Saturday, 28 November 2015

The best places to go Christmas shopping.

Having lived in France for quite a few years, I've had many Christmasses there, and thus have done a lot of Christmas shopping. About a year or two ago I discovered that you could actually purchase presents on amazon and therefore I did all of my shopping in one afternoon, which is great but not exactly festive. But before I knew amazon even existed, I had to venture outside of the comfort of my own house to find some gems.

It's not all that hard finding presents in the South of France, especially during the festive season. I've found that most big cities will provide you with absolutely everything and anything that you will posssibly need, but that can get old pretty quickly as it only takes you a couple of hours to get sick of the massive crowds pushing and shoving, all in the name of Christmas. Then I discovered something even better - markets! They're so great for finding little original presents for your loved ones, some of them can even be personalised so you can present someone with an engraved present! So I'll let you in on my secrets, and tell you where the best places to go are!


The first and best place in my opinion is Montpellier. If you go to the center, you'll see that there are literally hundreds of shops all around you. There are 2 massive shopping centers with every high street shop that you're used to seeing, which is great if you've been handed a very specific Christmas list. But if you've got a bit more leeway and are free to "experiment" in the present department, then why not wander down all of the little side streets that Montpellier has to offer. Sure, you'll still find a high-street brand shop now and then but the little independant shops are everywhere and all have absolutely gorgeous things inside. My favourite thing to do is to just get lost in them, because not only will you find hidden gems in the shops, you'll also have an amazing day seeing everything that this beautiful city has to offer. If you're fine with jumping on the tram, then you can do so and get off at any stop you like, and I guarantee that you will be face to face with some great shops.


My second favourite city to shop in is Narbonne; not as big as Montpellier but definitely as beautiful and as full of shops as you can get. It's so wonderful walking around Narbonne during the winter months, especially when it's Christmas. The whole city is lit up with the most beautiful decorations, and if they still do it like they did a few years ago, then you'll be able to ice-skate in the center of the city, before heading off into one of the local cafes for a hot chocolate to warm up. Once you're warm enough to brave the cold, head back out and wander around the little streets. In Narbonne it's mainly independant shops with a few high-street shops in the mix, so you're guaranteed to find what you're looking for. The architecture and scenery just adds to the experience.


And last but not least, Beziers. I have a love/hate relationship with Beziers, mainly due to the fact that I lived there for so long and ended up finding the city a little bit 'boring' as a whole (also due to the fact that I was a grumpy teenager that couldn't be pleased). But even the most negative of people can't argue with the fact that Beziers is just downright beautiful. During the Christmas months the city put up a hell of a lot of decorations, as well as shop and bar owners decorating the outsides of their businesses. There are lots of high-street shops here which is great, especially down at the Polygone shopping center. But you'll also find a Christmas market and lots of independant shops down the typically French cobble-stoned side streets. After 10 minutes of walking around you'll realise that you're hopelessly lost, but that's alright, just go with it and you'll come home with a car full of great presents.

I hope this has helped those of you who had no clue about where to go for some festive shopping, it's definitely helped me remember all of the wonderful places I used to love going to.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!