When you think about Christmas you may imagine snow, mountains, fir trees… but we tell you that the best Christmas market and town in France, and maybe in Europe, is located in the mediterranean seaside, with palm trees in the main avenues, with hotels with swimming pools and souvenir shops where you can buy swimming suits and floats. Of course, in winter time you are not going to swim or buy floats, maybe because of this Le Barcarès created this massive Christmas place. You even can find a big ship with DJ’s!
The Village de Noël is like a theme park for Christmas inspired by the nearest mountains: the Pyrenees. Then, of course, you can find snowy fir trees and different typical characteristic elements of ski resorts: chairlifts, cable cars, ski-resort-like bars and restaurants… and also many small shops where you can buy delicious local Catalan foods, typical French delicatessen, winter clothes…
We arrived early to Le Barcarès two days before the end of last year. It is next to Perpignan, so not far away from Barcelona. You can imagine that the best moment is at night when all Christmas lights switch on, but then is when most of the pople come and we wanted to walk and discover this place in a quiet manner. There would be time for crowds later… It was really cold despite being in the south of Europe and I was constantly tempted to buy some warm chestnuts.
Le Village de Noël is also full of rides for different ages: pony rides, carousels, a giant Ferris wheel and other more intense rides for those seeking for adrenaline. While walking around we ended up in front of a massive ship located on the sand beach. It was full of lights and looked like it was possible to enter. We came in the ship and found handycrafts stores inside, bars and restaurants and maybe the best viewpoint of Le Village de Noël. Enlivened by DJ’s and different kind of music it is a perfect spot with the mediterranean sea on one side and the Christmas world in the other.
Then we decided to have a beer or a cocktail while waiting for the night. It was magic to see all the lights switching on while the children started filling the ice rink and some of them playing around in the different rides.
When we went out of the boat we found ourselves in the middle of a Christmas parade with different characters dancing and singing and behind, many children following them while their parents couldn’t stop taking photos. We walked again all along the village, but this time with no daylight, in order to catch the change in the atmosphere.
We need to say that we didn’t know about Le Barcarès few days before we got there. Laura’s cousin explained us about this place and we decided to include this as a first stop in a Christmas roadtrip through France with stops in Grenoble, Annecy and Switzerland. Definteley it was a correct decision because it was much better than the last Christmas market that we visited in Geneva.
We ended our visit with a nice dinner in one of the restaurants of the village. It was located in a big wooden building inspired by the traditional house of the Alps. The warm environment inside and delicious food was a perfect ending of our visit to Le Barcarès, a place we will visit again, maybe with kids, although this time we were the kids.