Festive Magic At Paris Christmas Market In The Tuileries Gardens
A magical city at any time of year, Paris takes it to a whole new level at Christmas time. I first went a few years ago back when one of the main Christmas markets lined the Champs Elysees, but due to issues with landowner disagreements, the market has since been moved to the Tuileries Gardens that stretch out behind the Louvre. Regardless of where the market is, the one thing you can guarantee from the Paris one is that it will tick all the boxes for Christmas feels. Despite markets being traditionally German, Paris of course puts its own French spin on things. Here’s what you can expect from the Marche de Noel, or the Paris Christmas Market in it’s new location in the Tuileries Gardens.
Like many Christmas markets, Paris has all the features we are so used to seeing – cute little huts, plenty food and drink chalets, Christmas souvenirs, and a lot of crowds. The new location gave it a much more relaxed feel to it, as it wasn’t as cramped due to the extra space.
I didn’t feel as herded along by the crowds, I wasn’t tripping over people, and it wasn’t overrun by kids – there were plenty of adults and couples wandering around hand in hand soaking up the festive atmosphere too. I got there early evening, and it did get busier as it got dark.
The whole thing had a much more Parisian sophistication about it than any other market I’ve been to, and in addition to all the traditional features, there were a number of extras that made it unique to Paris.
As well as the German sausages, burgers, huge pans of paella, and roast chestnuts, there were lots of giant raclettes, French hot wine that smelled incredible in giant copper tanks, crepe stalls that had the longest queues of all, and even a macaroon stall with every flavour and colour imaginable.
The wine doesn’t just come in paper cups though, there are even pop up wine bars with tables and seats inside.
Walking past the pretzel and pastry chalet, you can’t miss the unmistakable bakery smell that fills the air, and of course there were the sweet treats – nougat, candy canes and pic n mix. In total there are over 20 gourmet chalets with cuisine from every region in France, so you’re spoiled for choice.
Like any Christmas market the food stalls dominate and are a big highlight, but they seemed much more varied especially towards the top end nearest the Louvre. Don’t rush in to your choice, instead grab a hot wine or mulled cider and so have a good walk around the full market before you choose what to munch on.
Personally I went for a chocolate crepe, made fresh in front of me and filled with Nutella. There are plenty seating areas for with food, as well as fire pits and barrels to stand around, but if you dip out of the market and into the Tuileries gardens you can enjoy whatever you’re eating with an unbeatable view of the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay and if you pick the right bench even the Eiffel Tower.
You will even find Santa Claus himself, along with a couple of elves and a photo opportunity by a sleigh and reindeer. I’ve never seen a ‘meet Santa’ at a market before but it’s a good idea, and didn’t cost the earth like I’ve seen some places charge in the Uk this Christmas.
Families were queueing for a photo and chat with Santa and his elves right in the middle of the market.
The ice rink can also be found within the market itself, which I think is an addition they’ve been able to include due to the extra space. I definitely didn’t see one on the Champs Elysees in the past. It breaks up the market stalls and who wouldn’t want to ice skate in the middle of Paris under the glittering lights? It’s open from 11am until after midnight.
The iconic big wheel that is usually found just outside the Tuileries gates on Place de la Concorde has been moved to inside the park, and sits alongside the Christmas market. You can enter from Rue de Rivoli half way up the market, which is the best point if a giant ferris wheel ride for views over Paris is what you’re looking for.
I know I said the market is very French sophistication, but I definitely don’t mean that it isn’t suitable for kids. It’s Christmas so of course it is! As well as getting to meet Santa, there are a few fairground rides for children including a train ride for the littler ones, a Christmas adventure fun house, and a Christmas Maison which looked like a Christmas equivalent of a ghost house.
And of course it wouldn’t be Paris without an ornate merry go round.
When it comes to shopping there are the stalls you would expect, winter knitwear, hand made jewellery, pottery, and a full range of Christmas decorations. It wouldn’t be a successful trip to a Christmas market without purchasing some sort of Christmas tat, so I went for a Paris snowglobe.
I really loved some of the baubles and tree decorations too. As you would imagine, in Paris there is also anything and everything shaped like the Eiffel Tower – like these bottles of oils.
Cost wise I would say it’s no more expensive than any other European Christmas market. I paid 9 euros for my mulled wine and crepe, 8 euros for my medium sized snow globe, and 10 euros for a box of macaroons (which obviously were worth every penny). I can’t comment on the rides for kids as I didn’t pay much attention, but I’m guessing they wouldn’t be all that cheap.
For payment, some of the stalls do accept card but I found this was mainly the food stalls. The rides and shopping stalls only accepted cash, but there are cash points in the market itself that don’t charge you for withdrawals.
And finally, my most favourite thing about the Paris Christmas market is the backdrop. Looking past the wooden chalets, or through the gaps in the trees you’re met with incredible views all around you. From Rue de Rivoli that runs directly alongside the park with it’s beautiful ornate archways, to the Arc de Triomphe at the far end, you’re met with something worth seeing.
At the opposite end of course the Louvre and pyramids can be found, as well as Musee d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower peeping over the trees.
One of my favourite Christmas markets and cities, never disappoints.
Other posts you might like:
Pin this post: