Parisian Christmas Markets; Each one is better than the next
It has been said for decades that Germany has the best, most spectacular Christmas markets in the world. Though, this may be true, Paris is giving Germany a run for its money.
Since this is my first year in Paris, I was unaware exactly what the Christmas traditions were. The city alone because even more magnificent at night and when holiday lights are added, it is more brilliant. As I do on most of my travels, I skip the safety of tourism research and ask the locals for the insider tips. When I began asking my new classmates and my new roommate, what was the best way to see Christmas in Paris, the main attractions were the markets.
I began to explore all the markets one by one and immediately found my favorite thing about Paris. I could have not asked for a better time of year to see the city for the first time again. The mulled wine, the delicious fresh food and the selection of artistic gifts for not only the family but myself too. Each market was unique in its own way but several are a must see to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Here is the list of markets from “do not miss” to ” It’s ok if we missed just one.”
This is not only just a Christmas market but a must see attraction. It is one of the less expensive nights out with the great food, ice skating, La Grande Roue de Paris and of course, don’t forget the vin chaud (hot wine). When you arrive to the beginning of the market, there are four corner photo-op to pose in front of snowflake white and blue pond, before heading down the blocks of jewelers, clothing and cheese vendors. I would save room for dinner because the amount of crepe, German sausage and moules selections is enough to have you return the next night. Also, look for the Brittany vendor which brings the coastline town savory crepes and cheese that are a must. The vin chaud starts from 3 euro and is an absolute must! It is the adult hot chocolate you wish they served in the US. There are plenty of retire’s (ATM’s) to get more cash if needed and depending what you do you will have a very satisfied evening for about 50 euro even past midnight. Open till January 5th. Everyday from 11-11 and midnight on Friday and Saturday. Metro stop: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Concorde http://www.parisvillagedenoel-champselysees.com
2. Montmartre (Sacre Coeur)
Holding one of the best views in Paris, once you survive the climb, Montmartre, has one of the larger Christmas markets in Paris. The vendors are more local and include a nice selection of clothing, specialty teas and candies. One of the first vendors I saw was from the south of France specializing in formage, pastries and meats from the south, it was fantastic! You will also find locally hand-made Parisian ornaments as at Champs-Elysess, speciality soaps and if you need more vin chaud for your climb down, it is always available. Open 10am to 9:30pm. Metro Stop: Anvers
3. Saint Germain
Saint Germain is one of the chic, trendy neighborhoods of Paris. As chic as this area might be, the market is much simpler. Located around the corner from the Abbaye Saint Germain des Pres, it has the best selection of local jewelery I have seen. You can get the same items as at Champs-Elysees including some excellent black and white truffles and local brandy. So, If you are in the neighborhood and want some mulled wine, ensure to stop by the market. Open till New Years Day, 10am-8pm. Metro Stop: Saint Germain des Pres
4. Eiffel Tower
The number one attraction in Paris, if not the world, supplies a well needed large “tourist” Christmas market. If you want some souvenirs, a bite to eat and some mulled wine while taking your 400 photos of the magnificent piece of history, this is your place. You can get some cute clothing items, where I picked up a fashionable new hat but after ensure to cross the street to the small market down by the river ferry. If you walk down the first set of steps to the left, at the beginning of the bridge, there is a small market with a raw bar to die for. There are a few vendors to buy items but the real food is here. Specialty sausages, raw seafood and gourmet candies. Ensure to eat before if you decide to tak the river tour because the microwaved pasta box does not offer a real “French” meal. Open till January 5th. 11am-8pm. Metro Stop: Champ de Mars/Tour Eiffel
5. Notre Dame
When visiting one of the most popular attractions in Paris, more than likely you would miss the small market right across the street. However, this tiny market has some of the best artwork and local cheeses around. Even if you don’t exhausted your shopping energy, the vin chaud here, is the best out of any market. You have to be quick though because this market is only open until the 22nd of December. Metro Stop: Saint Michel-Notre Dame.