There is nothing quite like a traditional Christmas market to get you in the festive spirit and the Annecy Christmas market brings good cheer and shining lights in abundance. Just walk through the old town and take in the smell of toasted almonds, enjoy a glass of vin chaud, shop for handmade gifts and try a spot of ice skating.
At OVO Network we love the Annecy Christmas market. Here are a few reasons why…
The Annecy Christmas Market
The main Christmas market consists of 80 quaint chalets where artisans sell their wares. Everything from festive delicacies to handmade clothing and local Savoyard dishes can be found here.
The Village des Alpes
The village des Alpes is the place to be in Annecy this festive season. Food and drink chalets fill the village in front of the Courier shopping centre, making it a great place to grab some roasted chestnuts, a hot chocolate or even tartiflette. There are also craft beers and cider bars as well as live music and open fireplaces!
At the heart of the festivities, you’ll find a fully decorated 12m Christmas tree!
See where to find both markets in this handy map:
City hall in lights
It’s worth sticking around until dark for a number of reasons, one of which is the mesmerising light show projected on to the city hall. The whole facade of the building is transformed into entertaining 12-minute animations, often depicting fun festive scenes. The show is completely free to watch and is a real highlight of the whole event.
This year’s timings are yet to be announced, however, last year there were showings every 20 minutes. Lose yourself for a few minutes with the video of the 2015/16 show below.
Open air ice skating
Take a turn on the traditional style open-air ice rinks by the Village des Alpes. This year there are two rinks; one small 30m2 rink dedicated to toddlers to make a safe place for them to take their first tentative turns on the ice, and a large 430m2 rink for older kids and adults.
There are going to be two well-placed chalets near the rink, offering hot and cold non-alcoholic drinks, festive sweets, pancakes, waffles, churros and more… Nobody said that you had to be cold and hungry while watching your kids on the ice!
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Vin chaud and hot chocolate…
It can be chilly out and about at the markets. The perfect way to warm up is to find one of the many stalls offering vin chaud (mulled wine), mulled cider and hot chocolates.
A perfect festive memory for kids to take home with them is a picture with Santa Claus himself! Find him in his grotto for an unforgettable Christmas experience for your little ones.
With over 2,500 gift ideas available for purchase across the 80 chalets you’ll have no problem finding a (maybe last-minute) Christmas gift for your loved ones. Scented candles, handcrafted toys and jewellery, luxury knitwear… it’s all there!
250 hours of music with bands and DJs over the course of the festive period. The vast majority of the concerts are found at the Village des Alpes.
Throughout the market area, you will find many free activities for children and adults alike. Festive storytellings, children’s workshops, face painting, concerts and choirs are just some of the things you can expect to find, and it’s all for free!
One of the joys of Christmas markets the world over is being able to experience the local cuisine. The Annecy Christmas market is peppered with chalets and stalls offering Savoyarde dishes such as tartiflette and diots, making hearty, on-the-go lunches or early dinners. And for those with a sweet tooth, every corner holds a crêpes stand and waffles, churros, toffee apples and more are never far away…
The Annecy Christmas Market is in town from 22 November 2019 until the 5 January 2020. If you haven’t already found accommodation visit OVO Network to explore our range of luxury properties in Annecy and the surrounding area.
Foire de la Saint André
Another event worth visiting during the festive season is the ‘Foire de la Saint André’, an annual market which has taken place in Annecy since the middle ages. The market now takes place on the first Tuesday of December and is one of the biggest events on the Annecy calendar.
Stall-holders from all over France make up nearly 5.5km of stands, which line the streets of Annecy selling everything under the sun. Thousands of visitors descend on Annecy for the day, so if you’re driving plan to park away from the town centre and walk in.
For a smaller Christmas market experience try Thônes, and the ski resorts of La Clusaz, Le Grand Bornand and Manigod, all of which put on their own festive markets. In Thônes the town centre is transformed with small chalets selling handmade gifts, toys, food and more, creating a wonderful atmosphere. In the ski resorts, you’ll find the traditional markets are given a festive twist, with twinkling lights, decorations and gifts, making for a magical experience away from the slopes.
Though it might not be the first thing you think of on your winter holiday, a cycle around Lake Annecy on a sunny winters day before the Christmas Market is simply stunning. With beautiful white-capped mountains and quiet roads, it’s a magical time to explore the villages around the lake. Read more about the route on our cycling in Annecy page.