Twinkly lights stretch as far as the eye can see, decorations hang proudly from Christmas markets’ wooden huts and the delicious smell of cinnamon is in the air. The festive season has well and truly arrived. There’s a magical feel at this time of year in Niort, Angers, Tours and Saumur, close to the Grande Maison Younan Collection’s Châteaux, with events promising plenty of holiday cheer as the new year approaches.
Just moments away from the Hôtel Saint-Martin, Niort is home to two fantastic Christmas markets with over fifty wooden huts. Enjoy a family day out, browsing for handmade gifts and sipping on a glass of mulled wine in the Place du Donjon and the Jardins de la Brèche until December 24. Treat yourself to some tartiflette or hearty diot sausages for a deliciously comforting dish, straight from the French mountains. Whether you’re looking for jewelry, leather goods, wooden toys, artisan soaps, chocolate, foie gras, wine or world cuisine, you’re sure to find an original – and possibly delicious! – gift to put under the tree. You can take your pick of activities in Niort: visit Santa, marvel at the animated scenes projected onto the walls of Niort’s medieval castle, enjoy musical entertainment, stroll round the streets, glide around on the ice and speed down the funfair’s toboggan run.
The medieval city of Angers, close to the Château de la Perrière, will be celebrating the holiday season with Digue Bazar Compagnie’s music. With their brass instruments and percussion, this group’s Deep South sound will transport anyone in the Place du Ralliement on Saturday, December 22. Festivities are in full swing at the Christmas market and the city’s Ferris wheel offers a breathtaking panoramic view of sparkling lights. Try out your skating skills, have a go on the merry-go-round and enjoy the magic of the circus (until January 6) where juggling, clowns and eye-popping acrobatics are bound to impress little ones.
Visitors to Tours, close to the Château de Beauvois, can enjoy unmissable festivities too. Beautifully lit up, the city embodies the Christmas spirit with its Christmas tree and merry-go-round near the station, its gorgeous carousel, its chair swing ride, its Ferris wheel and its 900m² skating rink, perfect for gracefully gliding around on the ice. With 70 wooden huts, its Christmas market is the ideal place to find the perfect gift, with a wide array of delicious treats and handmade items. Visitors are sure to enjoy a magical Christmas in the Loire Valley, thanks to the Touraine Val de Loire tourism board: six of the Loire Valley’s greatest châteaux (Amboise, Azay-le-Rideau, Chenonceau, Chinon, Langeais, Loche) will be celebrating the holiday season with an extraordinary program of events until January.
The festive season has started in Saumur, near the Château Le Prieuré. From December 22 until January 6, the historic Château de Brézé will be organizing a children’s treasure hunt, with plenty of clues about the Château’s mysterious past. In Saumur, Santa is going on a cruise on La Nonchalante, a traditional boat replica. Explore the city’s waterways for a chance to meet him. Saumur really adds some sparkle to the holidays with its Effervescences program, including illuminations, a Christmas market, plenty of holiday events, music and concerts, projections and a mouth-watering gourmet market. The “Triskell” horse show at the Manège des Écuyers and the “Étincelle” fire show in Place de la République will have visitors on the edge of their seats this Christmas.
Take advantage of a magical stay in one of the Grande Maison Younan Collection’s Châteaux this holiday season to explore the local area at this wonderfully festive time. Happy Christmas!