Best Christmas Markets in Paris

With just over a month to go until Christmas, we’re really getting in the Christmas spirit now! Paris is one of the most beautiful cities during the winter festive season as people wrap up in their warmer clothes, sip vin chaud and even the historic monuments and landmarks around the city seem much more beautiful bathed until a winter light, illuminated by Christmas decorations and lights. One of our favourite things to do this season is to visit the Christmas Markets that pop up across the city from the end of November until the New Year. We decided to visit them all – all in the name of research! LA DEFENSE Perfect For: Its Size and Location With more than 300 small wooden chalets surrounded by the sky-scrapers of La Defense, it’s the biggest Christmas market in greater Paris. There are all kinds of objects, decorations and French culinary specialties, which make this place a lot of fun. Of all the Christmas markets in the region, the one in La Défense is probably the most traditional because of its size and ambiance. Pretty iconic though to have such an authentic market in the heart of Paris’ most modern business district! Hours: 11am to 8:30pm every day until 28th December CHAMPS ELYSEES Perfect For: Its Village Fair Ambiance And Decorations Located between the Place de la Concorde and the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées, people mostly come here for the entertainment, the view and the decorations. Although there are certainly Christmas-themed stands present, many stands here are selling items you could find in any shopping center. It can also feel like a bit of an amusement park with an ice skating rink, classic fair attractions and stands representing different countries (Brazil, Italy and more). That said, there are many original boutiques, including one of small sculptures made out of dried autumn leaves. Hours: noon to midnight, every day until 4th January GARE DE L’EST Perfect For: Traditional Gifts From Alsace So if the best Christmas markets are in Alsace...and the market at Gare de l’Est train station is from is only logical to say that the market at Gare de l’Est is...the best...right? Wrong! Although it is very nice and quite small, its spirit and essence has been drained out by the local boutiques. The regular shops inside the train station forced the Christmas market to relocate from inside the station to outside the station, and the neighboring shops managed to force the Christmas market NOT to sell traditional hot wine! Yet it’s still the best place to be if you are looking for something traditional from the Eastern part of France. Hours: from 9am to 8pm every day until 19th December SAINT GERMAIN DES PRES Perfect For: Location (At the foot of a 1,500 year old church) It is one of the best Christmas markets in terms of location, as it is right at the foot of Saint Germain des Prés church, known to be one of the oldest churches in Paris. For the rest though, it’s not as lively and fun as at La Defense and the Champs-Elysées. That said, it’s a great thing to have such a market in the Saint Germain neighborhood, and you will find everything from soaps to arts & crafts from Azerbaijan. Here, the Christmas spirit is still present through the authentic-looking wooden stands and, of course, inside the magnificent church. Hours: 10am to 7pm every day until 2nd January NOTRE DAME Perfect For: Made In France Products This Christmas market in front of Notre Dame Cathedral might not be the biggest one in Paris, nor the most beautiful, but it surely is one of the most authentic ones. Here, you won’t find any “Made in China” objects. The 40 stands are operated by traditional craftsmen happily sharing their passions. Every day, several animations such as demonstrations and children workshops are a delight for both young and old. A great place to stroll through jewelry, ginger bread and traditional French foies gras. Hours: from 10am to 8pm until 23rd December

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