Christmas Markets 2018! Belgium, Germany, France, and (basically) Holland.

I had never heard of Christmas markets before, but apparently they’re ALL over here in Europe from about Mid-November – January 1 ish.

I’ve heard they’re the best in Germany, but we tried to hit one in each of our neighboring counties! A Christmas market is basically a spot in town where Christmas exploded. You can find shops with all kinds of trinkets, handmade items, scarves and hats, and of course, food and hot drinks! They light it up in the night with Christmas lights, large trees, decorations, and they often have activities like carousels, Ferris wheels, and ice skating.

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BELGIUM

Mons Christmast Market

Mons is the city closest to us here in Belgium. They had a very cute and small market! The SHAPE brass quintet played there one night and the boys and I ventured out to listen and see the market.

“Sledding”
SHAPE Brass Quintet

Check out this cute little video I put together of the SHAPE Brass Quintet playing at the Mons Christmas Market.

It was a beautiful night full of lights and music! This was the only market we visited at night and it was so close to our house. Merry Christmas from Mons, Belgium!

Mons Christmas Market at Night

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Brussels Christmas Market

This was a special one for us because we got to go with our friends visiting us from Germany! We love the Hancocks and were so happy they wanted to explore with us 🙂

We took the train up for the day and wandered around until we found the Christmas market. This one was really spread out and had several small markets several blocks away, I don’t think we found all of them either. The first one we stumbled upon was in the main square where they had a large Christmas tree and a unique nativity scene.

Along the way to the main christmas market, we stopped to see our favorite statue in Brussels, Manekin Pis. The potty humor never dies with so many boys around here…

The main Christmas market had a well-maintained walkway and a large Ferris wheel! It was quite large and had rows and rows of trinket shops, food, drinks, and everything you could imagine!

The kids enjoyed a carousel ride on the weirdest carousel I’ve ever seen! A grasshopper, boat, dinosaur bones, and a rocket that shoots up through the top! So crazy…

Here’s a fun little video of the Brussels Christmas Market!

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Nick got a new hat and it is awesome. We may never leave Europe… we love it so much here.

Merry Christmas from Brussels, Belgium!

Thank you Hancock family for coming to visit!

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FRANCE

Lille Christmas Market

Lille was probably my favorite Christmas Market this year! It was small and quaint, but just beautiful. We drove right into the city and parked on the street and wandered around the square. We visited this market on Christmas Eve and the vibes were just wonderful. So peaceful and easy, I love it!

There were 2 parts to this market, one with a Ferris wheel in a heavily decorated Christmas area, and then the Christmas market section with all the shops.

We could not pass up the opportunity to ride the Ferris wheel! We likely would have enjoyed it more if it had been enclosed so the risk of Hyrum jumping ship was lower, but we pinned him down and once it started going he loved it!

Views from the Ferris Wheel.

We love Christmas Market food!!!

Here’s another little fun video of the Lille Christmas Market! A fun shot of us riding the Ferris Wheel too.

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Our FAVORITE food at ANY Christmas Market, BY FAR is the Liege style waffel with Speculoos!!!! Merry Christmas from Lille!

A Liege waffle with Speculoos!

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GERMANY

Aachen Christmas Market

This was a very busy Christmas market! But it was fun and very beautiful. It was also very large, we spent 2 hours walking around and I don’t think we quite saw everything!

After a 2 hour drive, we parked at a Park and Ride outside of town and took a 10 minutes bus ride into the middle of the city. I’m glad we did because parking would have been a nightmare.

Simon brought some of his own money to this one and decided to buy a ticket for the carousel! They loved riding the train together 🙂

We LOVE the food at Christmas markets! Of all the things we could get, the kids chose cotton candy *face palm*. Whatever! They loved it.

Nick and I had a much more sophisticated meal at the Aachen market 🙂

We also found a cute little band playing in the square! Random musicians and musical groups are everywhere in the European Christmas Markets!

You can see the band play in this video here as well as a one man band!

What a beautiful, large Christmas market. Aachen is on many Top 10 lists for Christmas Markets in Europe and I see why! Merry Christmas from Germany!

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HOLLAND

Ok, so we attempted to go to 2 Christmas markets in The Netherlands, and neither worked out.

We planned to go to Maastricht right after Aachen since it’s on the way home, but at 0 degrees Celsius and after a 2-hour drive to Germany, we just weren’t up for it.

We also tried to go to the Amsterdam Christmas Market after going to the temple on Dec 29th, but we stopped at 2 different Park and Rides on the out skirts of town and were not able to find parking. So instead of driving the van through busy Amsterdam, we decided to head home 🙂

Next year we plan to go check out the Magical Caves of Valkenburg Christmas Markets! Sorry Holland, but we’ll hit you next year!

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Christmas in Europe was just awesome. I can’t wait for next year!

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