Christmas markets are all over Europe and a long-held tradition in Germany, dating back to the middle ages. But instead of sauerkraut and sausages, the French add their own flair.
There are winter festivals which will help beat the winter blues, like the annual Paris Autumn Festival, running until January. This is the ultimate program of where you will see cutting-edge contemporary art.
While you might not find Eiffel Tower cookies, the markets all over Paris will offer plenty of treats. And as you stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, which will be adorned with Christmas lights from the end of November to the beginning of January, you will find many handcrafted goods from the locals set up at this largest Christmas market. While some markets pop up mid-November many are open daily, including weekends, until you’re opening gifts under the Christmas tree. No matter what neighborhood you’ll be staying in Paris, be sure to check out the following Parisian Christmas markets.
November 27, the Christmas market at La Défense is one of the largest markets
with over 300 stands, overflowing with festivity underneath the Grande Arche.
you have ice skates (or are willing to rent them), then why not try a few
rounds on the ice rink at Trocadero? Right across from the Eiffel Tower at the
Place de la Trocadero, the market usually offers Hot chocolate and drinks that will
warm you up before you get started. Roughly 100 market stands are set up with a
“snow village” for the kids. The purple lighting over
the ice sets the tone for a magical evening. This one begins December 12.
If the snow village isn’t enough, watch out for Santa’s Village in the neighborhood of Saint-Sulpice. Starting December 1, the Place Saint-Sulpice has a Christmas market with the old gentleman himself.
Of course, only in Paris are we truly spoiled. If you find yourself in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés, in the Latin Quarter, you can stop by to see a unique Santa’s Village in the same upscale neighborhood where the streets are lined with boutiques by Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
Meanwhile, the Noel en Auteuil is a week-long festival in December at rue Jean de La Fontaine with a rich and varied program. Just look out for the historic carousel. Alongside live bands playing concerts, don’t miss the creative Christmas market which are filled with pâtés, cheese and wines, paintings, figurines and jewelry, as well as a traditional flea market and even an exhibition of cribs made by young Apprentices of Auteuil. There is even an Auteuil Bargains space for deals at low prices—if you still have room in your suitcase.
Hungry for some local cuisine? Stop by the Christmas market at the Montparnasse Tower, which opens December 15. With roughly 40 wooden chalets specializing in regional French fare, warm up with a glass of wine and a plate of tasty treats while seated in front of the Gare Montparnasse.
The Montmartre Christmas market opens in the first week of December in the beloved Montmartre neighborhood, a hill in the north of the city which is historically rich. Famed for once housing the art studios of Salvador Dali, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, today it still boasts winding staircases and a panoramic view of the city. Nearby, you can find the Place des Abbesses markets.
The Christmas markets at Place de la Nation are open until December 24 at Place de la Nation, while the Christmas market at Republique is open ca. December 7-15.
If you are into childhood fun, check out the Grand Palais funfair with toffee apples and wooden merry-go-rounds, while there is a medieval Christmas market at Place du Chatel, Provins, a former fortified area from the 11th and 12th century, just outside of Paris for one weekend mid-December (rumor has it, they bring camels into the church for Christmas mass).
If you’re looking for the Christmas heart of Paris, just look for the enormous Christmas tree at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral. The Christmas market here at Place du Parvis will not disappoint. Sip on warm, mulled red wine while tasting roasted chestnuts in paper bags. You’ll also find fine tasty French treats alongside handcrafted arts—perfect stocking stuffers. Peruse the lit, wooden chalets for local treasures and don’t forget to take a selfie with Santa Claus.