Experience the Paris Christmas markets and no other market will ever match up. Parisians take markets very seriously, and the city’s Christmas markets are no different. No matter what you’re looking for, be it fresh food, regional produce, Christmas food, mulled wine, cheese, crafts, jewellery, clothing, Christmas decorations or gifts, you will be spoilt for choice at the Paris Christmas markets.
Inspired by the way nearby Germany embraces Christmas, France’s tradition of Christmas markets originated in the Alsace region, and the products sold at the Paris Christmas markets come from all over the country.
Paris is popular year-round, but the iconic wooden chalets clustered together to form the traditional Christmas markets are definitely a reason to visit Paris in the run up to Christmas. Starting in mid November and operating until early January, several markets operate around the city. Here are some of my favourites.
Probably the most famous Christmas market in Paris, the Champs Elysees Christmas market stretches along both sides of the length of the road from Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde. It features hundreds of stalls offering just about everything including Christmas treats like mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and gingerbread, but also a plethora of non-Christmassy artefacts and handicrafts. Might be a good place to buy a few gifts, might not feel Christmassy enough.
Huge on decorations and lights, as well as stands (there are over 350), this is one of the largest Christmas markets in Paris. In addition to all the usual market produce, the sheer number of vendors at this market means it is also possible to make more quirky purchases such as African sculptures, tajine ceramics and unique accessories, as well as tasty indulgences like chocolate-dipped fruit kebabs and mulled wine. Live music adds atmosphere, as does Father Christmas, who merrily hands out sweets. It is all very jolly, even under the imposing arch of La Defense.
When: end November – end December
The most scenic of all the Paris Christmas markets, Trocadero market takes place at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, on the south bank of the Seine. The Trocadero markets are especially lively with singing, dancing and craft workshops taking place. If you want to keep children entertained while you browse, this market might be perfect. With an ice-skating rink and a ‘snow village’ there’s plenty to keep youngsters busy while you browse the market stalls.
On the square in front of Saint Sulpice Church, and centered around a large fountain, Saint Sulpice Christmas market is the market of artists. This is great gift-hunting territory with quality art works made from wood, glass and textiles available, as well as handmade cards.
When: early December – Christmas
The Montparnasse market is a foodie’s heaven. It is smaller than others but, with a focus on regional produce, is definitely the market of choice if you have gourmet friends to buy for.
With only a few stands, Montmartre Christmas market is smaller than others, making it easy to visit quickly. Trading mainly in art and delicious festive treats, The Montmartre Christmas market enhances Montmartre’s village feel, and is the perfect backdrop for a winter stroll through the Paris streets. In the same neighborhood, there is also another small market at Place des Abbesses where you can pick up second hand items and snacks.
When: early December – early January
Have you visited any of Paris’ Christmas markets, and do you have a favourite? Let others know your recommendations in the comments below.Tweet