Paris Christmas Markets

On my recent stay in Paris, I was excited to go see the Christmas Markets because I had heard so much about the famed European Christmas Markets.  And, because I am a crafter and I used to sell my items at craft shows and markets all around California. I mistakenly took a cab – I was staying at a hotel just off the Champs Elysee and the markets were only a short stroll away but I didn’t realize that.

Busy, crowded and bit rowdy was the opinion I had formed while riding past the markets the first two days I was in Paris.  In person, it was the same – it was about 8:30pm on a Sunday night and the markets were doing a booming business.  It wasn’t just small wooden booths – there were also large tented restaurants and bars.  One large tented pavilion was actually a Brazilian BBQ restaurant and bar.

Most of the booths I saw were food booths – and NOTHING like American craft show food.  I walked by huge round, BBQ “pans” – these were at table level and about 4 feet in diameter with shish kebab, chicken, ribs, sausage, and veggies sizzling away. Another booth offered a variety of sausages in pastries with or without cheese. Almost every food booth featured “vin chaud” – hot wine. I prefer my wine chilled so I passed on that treat. Hot chocolate, espresso and coffee were also offered – my hot chocolate was superb.  It seemed like every other food booth was a dessert booth – I saw luscious looking pastries, cream puffs and eclairs, gingerbread, big cookies and huge candied apples. I enjoyed a squarish pastry with indentations filled with chocolate all over the top – not sure what it was called but it was scrumptious!  In between the booths, you would also find a rolling “unit” roasting chestnuts – smelled delicious!


I was less than impressed with the actual crafts – very few appeared to be hand-made – I did see one booth with attractive, great smelling soaps and lotions, but many booths were just mass market (made in China????) products – I even saw a “Hello Kitty” booth.  No holiday shopping was accomplished on that outing. Overwhelmingly, I got the impression the markets were really about the food.  On the side of the street I walked, 90% of the booths were food booths.

Pere-Noel-ParisTowards the end of “my” side of the market, were a couple of kiddie rides – closed because it was mainly an adult crowd that late in the evening.  The signs reminded me that Santa Claus in France is Pere Noel – Father Christmas.  (And I’m not sure I spelled that correctly!)


It was a fun evening and one I would do again in any city/area offering Christmas Markets.  I know each region offers a slightly different version of a Christmas Market, each featuring foods and local gift items. They are not to be missed.  You can also combine a river cruise that features the Christmas Markets in towns along the river.

Please call us at 559-324-8150 to help plan a trip including the Europe Christmas Markets.

The Perfect Vacation, Inc. is an affiliate of Coastline Travel Advisors - A Virtuoso® Member Agency - CST 204 0360-10