Christmas Markets in Paris 2015
November 26, 2015
Ho Ho Ho! Christmas is coming and everywhere in France, Christmas markets are popping up so that the French can relive the age-old Christmas market tradition.
Paris’ Christmas markets are almost always a pleasure to wonder in. You can either hunt for small gifts or taste some delicious French seasonal specialties such as cured meats, cheeses and nougat. The bigger Christmas markets can feel like an outdoor commercial shopping center, while the smaller ones, although often more authentic, are…well... small.
So, to help you find the best Christmas markets in Paris suitable for you, here are 5 of them worth paying a visit to.
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!
- Address: Parvis de la Défense
- Metro: Line 1 - La Défense (terminal stop)
- Perfect For: It size, the animation and the shopping possibilities
- Duration: November 19 to December 27, 2015
- Hours: 11 am to 8 pm every day
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.
- Address: Avenue des Champs-Elysées
- Metro: Line 1 - Concorde / Champs-Elysées Clémenceau
- Perfect For: Its village fair ambiance And decorations
- Duration: November 13, 2015 to January 3, 2016
- Hours: noon to midnight, every day
Gare de l'Est
The Christmas Market at Gare de l'Est is quite small, but it has something special. This is where you will find the most traditional objects and culinary specialties from a region called Alsace, in the East of France. Why is it so special? Because that is where Christmas markets first appeared in France a long time ago. This Christmas Market is therefore the best place to be if you are looking for something traditional from the Eastern part of France.
- Address: Parvis de la Gare de l'Est
- Metro: Line 4/5/7 - Gare de l'Est
- Perfect For: Traditional Gifts From Alsace
- Duration: December 3 to December 18, 2015
- Hours: from 10 am to 7 pm every day
Saint Germain des Prés
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. But 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.
- Address: 3 Place Saint-Germain des Prés, 75006 Paris
- Metro: Line 4 - Saint Germain des Prés
- Perfect For: Location (At the foot of a 1,500 year old church)
- Duration: December 1, 2015 to January 4, 2016
- Hours: 10am to 7pm every day
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.
- Address: Square René Viviani
- Metro: Line 10 - Maubert Mutualité
- Perfect For: Made In France Products
- Duration: December 12 to December 23, 2015
- Hours: from 10am to 8pm every day
The Christmas markets are always fun to check out and spread the christmas spirit. But are they really as authentic today as they once were? Let’s take a look into the past shall we?
It all started in the 14th century in Germany, when markets were set up to celebrate Saint Nicolas. As the years went by, the tradition slowly spread to neighboring countries and arrived in Strasbourg, a city in the north-eastern French region of Alsace in 1570. It slowly changed from Saint Nicolas to Christmas. Today, Strasbourg’s Christmas market is the oldest in France and it is also the only remaining traditional market in the country.
But not very traditional does not mean not fun! Au contraire: the Christmas markets in Paris still spread the Christmas spirit, and that is what matters!