Best Christmas Markets on the French Riviera

Best Christmas Markets on the French Riviera

Whether you enjoy browsing through handcrafted stocking stuffers, snacking on a melty bite-sized raclette, or taking a ride on the Ferris wheel, France offers some of the most mesmerising and delicious Christmas markets across Europe.

But while northern cities like Strasbourg, Reims, or Metz are regularly acclaimed for their beauty, the French Riviera can offer just as much in the winter season. From Monaco to Cannes, celebrate the holidays on the Côte d’Azur by visiting one of these Christmas markets.

Cannes has much to offer beyond the film festival


Still beautiful — although a little more quiet than in the summer — the glamorous city of Cannes transforms its town centre into a magical Christmas scenery every winter. Throughout December, you can savour crepes and waffles, ice skate until your heart drops, and browse through the many artisanal stalls making up the Christmas village along Allee de la liberté. The local belvedere shimmering with Christmas decorations host Santa meet-ups and photo ops on the weekend, and if you’re around the Riviera on the 31st December, you’ll have the chance to cosy up on the Croisette and celebrate the New Year watching fireworks.

Antibes Juan-Les-Pins

The expat-friendly towns of Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins go all out in December to give locals and tourists alike a magical experience. Along with the typical Christmas villages sprouting across the old town, you can expect many family-friendly activities, from the animal farm and ice skating rink by the sea at la Pinede Gould to the Fête nationale de la Lorraine in Port Vaudan. One of the most-loved traditions around town is the witty Santa arrival on 22nd December. Hint: he will be water skiing from Baie de Juan-les-Pins to the Promenade du Soleil.


A trip to the Côte d’Azur cannot be completed without a stopover in Monaco. The principality hosts a themed Christmas market every winter, this year with a focus on the Norwegian archipelago of Spitzberg. Set along the Port de Monaco, the market takes its visitor on a culinary and artisanal journey honouring the arctic exploration work of Prince Albert 1er. You can can expect Norwegian huts, polar animals structures, and the Prince’s own explorator gear beautifully set up among 800 Christmas trees.

Shop for baubles at the festive markets © Rodion Kutsaiev


Last but not least, Nice offers one of the biggest Christmas markets on the French Riviera. Starting at Place Massena, the city installed more than 50 wooden huts ready to curb any cravings for french food. From mulled wine and charcuterie boards to sugar waffles, tartiflette, and Christmas beers, visitors can fill their belly with warm and delicious delicacies before exploring the Santa factory near les Jardins Albert 1er. When the night sets in, you’ll have the chance to go onto the ferris wheel for a mesmerising view of the illuminated bay. Along with the St Lucia celebration on December 13th and after-work live music, Nice and the rest of the Riviera sets up enchanting displays all winter long well worth a visit.

Lead photo credit : Get in the festive spirit!

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