Shopping at the Parisian Christmas Markets
Christmas in Paris is truly a magical time of year. All the streets are adorned with sparkling lights, the scent of roasted chestnuts fills the air, and there’s an overall feeling of good cheer. And of course, one of the best ways to experience this season is to visit some of the beautiful Christmas markets in Paris!
Each Christmas market in Paris is a bit different, and they all offer something special. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or simply want to enjoy the Christmas spirit in the city, there’s something at the marché Noël for you. So here’s a guide for what to buy at the Christmas markets in Paris this year!
The Paris Christmas markets are filled to the brim with stalls selling everything from winter hats and scarves to homemade leather-bound books and decadent French sweets. Traditional French sweet treats are some of the best things you can buy at the Marché de Noël. Homemade chocolates, macarons, nougat, and candied fruits are all on offer. They make a great gift idea, but don’t forget to sample some yourself!
In my opinion, one of the best markets for sweets is the Tuileries Christmas market. Nearly 100 stalls line the immense garden, and lots of them feature traditional French food and sweets. There’s also carnival rides, an ice skating rink, and occasional visits from Père Noël.
Marché noël tuileries – jardin des tuileries
open Mid november- end december
Specialty French Food
You know about the excellent array of sweets offered at the markets, but they are just as good (if not better) for savory food shopping too! The Paris Christmas markets are one of the best places to stock up on specialty French food. If you’re looking to buy some pâté, foie gras, cheese, charcuterie or tinned goods, you’ll find them at the Christmas market.
Of course, each region and even city in France has their own specialties and delicacies; foie gras de Périgord, Comté cheese from Jura, tinned sardines from Marseille, etc. Every dish has some history, so don’t be afraid to ask the vendors for more information – they’re usually really happy to teach you about their product and its origins.
And if you want to bring some of the goods home for friends and family, simply ask them to pack your food for travel. Most vendors anticipate foreign customers and offer vacuum sealing and protective packaging for international flights/customs.
If you’re still wondering what to buy at the Christmas markets in Paris, why not Christmas decorations? It’s so easy to bring some holiday cheer to your home with French Christmas ornaments!
I’ve seen an array of beautiful Christmas ornaments and decorations at all of the Paris Christmas markets. So if you’re looking for a gift idea, or just want to take home a piece of Paris, some traditional ornaments are the perfect solution.
Christmas ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and this is one thing you can buy at all the Paris Christmas markets! My personal favorites are the handmade glass ornaments which come in traditional Paris designs, for example the Eiffel tower, a Parisian ice skating rink, or simply a cup of hot chocolate. You’ll also find delicate lace ornaments (traditional ones from France’s Alsace region) as well as some wooden carved ones.
Arts and Crafts
Artisanal products are still very much popular in France and the Paris Christmas markets are no exception! Making arts and crafts by hand is a source of pride in France, and many people still practice ancient techniques to create their wares.
At the Christmas markets near Notre-Dame, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Canopée des Halles, Abbesses, and of course Tuileries, you’ll find quite the assortment of artisanal products. Treasure hunt for jewelry, candles, leather-bound books, wooden utensils and housewares, and even handmade children’s toys.
In my opinion, the markets with the largest assortment of arts and crafts are Saint-Germain-des-Prés and Abbesses in Montmartre. While both of these markets are smaller than Tuileries or Les Halles, they are less crowded and seem to focus more on arts and crafts than the others.
marché noël saint-germain-des-prés – boulevard saint-germain (just next to the church)
open mid november – end december
No matter which Parisian Christmas market you head to, you’re sure to find some cozy winter clothes and accessories for sale. Hand knit wool hats, cashmere scarves and sweaters, and leather gloves abound at various stalls hawking cold-weather gear.
There’s really a huge variety of colors, patterns, textures and styles between vendors and markets, so don’t be afraid to shop around to find the best ones! Personally, I’ve found that the Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Tuileries and Canopée des Halles markets are the best for winter clothes.
Paris is expecting an especially cold winter this year, so warm clothes are definitely a must. And if you plan on joining one of our guided walking tours, make sure to bundle up! Our knowledgeable guides will show you the best Paris has to offer, no matter the weather.
canopée des halles market – forum des halles
metro: les halles
open mid november – end december
A trip to the Paris Christmas markets just isn’t complete without trying some street food! This is one of my favorite aspects of visiting the Marché de Noël and I think it will be one of yours, too.
Sweet, savory and everything in between is on offer. Wander between the stalls and follow your nose to the most tantalizing scents wafting over the crowds. In terms of sweets, hot roasted chestnuts, fresh crêpes dosed with Nutella, gourmet chocolates and of course classic churros are all tempting.
On the savory side, options are nearly limitless, and Parisians look forward to indulging in hearty cold weather dishes. Fondue, raclette, aligot, sauerkraut and tartiflette can all be found in addition to international favorites like French onion soup. Street food can be found in all of the Christmas markets in Paris, though generally the larger the market, the better the selection.
And don’t forget to try a cup of vin chaud, or hot spiced wine. It’s a tradition for Christmastime, and it will help warm you up as you shop late into the night.
marché noël abbesses – place des abbesses
open late november – end december
So now you have some ideas for what to buy at the Christmas markets in Paris, as well as where to find them.
Hope to see you soon in Paris!