Baie-Saint-Paul is a small, idyllic city in the heart of the Charlevoix region, just a four-hour drive northeast of Montreal. It's the kind of place you road trip to when you want to get out of the city but still want a selection of the best restaurants, bistros, bars, museums and one of the largest collections of art galleries around.  But come Christmas, this already adorable and artsy little town really outdoes itself with its European style Christmas market that takes over the city.

The Marché de Noël de Baie-Saint-Paul runs on weekends from November 29 to December 8 and is the place to visit if you're looking for unique gifts, a little Christmas cheer or want to take in some of the local artistic talents. Because there is a lot. 

The main street, Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste, becomes pedestrian-only and the 100-year-old homes and over 50 shops that line the street are decorated in the finest Christmas decor — complete with carolers. 

Head over to Carrefour Culturel Paul-Médéric to warm up inside and check out the kiosks and artisans from all over the Charlevoix area. If you're doing your Christmas shopping here, you'll have your choice of everything from food, paintings, crafts, jewelry and more. 

Baie-Saint-Paul knows how to put on an event. As the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil, it has welcomed painters, street musicians, and artists since the early 80s. 

But during the holidays, so many people want to visit the city that this year the Christmas market has teamed up with the Charlevoix train and is offering a Christmas themed lit and animated train experience. Trains from Quebec City start at $110.

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For those people who are lucky enough to arrive by train, Le Germain Hotel will be offering a cheese fondue (on Saturdays and Sundays only), and choirs celebrating arrivals and departures.

This is the city you can head to even if Christmas markets aren't your thing. With so many local shops and food options, Baie-Saint-Paul should be on everyone's list to visit no matter the time of year. 

Marché de Noël de Baie-Saint-Paul

When: November 29 – December 8 (weekends)

Where: Rue Saint-Jean-Baptiste; Baie-Saint-Paul

Cost: Free


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