A Festive French Christmas

December 5, 2019

With festivals of light, Christmas markets and seasonal food and drink, a visit to Normandy provides plenty of festive delight. Read on to find out more about the seasonal celebrations and events happening in Normandy this festive season.

Rouen Marché de Noël

From 27 November until the end of December, the centre of Rouen becomes a winter wonderland. Over 80 snow coloured chalets, nestled beneath the grand, gothic cathedral, sell traditional products such as gingerbread, foie gras and handmade wooden toys. On Wednesdays and weekends free entertainment takes place in the square and you might even spot Father Christmas doing his rounds!

Light Show in Bayeux Cathedral

The Cathedral of William event illuminates Bayeux Cathedral in a celebration of the legacy of William the Conqueror. A spectacular projection of the Bayeux Tapestry fills each side of the nave, telling the story of William’s fantastic epic and displayed where it was probably exhibited for the first time back in the medieval period. In a separate part of the cathedral, the axial chapel, a light show based around the theme of elevation is projected onto the stained-glass windows and surrounding architecture and invites visitors to meditate and reflect. For a beautiful and relaxed festive activity, head to Bayeux Cathedral to be filled with wonder.


Rouen Christmas Parade

On 8th December a huge Christmas Parade will make its way through the streets of Rouen, with floats themed around goblins, toys, Mother Christmas and the Snow Queen, amongst others. Last year it welcomed more than 30,000 spectators and promises to be just as spectacular this year, with music, dancing and plenty of Christmas cheer.

Ride Santa’s Train in Pacy-sur-Eure

Head south to Pacy -sur-Eure, where you can board a steam train to travel with Santa and his pals. Meet the man himself onboard, when he makes his way through the carriages and hands out presents to children. Christmas snacks and refreshments are available onboard too. For something a bit different to a sleigh, this fits the bill.


New Year’s Day Swim

If you’re in Normandy for new year, why not join the locals for a new year’s day dip? In Dieppe, Étretat and Fécamp, daring swimmers brave the 5°C temperatures for an invigorating start to the new year. Join in or wrap up warm and watch from the sides with a warming mug of hot chocolate.


Beauty & The Beast at Chateau de Guillaume-le-Conquérant

Discover the classic fairytale of Beauty & The Beast brought to life inside this real-life castle. Explore the different chapters of La Belle et la Bête through life-size exhibits in the dungeons and chambers of the chateau. Music, lights, texts, re-enactments and special effects bring this classic tale to life and will capture the imaginations of young and old alike.


Travel to Normandy on DFDS’s Newhaven to Dieppe route and arrive in France in just 4 hours.

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