One of our favorite memories of a Paris Christmas was touring the many Paris Christmas markets across the city. Some Christmas markets pop up fairly spontaneously from year to year, but there are a few staples you’ll find to be consistent. Here’s where to go to find Paris Christmas markets, plus tips for best enjoyment of these seasonal wonders.
Top Paris Christmas markets 2016:
The biggies each year are as follows (plus how to get there):
- The Concorde area: this largest Christmas market is located at the Concorde, right in the shadow of the seasonal ferris wheel (built for the World’s Fair). It’s at the end of the famous Champs- Élysées, so if you’re already walking down this to see the holiday lights and decor, you’ll end up here.
- Under the Eiffel Tower: this was our favorite Christmas market, as it wasn’t too big and wasn’t too small. And the ambiance is amazing under the tower, especially when it sparkles on the hour at night. We visited this market before and after going to the top of the tower.
- In the Montmartre area: this market is a bit more ‘working class’, with some touristy stuff tossed in, located under the shadow of Sacre Coeur. Take the metro to the Chateau Rogue stop, or tack this visit on to a tour of Sacre Coeur. You can take the tram up the hill, too.
Tips for making the most of the Paris Christmas markets:
- Plan on making a meal of it: We purposely planned our mealtimes around Christmas markets. This is a cheap and delicious way to eat in Paris during the holiday season. At every Christmas market, we could find the staples: crepes, Belgian waffles, baguettes toasted with melted cheese, mulled wine, hot chocolate, and all sorts of candies and nuts.
- Look for smaller markets: We found a fun yet small Christmas market across the Seine from Notre Dame, by the Latin Quarter. It was only a dozen or so huts, but Santa Claus was there without a line, and the vendors were among the most friendly.
- Bring cash: at most huts, you’ll need to pay in cash. Give kids coins to spend on their own.
- Shop for Christmasy souvenirs: During our Christmas visit, we decided to play a game of ‘secret Santa’ within our family. Each family member bought little trinkets and treats at Christmas markets for another member of the family. We had a lot of fun.
- Look for ice skating rinks: Many Christmas markets include small ice skating rinks. Below the Eiffel Tower, the rink was actually a loop, similar to a track, which skaters used as though on a trail. If you combine an Eiffel Tower Christmas market trip with a ride up the tower, stop and skate at the 1st floor landing ON the tower. It’s free!
- Try the vin chaud: This mulled wine may not be made with the highest quality wine, but it’s piping hot and seasoned nicely. For kids, the chocolat chaud is the way to go.
- Look for public restrooms: Restrooms are in short supply in Paris, but we always found one at major Christmas markets.
- Almost all Paris Christmas markets open the third week of November and close January 1. Hours are generally noon to 10 pm.
What is your favorite Paris Christmas market?