The 5 Best Christmas Markets in Paris
While a lot of Paris’ Christmas magic stems from the many light displays around the city, the Christmas markets add a lot to the festivities, too.
Just about every major neighborhood in Paris will host a holiday themed market of some sort between the end of November and the beginning of January. Anyone looking to get into the seasonal spirit should dedicated an evening to a market of their choosing, where they’ll enjoy traditional food, hot wine, handmade toys and entertainment.
Here are the five best, in my opinion.
Note: These markets are limited to Paris, and if you’ll be venturing into other parts of France during December you’ll encounter a lot more. Click here for a full list!
1. Le Village de Noël at Les Halles in Paris
Les Halles is the tourism heart of Paris, so it is unsurprising that this district goes all out when it comes to the year end celebrations.
The les Halles Christmas market is one of the biggest in the city. It boasts over sixty trading stalls in which you’ll find foods, crafts and souvenir gifts. The also hold regular entertainment events such as visits from Santa Clause, wishlist writing workshops for kids and interactive experiences.
Les Halles Christmas market also builds an entire enchanted forest in which children can take part in various treasure hunts and activities.
Needless to say, this is one of the best Christmas markets in Paris to visit as a family.
When: Late November to late December
Where: Fontaine des Innocents, Place Joachim Du-Bellay
Metro STATION: Les Halles
2. Marché de Noël Champs Élysées in Paris
Astounding new statistics recently determined that the Champs Élysées is visited by 300,000 people on an average day. To put that into perspective, the Eiffel Tower only draws 25,000 visitors per day.
So naturally the city of Paris spends a little more time making this famous strip as appealing as possible during the Christmas season. The Christmas lights of the Champs Élysées are one major tourist attraction; they are up from the end of November and lit between the hours of 5pm and 2am.
There are one million lights used to decorate the Champs Élysées. In addition to this, the road also hosts a yearly Christmas market. This one features over 200 stalls, considerably bigger than the one nearby in les Halles.
To fully experience the market, start at the Ferris wheel in Concorde Square and work your way up to the Arc de Triomphe on the opposite end.
When: November 15th to January 4th
Where: Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
Metro STATION: Champs-Élysées
3. Village de Noël at Champs de Mars in Paris
The Champ de Mars (the lawns in front of the Eiffel Tower) is no stranger to a good market. This land strip is used for different entrepreneurial events throughout the year, but the Christmas one is definitely the biggest and best.
There are over one hundred stalls lined next to each other that lead you right up to the Iron Lady. For obvious reasons, this is one of the most loved Christmas markets in Paris, because attendees get to experience the Eiffel Tower light show every hour, on the hour.
The lights of the tower combined with the lights of the market make for a very romantic experience in the city of… lights! You’re in the heart and soul of Paris, and you’ll feel it.
Tip: Walk right up to the Eiffel Tower after the Champ de Mars market, and reroute yourself to the back side of the structure. Here you’ll find a strip called the Quai Branly, where another Christmas market will be taking place!
When: Mid to late December
Where: Champs de Mars, Eiffel Tower
Metro STATION: Bir-Hakeim
4. Marché de Noël at Notre Dame in Paris
While the market beneath the Eiffel Tower is breathtaking, there is nothing quite like the Notre Dame Christmas market on the bank of the Seine.
Whimsical might be the right word to describe the very quiet and cozy event that takes place here for just a few day before Christmas. It’s an intimate and understated market just outside of the cathedral that is lit up during the nightly festivities.
You’ll roam through a small cluster of stalls offering delicious traditional French food, roasted chestnuts and artisanal treats. It is customary to grab a mug of mulled hot wine as you arrive and sip on it for the duration of your stroll (bring along your own mug to save on plastic waste).
In recent years one could enter the Notre Dame cathedral after their market visit, either for a quiet moment alone or for a full Christmas service. Given the recent fires this will not be taking place this year, but things will hopefully be back to normal proceedings by Christmas 2020.
When: Middle of December to Christmas Eve
Where: Square René Viviani, 2 rue du Fouarre, Paris, France
Metro STATION: Maubert-Mutualité
5. Reims Christmas Market near Paris
The Reims Christmas Market isn’t actually in Paris, but it is close enough to do as a day trip.
It’s worth it since the market is the third largest in all of France; held just outside of the phenomenal Reims Cathedral in the town center.
Like something out of a fairytale, you’ll roam row upon row of craft, food and wine stalls while the grand church gleams above head. Reims is also the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine country in France, so expect your fair share of bubbly during your visit.
One can drive into Reims from Paris in just under an hour and a half. I do, however, recommend rather taking the train from the Gare de l’Est as it gets you there in just forty minutes.
When: Late November to late December
Where: Reims, France
Train or car only
As you explore the Christmas markets of Paris, spare some time to explore the other attractions that the neighborhoods hold year round. A free guided walking tour is a gift the whole family can enjoy — book your slot as soon as possible!