Un Joyeux Noël en Normandie!

Rouen is a beautiful city that shows itself so well with its inherent charm; its cobblestone streets and timbered houses only add to the atmosphere during the Christmas season.  Normandy, as a region, is no exception. During the festive season there are endless activities to help you get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy France.

While French in Normandy will take a break for the Christmas holidays from December 21st – January 6th, 2013, students have a wide assortment of options to pass the time in Rouen, to explore Normandy and all that the region has to offer during this special season.

This Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) is a traditional European Christmas market taking place in front of the breath-taking Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen. With over 40 stalls and plenty of hot wine, chocolatey waffles and various street performances, this market will be sure to intrigue and entertain you. It is the perfect place to meet some friends and do some shopping for traditional French Christmas souvenirs to send home to family.

The Christmas market is typically a part of a larger festival – Rouen Givrée is the winter festival in Rouen taking place in various parts of the city including the Cathedral square, Hotel de Ville and the Vieux Marché.  Events and activities include craft workshops, live entertainment, the market and even a skating rink!

Rouen Opéra offers “la place en dernière minute” for those performances that are not sold out, you can catch a last-minute seat for just 5€!  Show up at the Théâtre des Arts 15 – 30 minutes before the performance to get your ticket. Keep up with what’s happening on their facebook page.

Cirque sur l’Eau presents le Grand Cirque de Noël de Rouen from December 5 – 16th at Hangar 23; get your tickets here for a performance you will never forget!

From the 16 to 22nd of December at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Rouen, enjoy the beautiful and traditional Christmas music of a chamber choir in concert!

Tourism Normandy provides a complete listing of all the Christmas events in the region including more Christmas markets, concerts, fireworks displays, new year’s parades and festivities, light displays, Christmas trains, live nativity scenes as well as the unusual Santa sand-yachting race at Omaha Beach on December 22.

Rouen is an artistic city with endless art exhibitions going on year-round. See the complete listing on the Rouen Tourisme website.

At the Château Guillaume-le-Conquérant in Falaise, from November 15th 2012 to January 6th 2013, the castle tells the tale of the « Sleeping Beauty in the Woods ». This spectacle includes projections, scenes and musical effects, transforming the castle into the setting of Charles Perrault’s fairy tale. The magic of the fairy tale, its mystery and the delight of an unusual tour makes for an enchanting experience!

Keep up with New Year tradition! In DieppeEtretat and Fécamp one should start the New Year with an invigorating swim! Each year, swimmers venture out into the sea at 5°C ! Dare to join them or wrap up in your warm winter attire!

If you have any ideas about events and activities during the Christmas season in Normandy, please leave your suggestion in the comments!

Learn more about Christmas traditions in Normandy here.

We wish a “Joyeux Noël” and a “Bonne Année” to all the friends, students and partners of French in Normandy.


At the Market in Rouen

There are plenty of interesting and enjoyable markets in Rouen, practically every day of the week! So whether you want to do daily grocery shopping, watch the locals or find antique treasures, the markets in Rouen will be sure to please! Rouennaise typically buy a few culinary delights such as olives, cheese, bread, oysters and enjoy sharing their purchases with friends on the terrace of a nearby cafe. Wash that down with some wine and sunshine and it is another a fantastic day in France!

Below you find a listing of Rouen markets!
Bonne journée à vous!

Marché Boulingrin (Rive Droite)
Marché Cauchoise (Rive Droite)
Marché Grand Mare (Rive Droite)
Marché Saint-Clément (Rive Gauche)
Marché Saint-Marc (Rive Droite)
Marché Châtelet (Rive Droite)
Marché Place du Vieux-Marché (Rive Droite)
Marché de l’Ile Lacroix (Rive Gauche)
Marché de la Calende (Rive Droite)
Marché des Emmurées (Rive Gauche)

Top 10 Things to Do in Rouen

1. Learn to make macarons at Faites-le-vous-même.

2. Climb the Gros Horloge for an amazing view of the city & river.

3. Drink beer on a terrace at Vieux Marché and watch the people.

4. Take French lessons at French in Normandy.

5. Browse the Cathedrale Notre Dame, of course!

6. Picnic at Jardines des Plantes on the left bank.

7. Rent roller-blades and roll along the Seine.

8. Take in a free concert, outdoor movie or festival such as Terrace du Jeudi in summer.

9. Browse the market at Place Saint Marc (weekends).

10. Check out some of the ethnic restaurants and alternative art galleries along Rue des Bons Enfants.

This is a guest post by Latitude International Education, a Canadian-based study & work abroad agency, recommending only hand-picked, high-quality schools and programs in Canada and Europe.

Photography by Jeanette Kramer.