Nothing says Christmas quite like a traditional jaunt in the Paris Christmas Markets. The city of lights comes to life with so many little wooden chalets that you might just think Santa’s elves have taken up residence for the season. You can enjoy all manner of traditional holiday treats, including spicy gingerbread, savory sausages, steaming mulled wine, and other specialties from all over France. There are a number of these markets throughout the city during the Christmas season, and all of them make ideal outings for families, couples and friends.
The tradition of the Christmas markets has its origin in the northern Alcase region of France. As the area has belonged to Germany at times throughout its history, many of the Christmas market activities today are also drawn from German Christmas market traditions. When the markets first began, they were primarily a way for rural Frenchwomen to find the special or rare ingredients that they needed for their Christmas feasts. Today, though food is undeniably a prominent part of the Christmas markets, shoppers can now find a huge range of items, ranging from handcrafted toys and ornaments to gifts, cards and more.
If you’re going to visit only one of the markets this year, make it the Parisian Christmas market near the Arche de la Defense. This is certainly the largest, and arguably the most impressive of the markets in the city. A full ice skating rink is set up each year, so kids can spend hours skating while parents browse the market for gifts and treats. Thousands of bright lights twinkle, lighting up the already dazzling Arche. Make sure you stop in and take a photo with jolly Santa before grabbing a bite from one of the many mouth-watering offerings.
Speaking of food, for the real foodie, the only place to visit is the Marche de Noel Montparnasse. This market can be found at the foot of the Tour Montparnasse, and it offers some of the very finest from local bakers, farmers and vintners. Treat yourself to an amazing array of gourmet cheeses, meats, cakes, and wine – and once you’ve eaten your fill, make sure to pack up plenty for your family and friends back home.
For loads of family fun, make sure to pay a visit to the market at the Avenue des Champs Elysees. With a miniature roller coaster, a ferries wheel, a carousel and more, this will be the kids’ favorite shopping expedition of the year. Here you’ll also find chocolates galore from some of the best chocolatiers in Paris. You’ll also find gorgeous handmade sweaters, Christmas cards, and other beautiful crafts that are sure to please everyone on your shopping list.
Finally, an event that cannot be missed is the Christmas market at Notre Dame Cathedral. An enormous Christmas tree is set up in the square each year, and a fantastic market springs up all around it. Here you’ll find the traditional mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, and a holly jolly Santa, along with an impressive selection of arts and crafts.
Get holidays in Paris apartments and enjoy the happiest time of the year: Christmas!