Christmas in the French capital is one of the most spectacular things to experience with the sparkling lights, bright decorations, festive spirit, and visits from Pere Noel or Saint Nicholas at a Paris Christmas market. Sip hot mulled wine while munching on roasted chestnuts as you stroll through a Christmas market in Paris.
Sample the many chocolates, cheeses, and sausages that vendors will be offering, and search for gifts for everyone on your list. From regional food specialties and candies to arts and crafts, you will find a little bit of everything when you explore a Christmas market. Alsace celebrates the festive season in style with some of the best Christmas markets.
Each Christmas season, anywhere from 15 to 20 Christmas markets pop up across Paris, not counting the small local Christmas markets in neighborhoods. These charming markets start appearing from mid-November to mid-December, with some that remain festive through Christmas Eve. Be sure to find a Paris luggage storage locker nearby to stow your goodies so you can keep on shopping for hours.
Paris Notre Dame Christmas Market
Held at Square Viviani, this is one of the most scenic Paris Christmas markets. Also known as the Marché de Noel Notre Dame, it is set up on the Left Bank’s Quai Montebello. In spite of the fire at Notre Dame, the Christmas market is still held each year. The magnificent Christmas tree dressed for the occasion is the perfect place for a photo.
Grab a glass of vin chaud or hot mulled wine, and munch on roasted chestnuts as you make your way through the market. Filled with artisans from throughout France, you will find a good selection of clothing and accessories, crafts, and even gourmet foods. Enjoy the Christmas lights and finish your Christmas shopping with the iconic cathedral in the background.
Santa has been known to visit the Notre Dame Christmas Market often, so little ones should have their Christmas lists ready. The relaxed atmosphere of this market will get you in the holiday spirit. Open from mid-December until Christmas Eve, you will have plenty of time to visit and do a little shopping this holiday season.
What to do near the Marché de Noel Notre Dame
The Église Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre is an interesting medieval church that is next door to Notre Dame and dates back to 1160. You can even check out the renovations that are slowly bringing the Notre Dame Cathedral back to life after the fire in 2018. Drop by Shakespeare & Company, a café and bookstore all rolled into one neat package.
The Magic of Christmas
Called La Magie de Noël, this Christmas market is held in Tuileries Garden which sits next to the Louvre. It is sometimes called the Tuileries Christmas Market. This large Christmas market used to be called the Champs-Elysées Christmas Market but it outgrew its location and had to be moved. It is now one of the best Paris Christmas markets where you can even get traditional Christmas meals.
The market now stretches along the north end of Tuileries Garden from Place de la Concorde to Rue des Pyramides. The Christmas market and Christmas-themed carnival setup is the perfect place for families to come for some winter fun. It is by far the most popular Paris Christmas Market with more than 13 million visitors each year.
The enormous Ferris wheel is a big draw and the ice skating rink is wonderful for families, there is even a separate section for tots to learn to ice skate. Drop the kids at the ice rink and visit the Champagne bar where hot mulled wine is available as well as traditional onion soup. The Christmas market is open from late November through early January.
What to do near La Magie de Noël
Of course, when you are this close to the Louvre, you have to make the time to visit. If you are looking for more shopping opportunities, walk to the Carrousel du Louvre, an underground shopping mall. Visit the Champs-Élysées and the Eiffel Tower is not too far away. Stroll through the city and check out the Christmas decorations, Paris goes all out!
La Défense Marché de Noël
With about 350 chalets set up to create a Christmas village, this Christmas market is one of the biggest in the region. The Christmas decorations are fabulous and the market has been going strong since 1995. About 1.5 million people visit from late November through late December.
There is a wide selection of gifts including leather goods, jewelry, arts, crafts, clothing, and so much more. The Alsatian fare available will make your mouth water. Be sure to drop in and grab a snack to hold you over while you shop. The festive food will make your tummy grumble.
What to do near La Défense Christmas Market
Stroll along the Esplanade and view 60 monuments and sculptures that are impressive. Bring your ice skates along and drop by the ice rink on the top of the Grande Arche. Visit the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. Check out the breathtaking Christmas lights displays along the Esplanade.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market
With around 40 chalets lining Boulevard St. Germain near the St. Germain des Prés Church, Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market is one of the best mid-sized Christmas markets in Paris. You can find leather goods, high quality jewelry, handcrafted gifts, scented candles, glass Christmas ornaments, and the list goes on and on.
The mouth-watering marrons glacés (candied chestnuts) will be calling your name when you step into this market! Specialty wines from other regions of France are available here. Open from mid-December through early January, this is a major shopping event for those searching for higher-end gifts.
What to do near Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market
Make your way over to the Cluny Christmas Market which is just a few blocks away at the intersection of Boulevard Saint Michel and Saint Germain, next to the Cluny Museum. While there, check out the Cluny Museum or National Museum of the Middle Ages.
Meander through Paris Christmas Markets
Paris has more Christmas markets, many offer fantastic items that would make wonderful Christmas presents. Christmas trees become a common sight throughout Paris Christmas markets as they draw people in and offer fabulous gift ideas and festive objects.
Wooden chalets create a Christmas village in many markets which gives a magical holiday atmosphere. Hot roasted chestnuts and mulled wine also make awaken your senses to the fact that Christmas is just around the corner. Popular Christmas markets are great ways to enjoy the festive season but smaller ones are more intimate.
Other markets that didn't make the list but are fabulous nonetheless include Alsatian Christmas Market, Swedish Christmas Market, Trocadéro Christmas Market, and Montparnasse Christmas market. Place des Abbesses is home to the Abbesses Christmas Market.
Take a stroll through Place de la Concorde for a wonderful look at the joyous decorations and fun things to do. Place de la Concorde is home to a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round.
Now you are ready to enjoy the Christmas markets in Paris. For more things to do in Paris, check out these other guides.