Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Abroad Range of Gifts

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Abroad Range of Gifts

Article excerpt


TAKE a Christmas break, do some shopping and come home with something exotic from a foreign country; seems like a good formula for a happy Christmas.

On the Continent, they "do" Christmas from late November until January and they do it with hand-carved, cinnamonscented, carol-belting style.

France Licques (15-16 December): Close to Calais, this market is famous for one thing: turkey.

The birds, bred from noble ancestors brought back from Latin America by the Spanish, are a favourite French delicacy.

The Christmas market features organic poultry and its highlight is a majestic procession of fowl through the streets on 16 December.

Lille (1-30 December): Eurostar goes direct to the city, which renders the funfair in the city's Place Rihour and the Christmas market of upwards of 50 crafts and gifts stalls about as far away from London (two hours) as Birmingham.

Cambrai (14-24 December): This market is noted for its cambric, a fine linen. When you have cruised the Christmas wares on the Place de St Sepulchre, browse the factory shops for household linens, sheets and bedding, towels and bathrobes.

Germany If France is the Christmas turkey of Europe (providing the epicurean delights), Germany is the fairy at the top of the European fir tree (offering the eye candy), and nobody has got the hang of a truly pretty Christmas like the Bavarians.

Nuremberg (30 November to 24 December): This offers the most famous, most arcanely ritualistic and most colourful Christmas market of all, the Christkindlesmarkt or Christ Child market. The emphasis is on the small and handmade, with high-tech toys banned from the stalls, as are "war toys".

There are plenty of other German markets, all filled with the scents of the season: gingerbread, bratwurst, roasted almonds and gluhwein.

Berlin (26 November to 23 December) and Cologne (22 November to 23 December) have, in terms of sheer numbers of stalls and events, the most to offer, but several smaller towns outshine them for charm. …

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