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Riviera Pebbles Blog: Christmas markets

Posted on 9th Dec 2019 in Go & Do


Christmas markets on the French Riviera

For anyone looking to visit the French Rivera over Christmas and New Year, the Christmas markets will probably be on your list of things to do. Here’s what you need to know.


From December 6th to January 5th (open daily between 11:00am - 8:00pm)
The Christmas Market (Village de Noel Nice) is held in Place Massena, where it is transformed into a small mountain village with traditional chalets. Filled with nearly 70 food and craft artisan cabins, you will be sure to find yourself a seasonal keepsake, for the family back home. You will also find a small ferris wheel for the little ones, as well as other fairground rides and stalls.


From December 1st until January 5th.
Antibes quaint Christmas village lights up the port and with the backdrop of the Alpes, you are bound to get that festive feeling. There are plenty of Christmas events planned, including a Santa fun run on December 21st, lots of activities for children and English and French carol and Christmas services. You can expect to find all the usual stalls plus a 27m Ferris wheel and ice skating rink near the super-yacht port.


From December 6th to the January 5th
The Christmas market in the Principality of Monaco takes place in Port Hercule in Quai Albert 1er. Similar to Nice, it is rebuilt to a Christmas village with wooden chalets with regional products and culinary specialities. Among other attractions present each year, Monaco offers workshops for children, games, a ferris wheel and an ice-skating rink.


The Christmas village opens on December 1st until the 5th of January.
Located on Les Allees at 6pm. There is mulled wine, champagne and seafood bars as well as stands selling everything for those special Christmas decorations and presents. There is a fairground, Christmas parades and an ice rink with planned ice shows. The rue d'Antibes is pedestrianised at 2-6pm every Sunday in December, The Christmas parade takes place at 3pm on December 24th and a musical parade at at 3pm on December 31st.


Secret tip: many of the fine Nice restaurants pop across to the Italian border where fish and meat and cheese can be of better quality for cheaper prices. So, if you are here for a while, and want to stock up on the freshest and finest of Mediterranean fare, then this is well worth the trip. It’s a 50 minute train ride from Nice centre.

Our top 5 tips for enjoying the Christmas markets!

  1. Cash is King.

    Most of the temporary, wooden stalls won’t have card machines and will only take cash. Plus it gives you haggle room on higher value items.

  2. Crowdy & Rowdy.

    Evening is atmospheric but can be busy. If you want to shop seriously, go in the morning. If you want to browse and soak up the atmosphere, evening is best. Santa, with a very long queue, is there in the evening. As you might expect, weekdays are less crowded than the weekends.

  3. Have you evening meal away from the market.

    Market food is good, and fun and might be all you are looking for, but if you plan on a three-course meal after browsing the stalls, head further out. Many restaurants near the market raise prices temporarily to cater for the market crowd, and regardless of the uplift, they are still hard to get a table, and you’ll wait far longer to be served than you would be walking ten minutes further out.

  4. Make good use of the new tramway.

    The closet stop to the market is Jean Médecin. Tickets are from 1.50€ per adult and run every five minutes or so.

  5. Be aware of pick pockets.

    Nice isn’t known for high crime rates, but it suffers petty theft like most other cities. Keep an eye on your bag, camera, phone etc, and don’t make yourself an easy target.

We hope for those visiting Nice during the festive period that you have a happy holiday and if we can help, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

For those that won’t be joining us this year, from all the Pebbles team we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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