Boasting around two dozen stalls and set against the backdrop of one of the prettiest squares in Paris, Notre Dame de Paris Christmas Market is a delightful assortment of artisanal goods meets culinary products. Here’s your ultimate guide to visiting the Marché de Notre Dame de Noël, as well as things to know before you go!
Notre Dame de Paris Christmas Market Paris | December 19 – 29 2019
In the past, the Notre Dame Christmas Market has been held on the Parvis de Notre Dame, steps away from the oldest hospital in Paris, i.e. Hôtel Dieu, and in the shadow of the magnificent and Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral itself. However, due to the terrible fire in April 2019, the entire of the Parvis de Notre Dame remains under scaffolding and with no access to the public.
As such, the market has moved just over the River Seine and into the Latin Quarter. Though signs across Île de la Cité claim that the market is just ’30 metres away from Notre Dame’, it is, in fact, a little further away! Close to the iconic English language bookshop of Shakespeare and Company, Square René-Viviani is one of the prettiest parks in Paris.
Filled with flower borders in the springtime, the park claims to be the place where the oldest tree in Paris is to be found and is actually situated on the site of a 6th-century cemetery. Nearby, the church of Saint Julien le Pauvre is one of the oldest churches in Paris.
Notre Dame de Paris Christmas Market (Marché de Noël de Notre Dame de Paris)
Of all the Christmas markets in Paris, that of Notre Dame is the most authentic and is one of the most special. With a heavy focus on quality goods (both in the form of foodstuffs and artisanal/ handmade products), if you make it your mission to visit just one Marché de Noël, make it that of the Latin Quarter.
As well as the typical vin chaud stall (cash only) and hot marrons (chesnuts), macarons, bretzels (pretzels), there’s a wide array of good quality products. From the dried fruit and nut stalls to the stand selling gold-plated jewellery made in Paris, you’re sure to find that extra special gift you’ve been looking for (or, indeed, a gift for yourself)! Other items for sale include candles, hand bound notebooks, and even silk scarves.
Things to know before visiting the Notre Dame Christmas Market
The market is completely free to enter and you’ll know you’re in the right place when you spy the welcoming festive signs in the plant arches which normally welcome visitors to Square René-Viviani. The Notre Dame de Paris Christmas Market is open from 10 AM – 8 PM from Monday to Thursday and 10 AM – 9 PM on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Unlike more rural Christmas Markets (such as those to be found in the Alsace region of France), I soon noticed that many of the market stalls accepted card, particularly those with higher market value goods (such as a gold plated jewellery stand). With this being said, you’ll be well served with keeping a little cash handy, particularly if you want to purchase some vin chaud (€4, which includes a Notre Dame branded cup).
Unlike other Christmas Markets in France, there is no deposit for vin chaud, but I also didn’t see anywhere where you could return your cup, for a reimbursement of €1. Though most people you encounter will speak a fantastic level of English, it’s only polite to learn a few words of the local language, which in this case is French. Bring along a French phrasebook like this one to help you get by.
Like many other European capital cities, Paris is full of cobbled lanes and so be sure to wear your comfiest walking shoes! For highlights in the nearby 5th arrondissement, be sure check out this Latin Quarter Walking Tour, which encompasses many of the district’s main highlights. Winter in France is cold and so pack a warm winter jacket like this one!
Finally, if you’re planning a winter sojourn to Paris, then you should know that accommodation fills up fast. While the summer is undoubtedly high season (i.e. July and August), there’s no denying that there’s another high point in visitors to the city when winter rolls around and the City of Light is decked out for the holidays. Book your place to stay well in advance to secure the best prices/ location. Check the best Paris accommodation here.