101 places to go – Xmas in Arras

Arras Grand Place at night

What do you like best about winter? Is it waking to find the landscape has turned into a winter wonderland overnight? Maybe it’s the opportunity to snuggle up and get cosy next to a crackling fire. At cottages4you we’d have to say it’s the opportunity to explore and enjoy far reaches in a completely new light.

Take Arras in France for example; not only does the historic centre of the Artois region boast stunning monuments to its culturally diverse past – including two UNESCO World Heritage sites – in the summer months the town comes alive to the sounds of the Main Square Festival. But as enjoyable as it is to soak up the French summer to the accompaniment of some of music’s biggest names, we have to say: we’re a little more partial to Arras in winter.

This is due in no small part to the annual Christmas market. Over 60 exhibitors secure their pitch and offer a variety of delightful wares from the end of November to Christmas Eve. There are local delicacies, like the heart-shaped biscuits and wine, alongside delicacies from all over the world. You can view a myriad of delightful arts and crafts goods, or enjoy a range of other activities, including cookery demonstrations and fun fair rides!

Taking a winter walk through the historic streets of Arras is a joy in itself. Here are a couple of the town’s highlights…

• The stunning town hall isn’t one to miss. Not that you would, since its Gothic decor and grandiose belfry dominate the skyline.

• Just north of the town you’ll find the National Vimy Memorial. It was built to commemorate the Canadians who fought in the Battle of Arras during the First World War and is both a striking and sobering reminder of the Great War.

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