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A Tradition Loved by Locals and Tourists Alike
The winter holiday season in the city of lights would feel degrees less cheerful and inspired without the traditional Christmas markets in Paris, or marchés de Noel, that spring up each year all around the city.
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 "Marchés de Noel" in History
Christmas 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.
NEXT UP: See a Complete List of Christmas Markets Open in 2017-2018Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
"Marchés de Noel" in 2017 and 2018: Dates and Locations
Note: This page will be updated throughout October and November as this year's market dates are announced.
No matter where you're staying during your holiday trip to the French capital this year, you're bound to find a market close by.
Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées: Canceled
Sadly, due to an ongoing dispute between Parisian city authorities and the main vendor who operates the Christmas market on the Champs-Elysées, the city's largest and most beloved, this event has been canceled for the time being. The Mayor's office has stated that the quality of the goods on offer at market in recent years is of poor quality, prompting the city to chuck out their contract with the current vendor to search for another next year. Since some 15 million people hit the wooden stalls on the Avenue every year, the news has come as a bit of a shock.
Many are understandably upset by the surprise cancellation, and with carnival workers threatening to strike, some are predicting that the conflict might ultimately be resolved, saving this year's market after all. We'll keep you posted. In the meantime, the world's most-recognized avenue will still be strung with thousands of festive holiday lights, so it won't be completely bereft of holiday cheer.
Also not to miss: Where to See Christmas Illuminations around Paris
Christmas Market at La Défense
Boasting upwards of 300 stands selling everything from artisanal and regional products to decorative objects and toys, 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 de la Defense.
- Open: From November 23rd through December 28th, 2017; 11:00 am to 8:00 pm.
- Location: Parvis de la Défense (near the Grand Arche)
- Metro/RER: La Défense (Metro Line 1; RER Line A)
Christmas Market & Ice Rink at Champ de Mars/Near Eiffel Tower
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: December 21st, 2017 through January 8th, 2018, 11:00 am to 8:30 pm.
- Location: Parc du Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower
- Metro: Trocadero
Additional market near Eiffel Tower
If the main "Christmas village" proves too crowded for your taste, there's an additional market this year nearby the tower, outside the Musee de l'Armee and the Hotel des Invalides. (Open: Dec 15th to December 31st, 2017; Metro Invalides).
Christmas Market and Santa's Village at place Saint-Germain-des-Prés
- Open: December 1st, 2017 to January 1st, 2018, 11:00 am-9:00 pm (weekdays); 10:00 am-9:00 pm (weekends)
- Location: Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris 6th arrondissement
- Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Read related: The Old-World Charms of the St-Germain neighborhood
Christmas Market and Santa's Village at Saint-Sulpice
- Open: Dates are yet to be announced
- Location: Place Saint-Sulpice, 6th arrondissement
- Metro: Saint-Sulpice
- Nearby: Musee d'Orsay
Christmas Market at the Montparnasse Tower
Boasting around 40 festive wooden "chalets", this market in Paris' southern hub at Montparnasse specializes in regional French delicacies.
- Open: Dates are yet to be announced: check back soon
- Location: Place Raoul Dautry, in front of the Gare Montparnasse train station
- Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue
Christmas Market at the Place des Abbesses, Montmartre
This festive market in the heights of hilly, arty Montmartre is a guaranteed treat-- and affords nice views of the city from the hills, too.
- Open: November 21st, 2017 through January 2nd, 2018
- Location: Place des Abbesses, 18th arrondissement
- Metro: Abbesses
- Metro: Montparnasse-Bienvenue
Montmartre Christmas Market/Santa's Village
This market, nestled in the heart of the quaint Montmartre neighborhood, is open from 10:00 am-8:30 pm; 10:00 am-10pm on weekends. Precise dates in 2016-2017 TBD.
- Location: Parvis de la Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, 18th arrondissement
- Metro: Anvers
Alsatian-Style Christmas Market at Gare de l'est
Located near the train station heading east from Paris, this market is well-known for its Alsatian specialties (since trains at this station have the Franco-German region as a destination). This is a great market for artisanal gifts and regional treats such as gingerbread, sausages, mulled wine, sauerkraut, and other specialties.
- Open: December 2017 (precise dates TBD); 9:00 am-8:00 pm (open Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
- Location: Gare de l'est (outside the station on the main square)
- Metro: Gare de l'est
Christmas Festival "Feerique" at Porte d'Autueil (West Paris)
Cheerful chalets selling artisanal food and drink and traditional Christmas decorations are peddled at this quieter but equally charming market.
- Open: December 2nd-10th, 2017, 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
- Location: 40 rue Jean de La Fontaine, 16th arrondissement
- Metro: Porte d'Auteuil
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 Viviani nearby Notre Dame Cathedral, where a giant Christmas tree generally stands on the main plaza as well. Mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, warm chalets and even Santa Claus are reportedly set to take the square by storm.
- Open: December 15th-24th, 2017, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (open until 9:00 pm on weekends).
- Location: Square Rene Viviani/Quai Montebello, Metro/RER St Michel; Maubert, or Cité
Christmas Market at Place d'Italie
A smaller, charming market comprising around 20 stands, and located at the southern tip of Paris at the Place d'Italie metro station. A giant illuminated Christmas tree also graces this market.
- Open: From late November 2017 through December 31st, 2017, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm (open until 9:00 pm on Thursday evenings).
- Location: Centre Commercial Italie 2, 30 Place d'Italie, 13th arrondissement
- Metro: Place d'Italie
Norwegian Christmas Market
For those interested in procuring Scandinavian-style goodies and decorations, you're in luck this year: a new market is springing up promising to deliver plenty of holiday coziness from the Northern country. .
- When: December 9th-10th, 2017
- Location: La Recyclerie, 83 Boulevard Ornano, 18th arrondissement (Metro: Porte de Clignancourt)
Markets Just Outside Paris: Take a Festive Day Trip
These markets are just a train or metro ride away from the city, and can provide some real village-like charm for the whole family to enjoy. Why not take a holiday-inspired day trip from Paris?
Christmas Market at Versailles
- Open: TBD
- Location: Versailles, town center
- Train: Take RER Line C5 to Versailles/Rive Gauche.
Medieval-style Christmas Market at Provins
This adorable medieval village outside Paris features a fortified tower, walls, and moats. Its Christmas market is delightful and offers regional products including honeys and rose jams.
- Open: December 16th and 17th, 2017
- Location: Place du Chatel, Provins
- Train: Take a regional SNCF train from Gare de L'est to Provins.
Christmas Market at Vincennes
Continue to 3 of 6 below.
- Open: December 9th through December 24th, 2017,
- 10:00 am to 8:00 pm
- Location: Vincennes, town center (Place Pierre Semard)
- Metro: Porte de Vincennes (Line 1)
03 of 06
An Inspired Wintery Scene at the Champs-Elysées Christmas Market
Most of the traditional Christmas markets feature chalet stands in warm, woody colors, drawing from Alsatian and German traditions. But these white stands at the Champs-Elysées market in 2014, decorated with pale blue lights, created a special wintery ambiance.
Read related: All About Winter in ParisContinue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Spiced mulled wine pours freely at a Paris Christmas Market
On a cold wintery day, little beats a cup of steaming, spiced mulled wine, or "gluhwein" from the German word. This stand at a Christmas market in Paris serves the warming stuff up from traditional wooden barrels.
Read related: Best Wine Bars in ParisContinue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Ice skating rinks at Paris Christmas markets are a special treat
Visiting Paris with children? Kids will adore visiting Christmas markets equipped with ice rinks, like this one on the Champs-Elysees in 2012. Snow doesn't fall very often in Paris, but spending an afternoon on the ice will bring plenty of winter ambiance-- and you can enjoy a steaming cup of hot chocolate or mulled wine from one of the stands to warm up afterwards.
More information: Find Holiday/Christmas Season Ice Rinks in ParisContinue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Santa and his carriage at Place de la Concorde market
Santa Claus isn't for everyone, but for kids who celebrate Christmas, a visit with him is probably in order. Here, a very Parisian Santa enthusiastically welcomes guests visiting the main Christmas market in Paris, stretching from the Place de la Concorde up the Champs-Elysées and to the Arc de Triomphe.
Read related: All about the Champs-Elysées Neighborhood