Though it may not be as warm as the summer months, the Christmas period is a great time to stay on the French Riviera. The weather stays mild and the skies are blue – if you’re lucky, you may even be able to head up to the mountains for skiing or snow ball fights before spending the afternoon shopping in the winter sunshine. The Christmas Markets in Nice and Cannes run from the beginning of December up until the start of 2017 and have all the ideal components to get you feeling festive and ready for a cosy Christmas.
Christmas in Nice
Nice is a wonderful place to spend your Christmas. Throughout December, the city glows with Christmas lights; the Avenue Jean Medecin, Promenade des Anglais and the Place de Massena are full of magical, festive decorations and a joyous atmosphere. Whether its wondering around ‘Le Village de Noel’ or enjoying the Christmas Carols sung at the local churches, there are plenty activities for the whole family to enjoy.
Nice’s annual Christmas market, ‘Le Village de Noel’ runs from 3rd December 2016 to 1st Jan 2017 and is held in the central Jardin Albert 1er – one of Nice’s oldest public gardens. Around 60 festive market stalls and chalets are set in and around an alpine forest made up of over 600 pine trees. Take advantage of the wide variety of festive food and drink available – perhaps after you’ve taken to the ice rink and looked down on sparkling Nice from the top of the Ferris wheel. Even Father Christmas – or rather, Papa Noel – takes time out of his hectic schedule to visit Nice from the 19th– 25th December 2016.
At Christmas time, Nice is also home to the only indoor amusement park in Europe. From the 2nd December to 2nd January, the Luna Park opens its doors. With 130 stalls and rides, this indoor attraction has plenty for everyone.
If you’re planning on staying in Nice to see in 2017, the Nice Philharmonic Orchestra is staging a free concert at the Acropolis on New Year’s Day.
Christmas in Cannes
Festive markets, red-carpet shopping, colourful parades, ice-skating shows and more make the glorious seafront town of Cannes is a fantastic place to spend the festive period.
Cannes Christmas Village opens on 2nd December on Les Allees. Sip on some mulled wine or champagne and enjoy warm crepes while browsing unique stocking fillers and decorations. If you’ve still got shopping to do, Cannes’ red-carpet shopping event is held on the 20th December, when a glamourous, 1km long, red carpet will be laid along The Croisette. Situated on the seafront, the Croisette is the place for grand hotels, gorgeous boutiques and more.
The colourful Cannes Christmas parades take place on 19th December in La Bocca and 24th December in the rue d’Antibes. If you’re unable to attend these, the rue d’Antibes is pedestrianised every Sunday in December, in order to host a wide variety of musical street events.
In the neighbouring town of Le Cannet, the ‘Son et Lumiere’ (sound and light) show is unmissable. On Saturday 19th December, the famous light display will narrate a story by projecting beautiful, colourful scenes onto the grand town hall’s façade. Shortly after, Papa Noel is due to arrive and there will be mulled wine to warm you as you watch the fireworks.
Again, if you’re planning on celebrating the New Year on the French Riviera, Cannes’ ‘Le Reveillon’ is celebrated with a spectacular ‘Star Wars’ themed fireworks display.
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