Finding French Christmas market magic in Melbourne

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

If there’s one thing loved by French natives and expats alike, it’s the famed French Christmas markets.

Many Ma Vie Française™ members profess their love for French Christmas markets.

Coco Rosenthal says she is “completely addicted to Christmas markets and vin chaud.”

“We don’t really have Christmas market in the states. I don’t know why because they are so wonderful!”

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

Abby Gordon agrees: “My favourite part of the Christmas season here is the Christmas markets… there are famous Christmas markets in Lille and in Aix-en-Provence, and the best Christmas market in France is in Strasbourg.”

“We are also not so far from Brussels and Cologne, and a number of other German cities with great markets. I never get sick of them!”

A stolen French tradition

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

What you might not realise, however, is that it wasn’t the French who started this tradition, but their Germanic neighbours.

Christmas Markets date all the way back to the Middle Ages in German-speaking areas of Europe. The Austrian ‘December market’ (not quite a Christmas market, but close enough), dates back to the 13th century, while the Dresden Christmas market can be traced back to the 15th century.

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

So it seems that Europe really does love their Christmas markets, and that it’s a long-term relationship.

French Christmas comes to Melbourne

Here in Australia, we’re barely old enough to comprehend traditions beginning in the 13th and 15th centuries. But this doesn’t mean we haven’t adopted plenty over the course of our very young history. We’ve stolen most of our Christmas traditions from the Brits, who stole them from the Germans (along with everyone else), so why not us too?

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

This year, in their untiring efforts to bring a slice of France to Australia, the Alliance Française will be borrowing one of Europe’s most favourite festive traditions.

Held over the weekend of 8 & 9 December, the Alliance Française Christmas Market has something for every français ou française, francophile gift-hunter or family. And this year, it’s open later, and offers more activities and stalls than ever before.

Set in the beautiful grounds of Eilden Mansion in St. Kilda, visitors will be able to wander and discover French produce and goods, with food, wine and other tasty treats. There will be something for everyone with live music, as well as free language and craft activities.

It’s the perfect place to find unique Christmas gifts à la française, practice your French or taste a bit of la vraie France.

Join in the festive cheer!

Hannah Duke 14/11/12

What: The French Christmas Market & Open Day
Where: The Alliance Française, Melbourne
51 Grey St, St Kilda
When: Saturday 8 December – 10.00am – 8.00pm
& Sunday 9 December – 10.00am – 6.00pm

Entry is free!

Click here for more details.

Image credits:
1 & 5. Strasbourg France Christmas Market & Ornaments, by LenDog64 on Flickr
2 – 4. Glühwein!Strasbourg Christkindelsmärik & Strasbourg Christkindelsmärik, by Hoosadork on Flickr
5. French Christmas Market & Open Day, Alliance Française Melbourne

About the Contributor

Hannah Duke

“I’m a Melbourne-based journalist, editor, photographer, and blogger dreaming of la vie européenne. I love all things French except for the pigeons: film, food, literature, fashion, and I indulge in this passion as often as possible! Find me on Twitter, or Google+.”

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!


  1. Thomas Pouillevet Nov 24, 2012 at 2:06 PM - Reply

    Thanks a lot for this article Hannah ! I’ll finally feel as if I was back home by going there and probably find some cheese and wine ! 🙂 Merci bien !

  2. Hannah Duke Dec 6, 2012 at 2:38 PM - Reply

    I’m glad I could be of help! I think I might go too – it looks pretty good…

  3. Elise Mellor Sep 3, 2014 at 1:52 PM - Reply

    This is perfect! I love Christmas in Australia (the sun! the beach parties! the long holidays… and of course the watermelon and pavlova!) but every year I yearn for the beautiful traditions of a European Yuletide (the mulled wine! the cookies! the candles!).
    Hannah, you will have to let us know if you find an Australian Christmas market in Paris 😉
    Seriously though, when the time comes you will have to share with us how an Australian girl has an Australian Christmas in Paris!

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.