While most people think of Paris when it comes to the Christmas season in France, the south gets left behind. Don’t get us wrong, you really can never have a bad time in Paris, Christmas or not, however, if you want to beat the Christmas rush and enjoy winter a little differently, we recommend you head to the south. Like Paris, The South of France is decked out in lights and Christmas spirit. There are Christmas markets, shopping, and most importantly, much warmer weather than up north. When you think of the south, many people associate Nice or Cannes, we want to open you eyes to Perpignan- where the streets look like Marseilles or Nice but in miniature. The buildings are just as grand, but are scaled down and feel intimate.
One of the highlights of the city I s the Place de la Republic, a square surrounded by colorful apartments and an Opera Theatre. On the ground floors of most of the apartments in the area stand shops or cafes that are bright with lights and Christmas decorations. You also cannot miss the Market in Perpignan- a delightful place to bring a camera and capture as many Instagram-worthy shots as you can. One of the gorgeous things throughout the city of Perpignan is the dark red marble of the sidewalks veined in white. The older buildings still have their wooden shutters and beams, reminding visitors of fairytales from their childhood.
During winter, the Palace de la Victoire is filled with people ice-skating and is right in the heart of the city, a perfect place to get a drink and people watch. Throughout the city runs the Canal de Perpignan, the banks are decorated with long well-kept lawns and pretty flower beds, a perfect place to stroll along all hours of the day While you are in Perpignan, the food, bread, and wine are all a part of the experience, especially a traditional French Christmas treat- it’s a soft, sweet cake-like bread with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and licorice flavor of anise. Don’t forget to pair it with some mulled wine you will find all over the city at this time.
Overall, the city of Perpignan is the perfect alternative to the City of Lights up north for the winter holidays. Explore a new region of France that you can fall in love with and come back to year-after-year.