Grapes at Domaine Leduc-Frouin

ripening grapes in the Loire

ripening grapes in the Loire

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Lille’s Christmas celebrations

Lille Christmas Market has to be worth a trip – at any time of year Lille is worth a visit, with its Vauban Citadel, Grand Place and Vielle Ville (medieval old town) there is always plenty to do – shopping, galleries, gastronomy.

The month-long Christmas Market in Lille is the largest in Northern France and has been a tradition for centuries. The market is extremely popular with the British because of the Eurostar link and proximity to the Channel ferry ports – especially the budget ferry DFDSterminal at Dunkerque.

Visitors to this market quickly get into the festive spirit. The whole of the Place Rihour, in the centre of town, is taken over by about 80 stalls selling arts and crafts and local cuisine. There’s entertainment for children in the shape of theatre and games and a chance to sample traditional French Christmas delicacies. A Big Wheel is set up in Grand’Place (Place du General de Gaulle). Visitors with children can have photos taken with Father Christmas, who attends the market and participates in a spectacular event on the Saturday before Christmas – when he ‘falls’ from the  Belfry.

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