If you are into medieval cities and Mediterranean beaches, then visiting #France is for you. Considered the largest country in Western Europe, France is also home to historical landmarks. This includes The Eiffel Tower and The Louvre Museum. Meanwhile, a selection of fine wines is like a cherry on top. But did you know that France houses some of the best Christmas Markets in Europe too?
With the holiday season almost here, visiting this lovely country is all the more exciting.
Before you book that flight ticket, though, let's give you a rundown of the best Christmas Markets in France you should not miss when you visit Europe.
Drawing in approximately 2 million visitors each year makes Strasbourg the most famous Christmas Market throughout Europe. Situated near both Germany and Switzerland, this market brings about a perfect blend of that festivity vibe. Its history dates back to 1570; therefore, it's no surprise that Strasbourg is tagged as the "Capital of Christmas". From traditional dinnerware, fresh produce, wine and beer, you can find it all here.
If you want that traditional holiday celebration, then this is the perfect spot to start.
Does going into both a market and a funfair sound exciting to you? Well, then Tuileries got you covered! This Christmas market offers enthralling products too. You can find it all here, from a great spread of Christmas decorations to a lovely selection of gift ideas. Known as the biggest Christmas market, Tuileries has a good mixture of food, drinks, and crafts.
And since there is already a funfair within the vicinity, rides and entertainment will keep the kids' interest high. So whether you are solo traveling, as a couple, or with the whole family, Tuileries is a perfect destination to explore.
Someone fond of food will find the Reims as their haven! With 135 stalls offering different local delicacies. Reims Christmas market will leave you in a food coma sooner than you think. Compared to other Christmas markets, Reims highlights different French cuisines. And did we mention an extensive line-up of champagne bars too? Now, if that didn't entice you yet, we don't know what will.
The quaint streets of Colmar, with its stalls arranged beautifully, will make everyone fall in love with Christmas, even The Grinch. Let yourselves loose as you take a stroll through the richly illuminated streets and alleyways. It feels like you're in a romantic movie scene. Don't forget to try their local specialties and get the first dib on some of the handicrafts manually made for your own experience.
Each street has its own particular theme and will surely swaddle you with so much Christmas vibe. Colmar Christmas market offers a unique mood guaranteed to delight every one of all ages.
Montbéliard is well-known for its hospitality, and indeed you can feel the same on their Christmas market. Expect to be welcomed by the sound of different choral songs as you enter the market. Be ready to indulge in a variety of mouth-watering delicacies as well from Montbéliard and France. Its history dates back to 1986, and every year more than 400,000 visitors come and experience the festivity vibe firsthand.
The market's success is partly because of a breath-taking illumination design of the old town's streets which lets you travel back in time.
The city of Nice is known for its mild climate, even during winter. And that makes it perfect for those who feel uncomfortable with weather that's too cold. The Christmas village only consists of about 60 chalets. It is less compared to other Christmas markets in town but filled with never-ending activities for everyone of all ages.
Some of the children's favorite attractions include inflatables, a Ferris wheel, and a massive skating rink in the middle.
Did you know that Aix-en-Provence is a university city in the southern region of France? And the good thing is, you need not be a student to explore the town freely. The Christmas market theme changes every year, with some mainstays. The usual products you will see include hand-crafted toys, delicious mulled wine, and some Provencal delicacies that are difficult to resist.
For the first time in 2018, the Aix-en-Provence Christmas Market runs from November 21st until December 31st every day. And as a result, this gives tourists a broader window to pay some visit.
Known to be the "Jewel of the North," Lille's Christmas Market makes it possible for the whole town to be covered in massive crown garlands. If you want to experience a traditional Winter Wonderland, then this is the place to go. The city lights up and sparkles in the heart of winter. With hundreds of shops situated at Place Rihour, your shopping experience is taken to the next level.
You can either find specialties here from other places such as Russia, Poland, and Québec.
Bordeaux is famous for its extensive choices of red wine. And each year, Allées de Tourny is transformed into a magical Christmas Market of little wooden huts and stalls. You will find more random products being sold here, such as clothes, Christmas decorations, toys, and other local products.
The atmosphere alone is already a treat for its visitors, staying in those little cabanas with light garlands. And after shopping, if the little ones get bored, the carousel of Monsieur Caramel is just right next to the market.
As soon as you step foot on Riquewihr, you'll feel like you traveled back in the medieval ages. The town has been able to preserve its heritage for centuries now. And during Christmas, the whole town transforms into a magical setting. Be ready to indulge in pretzels, spice bread, and some traditionally hot chestnuts among the treats on offer.
Riquewihr is a wonderful marriage between the spirit of Christmas and architectural beauty.
There is no other better place to celebrate Christmas than in a country that widely celebrates it. So feel free to keep this list handy when you finally decide to go and visit France.
Dwarka is one of the famous pilgrimage sites in India situated at the western part of Kathiawar peninsula in Gujarat. According to local mythology, the city was strongly associated with Krishna. According to legend, Krishna after leaving Mathura set up his capital here. The city is famous for its beautiful Gujarati artifacts which tourists can buy from the nearby markets.
Dwarka is well connected to all the major cities via a dense network of roads. The railway station in Dwarka connects to various cities like Jamnagar, Mumbai, Rajkot, Ahmedabad and several more. Tourists can visit this place throughout the year. However, the best time to visit Dwarka is during the celebration of Janmashtami.
Considered as one of the sacred cities of India, Dwarka is one of the four char dhams in India, being a pilgrimage destination for devotees and home to the colorful Krishna Janmashtami festival, as it is believed that here was located the first kingdom of Krishna. Around it white houses hugged by the mysticism of gods still seem to whistle among its streets.
Here are some places to visit in Dwarka in Gujarat for a cultural experience.
1. Dwarka Lighthouse
One can visit the lighthouse which is one of the best places to visit in Dwarka to enjoy the panoramic view of the surroundings.
2. Geeta Mandir
The Geeta Mandir is a marvellous temple located in the western part of the city. The temple's main purpose is to spread the principles of the sacred book, Bhagavad Gita. The temple is completely made of marbles. It was built by the Birlas in 1970. The walls and ceilings of the temple are full of carvings of hymns of Bhagavad Gita. Every word spoken out inside the temple echoes a lot which gives a strange feeling to the visitors.
3. Dwarka Beach
Other places to visit in Dwarka besides the holy temples are the relaxing beaches. The charming beaches make one forget all his tensions and is the best place to take a break from the busy city life.
4. Shree Dwarkadhish Temple
Another important temple is the Shree Dwarkadhish Temple. A monumental complex in the epic mouth of the Gomti River is famous for the presence of temples such as the Dwarkadhish, built 2200 years ago. The main temple of the region is Dwarkanath in honor of Krishna with 60 columns supporting the tall five storied building. There used to be 5 cities here which are now submerged under water.
The most famous Janmashtami festival is commemorated at this temple with complete enthusiasm. Devotees from all over the country come to worship Krishna on this auspicious occasion. The fest generally takes place in August or September.
The 2,500 years old temple of Dwarkadhish, also known as Jagat Mandir, is built on the north bank of the Gomti Creek. Said to be constructed by Vajranabha, the great-grandson of Krishna, the temple is made of limestone and sand. Sixty columns support the roof of the audience hall of the Jagat Mandir.
The main temple is five-storey high with the lavish carving of a 157 feet high conical spire. In the sanctum sanctorum, the one-meter tall, four handed black idol of Dwarakadheesh resides in its full glory. The temple has two doors. The north door is the Moksha Dwara and the south one, Swarga Dwara, leads to Gomti River. Apart from Krishna, there are a number of other deities also gracing the Dwarkadhish Temple.
One of the important Moksh Dhams of India, thousands of pilgrims throng at Dwarkadheesh Temple each year in their quest for Nirvana. So be sure to put the temple as one of your places to visit in Dwarka.
5. Bet Dwarka
In addition of being famous pilgrimage destination, Dwarka surprises nature and beach lovers with its spectacular stretch of beaches. The Beyt Dwarka Beach is one such beach, located about 30 kilometers from Dwarka and 148 kilometers away from Jamnagar. Tourists love to enjoy the ferry ride from Okha to the Island of Bet. The island is famous for its modern temples.
The Beyt Dwarka Beach's name came from Bet Island, famous for its white coloured sand and its beautiful coral reefs. The Island is also rich in marine organisms. During the low tides it is common to encounter the amazing sight of dolphins leaping out in the distant sea. Porpoise, sea turtles, octopus, starfish, sea urchins are some of the other inhabitants of these islands.
A variety of water birds add to the charm of the beach apart from some migratory birds which flock to the island every year. The temples near Beyt Dwarka beach is a perfect mix of spirituality, nature and fauna, pleasantly surprising travellers for what it has to offer.
6. Shri Nageshwar Mahadev Temple
Situated in the outskirts of Dwaraka, Nageshwar Temple or Nagnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India. According to Shiv Purana, Shiva started to reside in this temple in the form of Jyotirlinga after killing the demon by name Daruka thus signifying the removal of evil from the face of the earth.
This holy site can be visited as a part of your Nageshwar Dwarka Somnath Jyotirling Yatra which will guarantee an extremely spiritual experience. The Shivalinga in this temple is unique as it faces towards the south and the Gomugam is on the east. According to a legend, people threw a devotee by the name Namdev out of the temple when he refused to move from the front of Shiva Idol.
To the astonishment of devotees, The Linga faced South with the Gomugam facing east from then. On the eve of Shivaratri, the temple witnesses huge a turnout of devotees which transform the entire temple complex into a melange of festivities. The imposing giant statue of Shiva inspires awe as well as devotion.
7. Shri Krushna Mandir, Tulamandir, Gomti Ghat
At the rear of Dwarkadhish temple, flows the sacred Gomti River, on the banks of which, there are many revered temples, where pilgrims have been offering prayers since ages. Apart from a Shiva temple there are also shrines of Rama, Krishna and Sudama around the Ghat.
8. Pandava Wells
Among places to visit in Dwarka, there is a place with five wells called Panchanand Tirtha which is believed to have been built by the Pandavas.
9. Samudra Narayan Temple
A temple of Sangam Narayan or Samudra Narayan is also nearby. Next to Samudra Narayan is Chakratirtha, a place of rocks with chakras. According to legend, it is the place where Vishnu cleaned his Sudarshana Chakra after destroying demons, hence the place got its name as Chakratirtha. It is a holy bathing centre to purify the soul.
You'll see devotees feeding fish here as a way to get wealth and prosperity. You can hire a boat to move across the river for a panoramic view of Dwarka.
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