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Visit outstanding cultural attractions or take a hike amongst the peaks? A romantic tour of the wine route or a family cruise? What will this year's
French holiday bring?

Christmas at the Châteaux, a Fairy Tale for the Young and Old

Starting in December and through the beginning of January, the Loire Châteaux celebrate Christmas. Decked out for the holidays, the castles are opening gourmet Christmas markets, nativity scenes, giant Christmas trees. Families are invited to storytime around the fireplace with a warm mug of hot chocolate. At Christmastime, the Châteaux are more magical than ever!

Loire Châteaux Christmas Markets

It's not just in Alsace that you can find charming Christmas markets! Many of the Loire Valley's châteaux are organizing them, too. At the Château de Brissac, artisans from all over France are coming to sell their creations: Christmas decorations, wooden toys, and more.

At the Chateau de Brézé, local craftsmen are opening their own market in a somewhat unusual location: the old feudal cellars where the riches of the Château used to be hidden. Adults can taste local wines while children can take poney rides around the castle's moats.

Another château, another taste of French cuisine: Azay-le-Rideau invites you to visit its food-themed collections, followed by a tasting of local candy, gingerbread, and artisanal apple juice.

Fairytale Decorations at the Loire Châteaux

For the Christmas holidays, every room of the Château de Chenonceau has been decorated by the castle's team of florists (who also take charge of decorating the rest of the year). Bouquets of flowers, tinsel, and giant Christmas trees decorate the Grande Galerie - unique from year to year, the effect is absolutely splendid.

The Royal Fortress de Chinon is also adorned with floral decorations, where a dozen trees - each different from the next - are just waiting to be discovered.

To enjoy nativity scenes, check out the Château d'Amboise (for a Neopolitan manger scene), the Château de Villandry (Provençale manger scene), or the Château de Cheverny. The famous Château de Tintin also invites you to enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate around the fireplace.

To get a twinkle in your eye, head to the Château de Langeais, which is all lit up for Christmas.

Christmas Traditions at the Loire Châteaux

Christmas is also - indeed, is above all - a holiday of traditions, including telling stories around the fireplace. Enjoy tales at the Château de Chambord, the Château de Meung-sur-Loire, or the Château de Beaugency, where children might just get a chance to meet Father Christmas.

To understand the history of Christmas in France from the Renaissance to today, see the decorated royal chambers of the Château d'Amboise. The "Christmas Through the Ages" cartoon show reveals all the secrets of this traditional holiday.