Some, but not all of the Christmas markets have opened in Paris. Two of the biggest markets this year can be found at La Defense
Esplanadeand The Champs Elysees Rond Pont. If you’re on the Left Bank, the St. Germain des Pres market and the Saint Sulpice markets will be opening for the first week of December. Most markets remain open through the 28th of December. Some of these markets will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (such as the Maison d’Alsace at 39 Champs Elysees) so it’s good to check the hours for each market.
Disney Christmas Village opens on December 12th through January 6th.
What you’ll find at the Christmas markets
I have to admit being somewhat disappointed in the Champs Elysees Christmas market. It’s very commercial without much emphasis on the religious aspect of the holiday. They really shouldn’t bother calling it a ‘Christmas’ market without a single nativity set in sight. But if you’re looking for holiday treats like candied apples and regional sweets, this is a good place for sweettooths.
Strangely enough, there was even a stand selling Buddha statues!
The Maison d’Alsace (and restaurant) is more likely to have some of the traditional Christmas decorations, ornaments – and definitely you’ll find gingerbread which is a specialty of the Alsatian region. After reading Why Go? Italylogue’s Christmas in Italy description of Italian live nativity scenes, I’m almost tempted to hop on a train to visit some of these more traditional markets and displays.
French Christmas celebrations tend to keep the religious and the commercial aspect of the holidays quite separate but you also have the option of going to some of the church Christmas sales knowing that the proceeds will be put to good use.
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The Junior Guild at the American Cathedral in Paris will hold its annual Christmas Fair Saturday, November 29, from 10 am to 4 pm and on Sunday, November 30 from noon to 3 pm. Free entrance. Come and do some of your Christmas shopping at the fair: Christmas cards, ornaments, poinsettias, books old and new, boutique items, posters from the private collection of Olivia de Havilland, a lithograph and an original painting by two Guild artists–Ann Massey and Nicole Leonard, and baked goods. Of course, there is also our famous silent auction with incredible prizes: perfumes from Kenzo, Guerlain and Givenchy, wines, cooking classes from Le Cordon Bleu and Ritz Escoffier, plus meals at 14 wonderful restaurants, including for the first time Helene Darroze and La Fontaine de Mars. All proceeds from the fair go to the charities the Junior Guild supports.
Free Christmas Fun
Free Merry-go-round rides for the Young and the ‘Young at Heart’ starting
December 20th to January 4th 10 am to 7 pm.
Some choice locations: Hotel de Ville, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Madeleine, Place de l’Odeon,
Here are the rest of the locations.
This year 150 km of lights illuminated city streets. Enjoying the lighted streets won’t cost you a centime! Here’s a listing of all the streets illuminated for the holidays.