of the top things to do in Clermont-Ferrand.
The entrance to the Christmas market is free, as well as several attractions. In addition, a trolley train rolls through the town along the illuminated streets and requires a small fee for boarding.
Opening Dates and Hours
- From November 29 to December 29, 2019
- Sunday to Thursday: 10:30 am to 8 pm (10h30 to 20h00)
- Friday and Saturday: 10:30 am to 9 pm (10h30 to 21h00)
- Exceptional hours on a few specific days
- Closed on December 25
Families with children will probably enjoy the Christmas market during the day, especially on Wednesdays so that they can enjoy the kid activities. Adults might want to check the market in the evening, strolling the small alleys and enjoying a cup of mulled wine while watching the illuminations.
Place de Jaude Christmas Tree and Ferris Wheel
Head to the nearby Place de Jaude, where a tall Christmas Tree and an illuminated Ferris Wheel stand. Walking by on the square brings a festive mood, and whether you board the wheel or not, you will appreciate the sight.
Boarding the Ferris Wheel is enjoyable both during the day for a great view of Clermont-Ferrand and the surrounding Chaîne des Puys mountain range. At night, the Place de Jaude takes on a magical atmosphere. Either way, you are in for a treat.
Check our other France travel experiences as we walked the paths of the Père Lachaise Cemetery, explored the Paris Catacombs, or wandered along with the Canal St. Martin.
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