Christmas market and ultra-modern skyscrapers… not two terms that usually go together.
I was in Paris last week for work. Having a few spare hours, I hopped on the metro to La Défense, largely for nostalgic reasons. (La Défense, as you might know, is the largest purpose-built business district in Europe). Back in the 90s, when I worked as an EU-adviser for the government, I had a few meetings out here and was quite taken with the cool, futuristic architecture.
Christmas markets, on the other hand, brings to mind the past. The markets originated in the German-speaking parts of Europe. (Vienna was first, as early as 1294). Often, the markets are set up in the old parts of cities, harmonising beautifully with ancient fountains, medieval church spires, Hanseatic houses…
But not always!
Between La Grande Arche de la Défense and the slick, cutting edge glass-and-steel towers, I stumbled upon an entire Village de Noël, a Christmas Village – a very quirky Christmas market. As I strolled around the stalls, looking up at the brightly lit skyscrapers, the past and the future blended to make the present interestingly all-encompassing.
I never know what to get my mum for Christmas. Or my brother. But I managed to find quite a few unusual things here. This Christmas Market offers all sorts of unexpected surprises.
This Paris Christmas Market is a cornucopia of fun and festive finds –
– and food
Heaps of hams and sausages…
A giant pan for raclette to enjoy here and now:
- and honey to take home:
Cakes and sweets:
… and more sweets:
Say it with chocolate:
… and even more lovely, handmade chockies:
Paris hosts at least 10 different markets during Advent. The largest runs along Champs-Elyssés, from the Champs-Elyssés roundabout all the way down to Place de la Concorde. Another interesting one is at Trocadero, right next to the Eiffel Tower.
Many of the Christmas markets last until 2 January, so if you’re in or near Paris, there’s still time to get a few quirky Christmas presents and indulge in mulled wine, gourmet food, meats from Alsace, honey, wine, cognac. And chocolat.
Gorgeous photos Sophie!
I’ve heard amazing things about Christmas markets in Europe and am so very jealous you can visit. 🙂 You’ve made me hungry for honey toast now! Haha.
Thanks, Nicole 🙂
Europe is very pretty before Christmas, but come January, I’ll be very envious of you down there in cheerful, summery Oz.
I’m actually coming to your side of the world in January Sophie. 😉
Love the architecture of the building in the top photo…and then I saw all the lovely food photos too… Mmmmm. 🙂
Last year in late November, we had just returned from Europe. In most places, they were still setting up the Christmas markets but the one on the Champs-Elyssés was all set up and lit up beautifully as we walked back from dinner with some friends. I would loved to purchase everything in sight, but didn’t have much room in our suitcases. Maybe someday I’ll go back – and leave plenty of room in my suitcases this time!
Looks like a Christmas market to my taste – or perhaps it’s just the lovely photos.
Beautiful pictures of the Christmas Market. I only wish that we had markets like these in Malaysia. Merry Christmas in advance Sophie!
Love all the wonderful pictures and being in Paris is so Special – Enjoy your visits
Julia, Jan, ItalianNotes, [email protected], Eileen, Angela – Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Lovely, the more eclectic the better gifts you can find 🙂
For some reason I never thought there would be Christmas markets in Paris of all places. These photos are gorgeous and very tempting.
@Christian – I was a bit surprised, too. Christmas markets is something I connect with Germanic countries – and Eastern Europe. But this was cool, with a distinctive French flair.
I love the light scuptures! The skyscrapers in the background make the photos really pop! -David
Beautiful photos. I did not know Paris has Christmas Markets, because I associate these with Germany. The photo of the Christmas tree that consists of colourful balls looks exactly like the Christmas tree in Dublin’s O’Connell Street
Seems like a rainbow of selections and lights. So nice to see a different spin on a Christmas market in Europe. I myself would rather have a unique gift than a popular one. Looking like a nice stop for the holidays.
@Gypsynesters – Interesting combination, isn’t it – the old and the ultra-modern.
@Mivvy – I’d really like to see the one in Dublin – imagine there would be loads of beer 🙂
@Sherry – Agreed, much rather have the unusual and quirky.
By golly, you just inspired me. I’ll go to the big city and see if I can find some Christmas Market in Okinawa ! Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.
What a fun Christmas market! And, in Paris… why didn’t I know they were also in Paris. Makes total sense now, but I just didn’t realize it until I saw your title. Fun!
What fantastic pictures! You really brought life to the market.
These colors were so ridiculously festive and wonderful!! What a great holiday post!
how fun…and how delicious!! would love another trip back to paris, especially during the holidays!
I do love Christmas markets. Haven’t been to the one near La Défense — the contrast of new world and old world can certainly be striking. Looks like lots of goodies at that market!
@Mike, Jade, Jessica, Abby, Jen and Cathy – thanks for looking 🙂
Awesome set of photos, I love the colorful combinations and the cross of food to go with it! Looks like I need to find a similar market to buy some gifts real soon!
I am definitely missing out on this whole Christmas market in Europe thing. Looks wonderfully festive!
I love all the lights and would think it would be amazing just wandering around! What a great find 🙂
A beautiful collage of shots – fantastic way to showcase the market 🙂
@Mark, Stephanie, Debbie and Robin – Thanks 🙂
What a wonderful find…lovely photos!
Another lovely Christmas market – I think if I lived in Europe I would spend the entire month of December roaming from market to market.
Fabulous!! I love the local flair of each individual holiday market across Europe
@Nancie, Lisa and Andrea – Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hah! You beat me to it. Been meaning to visit this Christmas market and other ones in Paris. Looks rather interesting. Somebody observed that it feels much like the Christmas market in New York. Nice shots!
@Michael – Not so easy to combine hiking with one of the Paris Christmas markets, perhaps? A New York Christmas Market would be interesting to see. With the skyscrapers, I can see how that could be similar. But different as well. Like New York and Paris.
Lovely photos 🙂
lovely. I finally managed to make it to the Vienna christmas markets this weekend…but I was so sick with a cold that I could just walk around like a zombie…I couldn’t even eat the lovely food 🙁 So angry…
This post is very interesting..You really brought life to the market.Looks like I need to find a similar market to buy some gifts real soon!
Gee, these pics really give me the Christmas feeling!
What wonderful and colorful pictures! The food and all those trinkets will make me go broke but with a satisfied stomach. I would love to visit the European Christmas markets.
@Muza-chan – Thanks.
@Denise – Sorry to hear you were sick. Hope you’re feeling better. Next year, eh…?
@Michelle – thank you.
@Jim – Very cheerful market it was.
@Mary – My wallet was distinctly slimmer when I left.
Absolutely fantastic photos and I am so jealous. . .I can’t imagine going to Paris for work. . .afraid the hum-drum Pacific Northwest doesn’t match up to it.
I’m amazed at the number of Christmas markets in Europe and the selection offered – so much delicious looking food.
I love the first shot of the pink & white Christmas tree.
Beautiful photos! I haven’t been to La Defense, but every time I’ve gone up the Eifel Tower I am intrigued by it.
I love all those photos! Makes for a festively decorated blog!
I love all the lights. Interesting that most Christmas markets last so long in Paris. In Germany they’re usually over by Dec 23rd.
A beautifully colourful market post. A delight to see here!
Wow, what a rich selection of goodies! I’d be so dizzy, I wouldn’t be able to decide what to get but I’d enjoy looking.
@Leigh, Michael, Kymri, Laurel, Andrew and InsideJourneys – Thanks for your kind comments.
Wow! This is great place to do shopping I like going to Paris..I love sharing this photo..Thanks for sharing this to us..
Paris – my favorite city – envious for your travels there – bring me stories of her
Paris has some great markets but this looks like a particularly beautiful one! Happy Christmas!
Lovely photos of the best Christmas market in Paris (imo). Unfortunately I didn’t get there this year but will definitely make the trip again next year. Have a great New Year Sophie!
Such a lively place that. Wish I had time for a quick trip to Paris this time, too.
I’m completely smitten with all the photos you took of this wonderful sounding holiday market! You can almost get lost in all the vivid colors, yummy foods, and of course decadent chocolate 😉
Oh do I hope to visit Paris one day!
Thanks, Kayla. There’s really nowhere like Paris.
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