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As the holiday season approaches, the city sparkles with red, green, white and gold, the huge Ferris wheel takes pride of place in the Grande Place and the air is scented with spices and mulled wine. It’s Christmas in Lille!
The legendary friendliness of the city is even more evident at Christmas, as local shops and boutiques compete with each other for the most creative shop windows and illuminations, and over 80 wooden chalets add to the festive atmosphere attracting visitors and locals of every age.
The Christmas Market in its modern incarnation was first organised in Lille in 1989 and quickly become one of the preferred Christmas Markets in France. Lille is the fourth metropolitan area in France after Paris, Lyon and Marseille, and is located in the heart of the Paris-London-Brussels triangle, attracting an international clientele well beyond the city limits. Proof of it’s success is that the merchants that offer their wares in the chalets never fail to come back year after year.
This market is the perfect spot to get all your Christmas shopping done in one place, and get original and unexpected gifts and foodie holiday treats for your celebration. The chalets offer gourmet delicacies and crafts from the region as well as from faraway places like Russia, Poland or Quebec. Artisans embrace the opportunity to promote their products with tastings and demonstrations. Browsing the maze of vendors is a veritable treasure hunt of Christmas decorations, jewellery, accessories, and toys.
While you are there, hop on the 50-meter high Ferris wheel for a magical view of the twinkling city, and warm up afterwards with some mulled wine, hot chocolate or spiced warm apple juice. The joyful atmosphere is contagious and visitors of all generations have fun together enjoying the facepainting workshops, jugglers, music and singing, and of course the gourmet treats revealing the eclectic cultural heritage of Lille.
The Lille Christmas Market is open from the end of November to the end of December every day from 11am to 8pm, until 9pm on Friday and Saturday evening, except on Christmas Day December 25.