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 holiday 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.
Markets in 2013 to 2014No 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 15th, 2013 through January 5th, 2014
Location: Avenue des Champs-Elysées to the Place de la Concorde
Metro: Passy, Champs Elysées-Clemenceau or Concorde
Open: Daily from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm; Fridays and Saturdays until midnight.
Christmas Market at La Défense
With 350 stands, this is one of the largest and most festive holiday markets around-- in the surreal setting of high-rise buildings and the looming white structure of the Grande Arche.
Open: From November 27th through December 28th, 2013
Location: Parvis de la Défense (near the Grand Arche)
Metro/RER: La Défense
Christmas Market and Ice Rink at Trocadero
Featuring some 100 stands peddling gifts and goods perfect for the Christmas season, in addition to an ice-skating rink and "snow villages". This one's ideal for the kids, who'll find plenty to keep busy.
Open: Daily from December 12th, 2013 to January 5th, 2014
Location: Place de la Trocadero, across from the Eiffel Tower
Christmas Market and Santa's Village at Saint-Sulpice
Open: Daily from December 1st through December 24th, 2013, 10:00 am-8:00 pm.
Location: Place Saint-Sulpice, 6th arrondissement
Christmas Market and Santa's Village at place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Open: Daily from November 15th through January 6th, 2014, 10:00 am-7:00 pm .
Location: Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris 6th arrondissement
Christmas Market at the Montparnasse Tower
Open from December 15th, 2013 through January 4th, 2014. Boasting around 40 festive wooden "chalets" 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: December 1st through December 24th, 2013.
Location: Place de la Nation, 11th arrondissement
Christmas Market at Republique
Open from December 7th-15th, 2013 .
Location: Place de la Republique
Montmartre Christmas Market
This market, nestled in the heart of the quaint Montmartre neighborhood, is open from December 6th, 2013 through January 5th, 2014, 10:00 am-8:30 pm; 10:00 am-10pm on weekends. Also head over to another festive market on the nearby Place des Abbesses in the same neighborhood (from 29th of November through the 1st of January).
Location: Parvis de la Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, 18th arrondissement
Christmas Market at Gare de l'Est
Dates and times to be announced: 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 around mid-December. Precise dates to be announced soon.
Location: Place du Parvis de Notre Dame, Metro/RER St Michel or Cité