Winter is great in Montpellier

By December 11, 2018MARKET, TO SEE
Montpellier Les Hivernales

Even in the winter, the South of France is a great destination. Just as in the summer months, there are a lot of events and festivals to enjoy. Montpellier has a name for this period of year: “Hiveractif”. And they sure are active during the winter season! I was in town to check out “Les Hivernales” – Montpellier’s Christmas market. From the end of November until right after Christmas, the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle transforms into a winter wonderland.

Place de la Comédie

The Christmas fun begins in the Place de la Comédie, where you can swirl around in a bauble on a giant Christmas tree, right in front of the theatre. A little bit further down into the square, there is a huge illuminated globe. You can’t miss it! This Christmas landmark lets everyone know that Christmas has finally arrived in town. The Christmas globe has reached legendary status over the years.

Montpellier Les Hivernales

White mulled wine

When I finally arrived at the Christmas market, I got myself a soothing mulled wine. Here in the South of France, you can find a white version of the traditional ‘vin chaud’. Apparently, this white mulled wine was already very popular in the 12th century in Montpellier; which was an important trading town for all kinds of herbs and spices back then.

Montpellier Les Hivernales


As I explored the rest of the Christmas market, I, of course, admired the Montpellier Crèche with its traditional nativity scene filled with hand-made figures. Wait… did I just spot a pooping man?! Yep, if you look closely, you will see a man with his trousers around his knees producing a number 2. Might seem like an odd choice, right in the middle of the nativity scene. But this man, called Caganer, is part of the Catalan tradition and is, in fact, fertilising the earth. Right. Of course!

Montpellier Les Hivernales

Original gifts

Although Montpellier wasn’t the first Christmas market I visited this year (see previous post here), I still found some original gifts in the chalets full of creative and local products. Like a really cool mechanical 3D puzzle from Ugears for my oldest son. And for my sister-in-law, I bought an intriguing moisturiser based on snail slime. Mission ‘Christmas presents’ almost complete!

Montpellier Les Hivernales


Every year, Montpellier’s city centre transforms into “Les Hivernales”. A Christmas market is held daily on the Esplanade Charles de Gaulle. During the week the market is open from 10h00 to 21h00, and during the weekend it lasts until 22h30. Check Montpellier’s Tourist Office website for the programme of all festivities and events organised during this period.


If you want easy access to the magic, the closest paid parking lot is at Place de la Comédie. From here, you can start your visit right in the middle of the activities.

Office de Tourisme
Place de la Comédie
34000 Montpellier
33 (0)4 67 60 60 60


You may also like

South of France

The best tips for spending a day in Narbonne

| TO SEE, TOWN | No Comments
TO SEE | TOWN Narbonne is a lively, medium-sized town in the South of France which claims to have 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. That shouldn't be your only...
Béziers trompe-l'oeils

Béziers’ magnificent and surprising trompe-l’oeils

| TO SEE, TOWN | No Comments
TO SEE | TOWN Here’s a fun way to discover Béziers differently: let the many trompe-l’oeils guide you through the historic city centre. And be surprised! The colourful optical illusion...

Self-guided tour through picturesque Pézenas

| TO SEE, TOWN | No Comments
TO SEE | TOWN The historic centre of the town of Pézenas has an unexpected and charming artistic vibe. Once the political capital of the Languedoc region and an important...

Leave a Reply