Young or old, traditional or modern, no one can resist that magical charm that can simply only be felt while wrapped in a warm jacket and big scarf, strolling through a wonderful Christmas market, while taking in all the surrounding sights, smells and sounds. Lyon is thought by many to be among Europe’s best Christmas markets, so be sure to stop by for a little winter cheer on your Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train route through Spain and France!
When is it?
Lyon’s beloved Christmas market has unfailingly taken place every year for the last 19 years, and tourists and locals alike have enthusiastically welcomed it into their lives as an important part of their favorite Christmas traditions. The market takes place at Place Carnot, in the heart of Lyon, everyday from the 26th of November until the 24th of December. With exception to Christmas Eve, when it closes at 4pm, the market welcomes visitors from 10.30am to 8pm on weekdays and 10pm on Saturdays.
What can I get there?
Lyon’s Christmas market gathers around 140 wooden chalets every year, so there will be no lack whatsoever of beautiful things to look at, delicious treats to try, or irresistible trinkets to buy. Vendors of all kind show their wonderful products to the public, who spend hours on end tirelessly taking it all in.
The market itself is beautiful to look at, with rustic wooden stalls lining the square, the magical lighting, the biting cold and the cheerful atmospheric christmas carols playing in the background make for a fairytale-type experience as you walk by.
Lyon's square with a giant noria
The smells alone are enough to melt away any resistance to the temptation of all the wonderful food and drink, just a couple of euros away. Warm and shield yourself from the cold with a mouthwatering cup of mulled wine or warm cider, or feed your rumbling tummy by trying some of the many cured and salted meats, fascinating cheeses, praline cakes, gingerbread cookies, macarons, roasted caramelized nuts, and more treats than you could even fathom. Does just thinking about make your sweet tooth kick in? Read about the best French and Spanish desserts to try during your travels!
It is also the perfect place to buy all those Christmas presents you want to take for your family and friends, with vendors selling all sorts of handmade jewellry, clothes and other accessories, clay figurines and toys, christmas decorations, candles, christmas trees, and typical Provencal nativity scenes and characters. For the little ones to enjoy the market just as much as the adults (or even more!), there is also all kinds of activities for children, such as face painting, storytelling and even a christmas carousel to ride around on.
What else is there to do?
There is also another Christmas market in Lyon, for those who can simply not get enough. Held in Croix-Rousse, this whole market replicates the feel and atmosphere of a Christmas Village, complete with a christmas farm with live animals, animations and exhibitions. The market is full of surprises for kids and animals alike!
Fête des Lumières in a building wall
Time your visit right, and you will have the amazing opportunity of syncing your wonderful christmas vacation one of Lyon’s most famous events, which people wait for all year around. For 4 nights only, from the 8th to the 11th of December, Lyon hosts the Fête des Lumières, the Festival of Lights, in which designers and artists all over the world compete to participate in, and spend all year preparing their exhibitions and masterpieces. The whole city, and particularly Lyon’s most famous monuments, become the canvases of these world renowned geniuses, who use colored lights to create some of the most exquisite art pieces you will ever have the opportunity to experience! Read here to find out all about it!
Why wait another moment? Avoid the last minute stress of the last days before Christmas - book your Renfe-SNCF en Coopération train tickets today and sit back and enjoy the countdown to that magical day!