Paris changes its appearance during the Christmas holidays. To the things to see and do in Paris are added the illumination of its streets, the decoration of its shop windows, the skating rinks and, of course, its wonderful Christmas markets, from the one in the Tuileries Garden to the one in St Germain des Prés.
If you plan to travel to the French capital during these dates, no matter if you go with children, as a couple or even alone, you can not miss a visit to any of these markets. In them you will be totally immersed in the spirit of Christmas, enjoying the atmosphere while sipping a revitalizing mulled wine.
1. The Magic of Christmas - Jardin des Tuileries
Located in the Tuileries, one of the most beautiful gardens of the city, the location of this Christmas market makes it one of the essential visits for those who visit Paris during Christmas.
Thousands of Parisians and tourists flock every year to this market located halfway between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre Museum. It consists of more than 200 huts offering the best of French cuisine and decorative objects in a festive atmosphere.
If you go to this market, especially after having spent the day visiting the best museums of the French capital or other tourist attractions, you can not miss the Vin Chaut, the name given in France to hot spiced wine. Likewise, it is worth buying some chestnuts (marrons) or a Galette des Roi, the equivalent of the Roscón de Reyes.
In addition to the stalls that serve food, there are also those that offer crafts of all kinds and high-end lighting items so that you can imitate the Christmas lights of Paris at home.
At the beginning of the market, in the Place de la Concorde, a large Ferris wheel is installed every year from which you can have the best views of the city. Finally, you will also find a huge skating rink of about 500 m².
- Opening dates: usually opens in mid-November and closes on January 5th.
- Hours: every day between 11:00 and 20:00
2. Paris Notre Dame Christmas market
One of the great attractions of this Christmas market is its great location: in front of the river that bathes the Notre Dame Cathedral. Undoubtedly, an incomparable setting to stroll among the stalls that are installed when the Christmas season arrives.
The market is installed in a small park from which you can perfectly photograph the medieval towers of the cathedral. As in the rest of the markets of this type, strollers come to taste some of the gastronomic specialties typical of winter in Paris, such as chestnuts and mulled wine.
The ambiance and atmosphere of this market are two of the factors that make it a must. In its stalls, in addition to food, you can buy a wide variety of works of art, jewelry, tableware and ceramic objects made by artisans selected for the quality of their work.
Children who travel to Paris also have their space in this market, as there are activities such as drawing contests and there are often storytellers that delight the little ones. Not forgetting, obviously, the presence of Santa Claus himself on the premises.
- Where: Place René Viviani, next to Notre Dame Cathedral.
- Opening dates: from mid-December until before Christmas Eve.
- Hours: Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 20:00. Friday, Saturday and Sunday closes at 21:00.
3. Christmas market of St Germain des Prés
Near the famous church of St. Germain des Prés opens every year another Christmas market worth visiting. With nearly 30 huts, its main attraction is the offer of luxury goods such as jewelry, leather bags or handicrafts. In addition, it is also common for Parisians to buy candles and scented chocolates.
The assembly of this market is favored by the big stores in the area, which take the opportunity to offer their merchandise while organizing a lot of activities for all ages.
Of course, in the market you can not miss many of the gastronomic specialties of the season that you would find on a guided tour of Paris, so there you can also taste from a delicious chocolate to mulled wine.
But, without detracting from the market itself, the best thing is undoubtedly the neighborhood in which it is located. It is an area of modern atmosphere in which you can glimpse its past as a reference of the intellectual life of the French capital.
Thus, walking through this neighborhood means not only seeing some interesting monuments, but also discovering great art galleries, small bookstores and several cafes with a totally Parisian style.
- Where to find it: on Saint Germain des Prés square in the district of the same name. The market is set up right on the esplanade of the church that gives its name to the square.
- Opening dates: from the beginning of December until approximately January 6th.
- Hours: every day from 10:00 to 19:00.
4. Christmas Village at the Parvis de La Défense
Along the Esplanade de la Défense is the largest Christmas market in the city, with more than 400 huts. It is an authentic village that offers a wide variety of products perfect for gift giving, especially leather goods and quality jewelry.
This market is also usually one of the earliest to open its doors to the public, in mid-November. Its location makes it one of the most comfortable to visit thanks to the absence of traffic and, therefore, of noise caused by traffic.
In its huts, in addition to gift items, you can try German shepherd food specialties, the region where the tradition of Christmas markets in France began. Other dishes you should try are waffles, mulled wine and crepes worthy of the best creperies in Paris.
Strolling through this Christmas village is the best way to go back to childhood. A magical air envelops the whole place with its festive decorations and activities organized to enjoy with or without children.
- Where: Paris La Défense - Parvis de la Défense
- Opening dates: mid-November to just before New Year's Eve
- Opening hours: 11:00 to 20:00 from Sunday to Thursday, 11:00 to 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays
5. 15th Christmas market
The 15th arrondissement of Paris, like many others in the capital, could not fail to install its own Christmas market. This is the area where the famous Montparnasse tower is located and the best way to get there is by metro. Here I leave you a small guide to the Paris metro to know how to use this transport if you have doubts.
This Christmas market gathers stalls set up by local artisans and traders to display their products. You will find everything from fashion items to food. It is one of the best if you are looking for a gift for your return home.
In total, between 20 and 30 booths are usually set up, but the most striking feature of the market are the animations that take place every day. Many, such as the distribution of chocolates for children or a ride on Santa's sleigh, are designed for the little ones, but others, such as Christmas carols, can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Finally, and as a reminder of the true spirit of Christmas, one of the booths is run by various charities that sell sweets and dedicate the proceeds to the causes they defend.
- Where: on Rue Péclet, in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.
- Opening dates: from mid-December to the day before Christmas
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday, between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm
6. Les Halles Christmas Market (Canopée des Halles Christmas Village)
The central district of Les Halles has been installing its own Christmas market for quite a few years now. The best thing about it is that it has managed to create a totally magical atmosphere, so it is considered one of the best in Paris to visit with the family.
Part of its attraction is the place where it is installed, with the huts arranged around an ice rink (La Canopée) and a 20-meter high fir tree fully decorated and illuminated. Possibly, you have seen the place if you have taken one of the Paris tourist buses from the capital.
The market has about 30 Christmas stalls made of wood. There you can buy all kinds of Christmas accessories, as well as food, crafts and fashion. If you are looking for ideas to decorate your home for Christmas, this is where you will find the most variety and quality.
Of course, while strolling through the market you can have some of the typical hot drinks, such as spiced wine, chocolate or tea. If you accompany it with tartiflettes or waffles, the feeling will be really wonderful.
- Where to find it: it is located in the Quartier des Halles, just under the dome of the Les Halles shopping center.
- Opening dates: between the second week of November and the last days of the year.
- Hours: Every day from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm
7. Alsace Christmas Market
The tradition of installing Christmas markets in Paris (and in other French regions) comes from Alsace, in the north of the country. This area, in its turbulent history, was part of Germany on several occasions, so it has some cultural differences that are reflected in their markets.
Every year in Paris a Christmas market is installed in the image and likeness of the German shepherds. There you will be able to find the typical products of that region, such as sauerkraut, kougelhopf(a kind of sweet brioche), and other typical products.
(a kind of sweet brioche in the shape of a volcano), jams, gingerbread and various types of cheese.
If you go with children on December 6, the day of St. Nicholas, they will receive as a gift a free gingerbread and cinnamon in the shape of the saint.
- Where: at the Gare de l'Est train station, Place 11 November 1918.
- Opening dates: from the beginning of December until approximately the 20th of that month.
- Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm, Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
8. Place de Abbesses Christmas Market (Montmartre)
Although it is a Christmas market not too big, the one located in the Place des Abbesses is considered one of the most charming of the whole city. To begin with, its location is extraordinary, in the heart of the Montmartre district, one of the most bohemian of all Paris.
The market is filled every Christmas with tourists and locals who immerse themselves in its intoxicating atmosphere. Its stalls offer a huge variety of food and drink, clothing and handicrafts. There is also a beautiful carousel that delights children.
With a glass of mulled wine in hand, it's worth climbing to the top of the hill that forms the neighborhood and visiting the Sacré Coeur to enjoy the views of the city.
- Where: on Abbesses square, in the heart of the Montmartre district.
- Opening dates: from the beginning of December until Christmas Eve.
- Opening hours: from 10:00 to 17:00 every day of the week
9 Champs de Mars Christmas market, next to the Eiffel Tower
In the lungs of the Champs de Mars in Paris is one of the Christmas markets with the best views of the city: nothing less than the Eiffel Tower.
With about 100 stalls, the market has a wide range of traditional foods that you can sit and enjoy overlooking the most famous monument of the French capital. Among the most successful dishes are foie gras, salmon and some poultry, all accompanied by a glass of champagne.
If you have a sweet tooth, you should not miss the bûche de Noël, a roll with cream and ice cream. You will also find small cakes, marzipan and chocolate.
In addition to food, this market stands out for its offer in Christmas decorations and crafts. If you are looking for a gift, here you will also find many toys that will delight the youngest members of the family.
Like other markets, the one located in the Champs de Mars includes a great skating rink. If you dare, you can do a few laps around it while contemplating the Eiffel Tower in the background.
- Where: on the Champs de Mars, between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire.
- Opening dates: from the end of November to after January 6
10 Les Féeries d'Auteuil Christmas Market
Although it is not one of the largest Christmas markets in Paris, the intention with which the Les Féeries d'Auteuil is installed every year makes it worth a visit.
This market is organized by the Auteuil Foundation in order to raise funds for their organization in charge of helping children and young people in difficulty. To do this, they put on sale items such as furniture, candles, ceramics, hats or jewelry, all at a very affordable price.
In total, the market is made up of some 27 huts. All of them are decorated with great detail and manage to create a beautifully illuminated and full of Christmas details.
During the few days that the market lasts, about 9, there are several shows of all kinds, such as concerts or exhibitions.
- Where: in the gardens of rue Jean de la Fontaine, in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
- Opening dates: usually held in the second week of December.
- Hours: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, daily