Last Updated on 26th December 2019 by Sophie Nadeau
Jingle Bells has already been playing on the radio for a little while now and the smell of mulled wine is constantly in the air. If Europe is the place to head to for Christmas markets, then Paris is the crème de la crème. The name ‘City of Light’ really lives up to its name come Christmas time: enter the best of Christmas Markets in Paris!
Things to know before visiting the Paris Christmas Markets
The city is decked out in all things Christmas to the extent that you half expect Santa to pop out from the interior of a Parisian café at any moment. Although there are multiple Christmas markets throughout the city, notably the one close to the Champs Élysées, the largest Christmas market in all of Europe is situated at la Défense.
Situated at the end of metro line 1, it’s just 20 minutes away from the Parisian city centre. The largest Christmas Market inside the Paris Peripherique itself is that of Jardin des Tuileries, in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. For several years now, there’s been no market along the Champs Élysées due to a dispute between the organiser and the city of Paris.
Otherwise, it’s worth noting that other festive fun to be had in Paris includes checking out the window displays of the ‘Grands Magasins’ or going in search of some of the biggest and most decorated ‘Sapins de Noël’ (Christmas Trees) in the city.
While traditional Christmas Markets typically make you pay a deposit fee of €1 to rent a plastic cup (and more for a mug) for your vin chaud, none of the Christmas Markets in Paris that I’ve been to have required this. Though some stalls accept cash, it’s always good to bring some extra cash along, just in case!
Jardin des Tuileries Christmas Market
If you’re looking for a truly French Christmas Market experience, then the festive event at the Jardin des Tuileries is the perfect place to begin. Situated in the 1st arrondissement and not far from the Louvre Museum, the festive event is held where the summer funfair is held during the warmer months of the year.
The largest market inside the Paris peripherique, in 2019 the 500 metre squared area hosts a selection of stalls selling everything from handcrafted goods to traditional Christmas market food (raclette, vin chaud, hot cider, and the like). There’s also a wide selection of funfair rides, including a giant ferris wheel where you can enjoy views onto the Tuileries Gardens, and all the way to the Eiffel Tower.
Canopée des Halles Christmas Market
A smaller Christmas market is held at the largely underground complex of Les Halles shopping complex. Situated on the right bank of the River, the Bavarian-style chalets at this Christmas market number just a few dozen. Visit during opening hours and you can expect to find a wide array of gifts and souvenirs for sale, as well as several food stalls selling various winter-themed food.
Though the Canopée des Halles Market is a delight to pass through if you’re in the area (particularly considering the oversized Christmas tree in the middle of Les Halles), I would personally prioritise other Parisian Christmas over this one. Nearby, rue Montorgueil annually hosts some of the best Christmas illuminations that the city has to offer.
Le Marché de Noël en Alsace à Paris at Gare de l’Est
Steps away from the entryway to Gare de l’Est train station, the very first Alsace-themed Christmas market outside of the Alsace region has been held annually for well over thirty-five years. Set underneath a covered marquee (making this the perfect rainy day Christmas Market), just over a dozen stalls sell all kinds of foodie related produce originating from Eastern France.
Included in this is Munster cheese, plenty of gingerbread, as well as a whole host of other sweet delights. Other highlights include plenty of stalls selling Alsatian wines and other liqueurs. It’s worth noting that while there are plenty of foodie gifts for sale, there’s no hot food for sale, nor is there little by way of products to buy that aren’t food or drink!
La Défense Christmas Market
Cheers! Pick up a glass of mulled wine and portion of churros as the largest Christmas market in Europe and one of the best Christmas markets in Paris. The la Défense Christmas market has everything from Canadian maple syrup goods to Hoverboard testing to small jewellery gifts. There’s even a Quebec themed chalet selling Canadian foodie stuff such as poutine and beavertails!
In fact, with over 300 traditional wooden chalets providing all manner of gifts, foods, and experiences, I can almost guarantee that you’ll find something to interest you! And if you’re looking to experience some truly unique vin chaud or traditional Alsatian food while at the Market, there’s plenty of opportunities to eat at the market itself (including chic mulled wine and Cuban mulled wine)!
Read more: How to visit La Défense Christmas Market
Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market
Situated in the 6th arrondissement of the city and under the shadow of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Abbey (i.e. the oldest church in Paris), there’s no denying the magic of this smaller Parisian Christmas market, particularly come nightfall when the entire area is illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights.
In total, there are a few dozen Bavarian style chalet stalls selling all kinds of goods from eat-on-the-spot foodie products (think tartiflette, churros, crêpes, and vin chaud), as well as a whole host of artisanal and luxurious gifts and handcrafted goods.
Ritz Christmas Chalet
Though not a ‘Christmas Market’ in Paris per se, one place you’ll want to be sure to frequent during the festive season is that of Place Vendôme. Created in the 19th-century, the square is presided over by a triumphal column and is filled with boutique shops and hotels.
In 2019, the Ritz Paris hotel is hosting a Christmas chalet which is serving a variety of sweet delights and chocolat chaud concoctions dreamt up by the chef who recently won an award for ‘best pastry chef in the world’. Single pastries are priced at €9, while you can expect to pay €15 for the ‘formule’ (i.e. a chocolat chaud and pastry).
Read more: How to visit the Ritz Christmas Chalet
Notre Dame de Paris Christmas Market
One of the prettiest public squares in Paris is that of Square René-Viviani. Situated in the Latin Quarter and not far away from the world-famous Shakespeare and Co English language bookshop, in 2019 this is where the annual Notre Dame Christmas Market is to be held.
Overlooking the grand ecclesiastical building itself (which sadly can’t currently be visited due to a terrible fire in April 2019), around a dozen artists and creators stalls will be set up. Selling everything from handcrafted jewellery to macarons, pretzels, and plenty of vin chaud, the festive event is widely regarded to be one of the best Christmas Markets in Paris.
Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market & Village
Though one of the smaller events in the city, the Hôtel de Ville Christmas Village is organised by the City of Paris and is one of the more magical events in Le Marais district of the city. Featuring a multitude of carousels and Christmas trees, there are also a select handful of stalls selling products specifically made in Paris! Please note that while once upon a time there was an ice skating rink at Hôtel de Ville, this has since been replaced with the Christmas Village.
Eiffel Tower Christmas market
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And if you want to brush up on your French, check out this French Christmas Vocabulary!