The winter holiday season in the city of lights would feel degrees less cheerful and inspired without the traditional Paris Christmas markets that spring up each year. The markets, with their iconic clusters of wood chalets offering custom holiday treats like mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and specialties from various regions of France, are an essential part of celebrating Christmas in Paris. They also make an ideal outing with kids in Paris. Visit one of Paris's many Christmas markets for a scenic winter stroll, or stock up on traditional foodstuffs or handcrafted toys, clothing and other items for gifts.
The History of Paris Christmas MarketsChristmas markets in Paris and elsewhere in France have their origins in the northern Alsace region, which has belonged to Germany at various junctures in history and therefore draws on German Christmas market traditions stretching to as early as the 14th century. The most famous-- and largest-- marché de noël in France is in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace.
Paris Christmas Markets in 2012-2013No matter where you're staying during your holiday trip this year, you're bound to find a market nearby. Some of these dates and times are subject to change; check back closer to December for updates.
- Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées
This is the largest Christmas market within Paris's city limits. The market stretches from the Champs-Elysées roundabout (Metro Champs Elysées-Clémenceau) to the Place de la Concorde (Metro Concorde). Also visit the Maison de l'Alsace at 39 avenue des Champs-Elysees, a temporary boutique offering traditional Alsatian Christmas goodies.
Open: From November 16th, 2012 through January 6th, 2013
Location: Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde
Metro: Champs Elysées-Clemenceau or Concorde
- Christmas Market at La Défense
With 350 stands, one of the largest and most festive Christmas markets around-- in the surreal setting of high-rise buildings.
Open: From November 21st through December 29th, 2012
Location: Parvis de la Défense (near the Grand Arche)
Metro/RER: La Défense
- Christmas Market and Ice Rink at Trocadero
Featuring over 120 stands peddling Christmas goods, an ice-skating rink and "snow villages". This one's ideal for the kids.
Open: Daily from December 13th, 2012 to January 6th, 2013
Location: Place de la Trocadero, across from the Eiffel Tower
- Christmas Market and Santa's Village at Saint-Sulpice
Open: dates and times to be determined. Check back soon.
Location: Place Saint-Sulpice, Paris 6th arrondissement
- Christmas Market and Santa's Village at place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Open from December 6th, 2012 through January 2nd, 2013 .
Location: Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris 6th arrondissement
- Christmas Market at the Montparnasse Tower
Open from December 5th, 2012 through December 30th, 2012. This market specializes in regional French delicacies.
Location: In front of the Gare Montparnasse, facing the tower.
Metro: Montparnasse Bienvenue
- Christmas Market at Place de la Nation
Open daily from early December (precise dates to be announced), 1:00 am to 8:00 pm
Location: Place de la Nation, 11th arrondissement
- Christmas Market at Place d'Italie
Open from November 24th-December 24th, 2012.
Location: Centre Commercial Italie 2 (Shopping Center), Metro Place d'Italie
- Christmas Market at the Place des Abbesses
This market, nestled in the heart of the quaint Montmartre neighborhood, will be open daily starting in December (precise dates to be announced).
Location: Place des Abbesses, 18th arrondissement
- Christmas Market at Gare de l'Est
Dates and times tbd: check back soon.
Location: Gare de l'Est, 10th arrondissement
Metro: Gare de l'Est
- Christmas Market at Notre Dame Cathedral
This year a market dedicated to arts, crafts, and fine cuisine is set to spring up on the square outside Notre Dame Cathedral, where a giant Christmas tree generally stands as well each year. Mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, warm chalets and even Santa Claus are reportedly set to take the square by storm.
Open: Daily from December 15th-23rd, 2012.
Location: Place du Parvis de Notre Dame, Metro/RER St Michel or Cité