I always love visiting towns during the Christmas season, and even in the South of France they are all dolled up. Every year, I try to go and see three of my favourites: Montpellier, Béziers and Narbonne. This year, I also added Carcassonne to my list. I hope this article will inspire you to go yourself if you’re around. If not, it might help to virtually bring you to the South of France.
In Montpellier, ‘Les Hivernales‘ are installed across the city from November 25 to December 26. A giant Christmas tree decorates the Place de la Comédie, and you will find a festive market on the nearby Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. Numerous local artists and crafters sell their unique goods at more than 100 stands, including plenty of activities for the kids. Delicious smells will lead you to the end of the market, where the food chalets are gathered. From the Place de la Comédie, the beautifully decorated streets of L’Écusson will bring you to the Promenade du Peyrou. The city also installed an enormous Christmas star of eight by ten meters wide. Along with some magical scenes, it will definitely give you the Christmas spirit. This is also the place where children can post their letter to Santa Claus in a special post box.
Office de Tourisme, 30 Allée Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
Every year it is a big surprise how Béziers dresses up for Christmas. The city takes great care in transforming the historical city centre into a Winter Wonderland. In my humble opinion, they have succeeded again this year. You can visit the decorations and illuminations from November 27 till January 8. They are mainly scattered around the Place Jean Jaurès, including a giant Christmas tree at the feet of Paul Riquet’s statue. This year, there are also many other events, like a modestly sized Christmas market at Les Allées Paul Riquet, several Christmas parades and bands, the musical fountains and the Place Jean Jaurès, a funfair at the Place du 14 Juillet, and more. Here you can read the complete program.
From December 3 to January 1, charming Narbonne turns into a magical Christmas destination during ‘Les Féeries de Noël’. This includes a joyfully decorated Place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville including a small ice rink, and the beautifully illuminated Passage de l’Ancre that leads to the cathedral. Get yourself a cup of mulled wine or hot cocoa at the lively Christmas market on the Cours de la République while the kids have a ride at the funfair at Cours Mirabeau. As every year, the tower of the Palais des Archevêques is decorated like a giant present. And when night falls, all the lights shimmer and shine even more. Narbonne has also organised other events, which you can read about here.
Office de Tourisme, 31 rue Jean Jaurès
This year, you will find Carcassonne’s so-called ‘La Magie de Noël’ divided over various locations in town from December 3 to December 31. The festive season starts with the arrival of Saint Nicolas and the torch-lit procession of the Marche aux Flambeaux. The town yearly organises this parade around Saint-Nicolas’ name day on December 6. After that, Carcassonne pulls out all the stops and transforms the whole town into a magical Christmas scene. The beating heart is the festively illuminated Place Carnot and its vast Christmas market around a giant ice-skating rink. But you can also find enchanted bubbles on the Square Gambetta, the fun fair- including a Ferris Wheel- on the Square André Chénier, a rooftop chalet with views on the citadel at the Place Général de Gaulle, and plenty of other surprises. More info is to be found on this web page.
Office de Tourisme, 28 Rue du Verdun