Paris Christmas Markets 2023: The Good, Bad & Ugly

parisian christmas market with renaissance-style building lit up in blue with carousel outside

Paris is gorgeous year-round, but it’s quite special at Christmas when lots of Parisian Christmas markets appear all over the city. Yet some are overrated.

I visited a Paris Christmas market in 2021 and really enjoyed it. So I came back in 2022 on a mission to see more of the Parisian Christmas markets. Before I arrived in Paris, did some research into the different markets that exist – then I set about to visit as many as I could all over the city. But I had some surprises along the way: some didn’t actually exist (!) and some didn’t match my expectations at all…

So to help you get the best out of the Paris Christmas Markets in 2023, I’ve written this article based on my first-hand experience from Christmas 2022 (the good, the bad & the ugly). And I’ve combined that experience with the information that’s been released about the markets in 2023, with links to the official websites for the latest information (where I’ve been able to find them).

So if that all sounds fair, read on for my take on the best Christmas Markets in Paris. I’ll share my favourite three markets; I’ll reveal the one I HATED and I’ll let you know the ones that I discovered were not even open…

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. These are links to products or experiences I recommend and if you were to buy something after clicking on them, I might earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Any earnings go towards the upkeep of this blog, which I appreciate.

Parisian Christmas Markets – Overview & FAQs

Are There Any Christmas Markets In Paris?

Yes, lots! They’re known as Marché de Noël in France.

Each year there are around 10 main Parisian Christmas Markets. There can also be smaller neighbourhood Christmas-market-type stalls that pop up around the city and also smaller Christmas events that only last a day or two.

At good Parisian Christmas Markets, you should get four things.

Firstly, chalet-style stalls selling crafts or gifts. Second, there should be hot food available (and it’s France, so of course, there will be some indulgent options), plus hot drinks and alcohol, including vin chaud, which is warm wine mulled with spices. Third, ideally, there will be some form of activity/entertainment as well. And finally, there should be festive lights and decorations.

And the best Christmas Markets in Paris create a magical, festive atmosphere – making them somewhere you want to be, not just somewhere to buy things.

Oh, and finally, they should be free to enter, which all the Paris Christmas Markets I have visited are.

What Date Do The Christmas Markets Start In Paris?

It varies by market and the Paris Christmas Markets 2023 dates have not all been confirmed yet, but there are markets open from 16 November 2023 to late 7 January 2024. I’ve included the 2023 dates for each specific market, where they’re available, in my run-down below.

Is Paris At Christmas Worth It?

Oh yes! I love Paris in Winter generally and at Christmas time, the city literally sparkles. Between the festive Christmas Markets and the stunning light displays, Paris does Christmas really well.

spectacular blue and green tree in the middle of an ornate atrium with a blue glass dome ceiling
Galeries Lafayette Christmas display

As well as running through the Parisian Christmas markets, at the end of this post, I’ve included some of the places you can see the best Paris Christmas light displays.

The Three Best Christmas Markets In Paris

OK, let’s get into it.

Some people ask What Are The Best Christmas Markets In Paris? I’ll give you my subjective opinion, having visited all the main ones (and some of the smaller ones).

Three Parisian Christmas Markets stand out for me as the best – each for slightly different reasons.

1. Most Magical: Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market – Paris Enchantée

Called Paris Enchantée, the Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market (or Christmas Village) takes place in front of Paris’s impressive City Hall.

Why Visit Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market?

I think the main appeal of this Paris Christmas Market is how picturesque and atmospheric it is.

The setting is really spectacular: it’s right in front of the Chateau-like Hôtel de Ville, which gets lit up in colourful lights and white stars.

The Christmas Market itself contains many pretty Christmas trees, all sparkling with lights. Between the twinkly lights and the music playing, after dark it really does feel like a magical Christmas playground. I loved it here.

renaissance-style building lit up in blue with christmas trees and white star lights
Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

For children, there’s an attractive old-fashioned carousel. It’s actually a permanent fixture in the square, but it gets enveloped by the Christmas Village at Christmas time. There’s also a climbing wall and Santa comes to meet children on certain days (last year it was Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays).   

You might notice several Christmas dioramas around the perimeter: Christmassy scenes to view as you walk around. And there are also lots of spots for selfies, for those who want a festive photo of themselves.

Crafts / Gifts

All Paris Christmas Market stalls and vendors will vary year by year, but to give you a flavour, the stalls at Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market are probably the classiest of all I saw in Paris. Among the pretty stalls, you could buy accessories, jewellery, soap, souvenirs and purses.

Food & Drink

Again, the options are quite high-end here: there’s an oyster bar! I also saw tartine, crêpes, bretzels (pretzels), gaufres (waffles), soup, kebabs and banana bread on sale. For drinks, there are local beers, hot chocolate and, of course, vin chaud.

market stall signs for hot and cold drinks
oyster market stall at a christmas market in paris
Oyster bar at Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market

Where Is Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market?

It is on the square directly in front of Hôtel de Ville: Parvis de l’Hôtel de Ville.

The nearest Metro station is Hôtel de Ville.

When Is It Open?

In 2023, the Hôtel de Ville Christmas Village is open from Tuesday 28 November to Saturday 31 December 2023 and it has a theme around the Paris 2024 Olympics.

parisian christmas market with renaissance-style building lit up in blue with carousel outside
Hôtel de Ville Christmas Market, Paris

What Else Is There To Do Near Hôtel De Ville Christmas Market?

You’re in the chic Le Marais area here, so there are some things to see including the gothic Tour Saint-Jacques, the inside-out Pompidou Centre, which is an art gallery, and Rue des Rosiers, which is known for its tasty falafel.

A little further away is the aristocratic Place des Vosges and the Paris history museum, Musée Carnavalet.

2. The Most Traditional: Notre Dame Christmas Market, Paris

Notre Dame Christmas Market is on the small side – but good things come in small doses and it has a little of something for both adults and children.

And the reason it is in the top three Parisian Christmas Markets, in my opinion, is that it is traditional and artisanal in nature. And this creates a really festive, cosy atmosphere.

pretty entrance to a parisian christmas market with a sign saying marche de noel
Notre Dame Christmas Market

Why Visit Notre Dame Christmas Market?

The strapline for Notre Dame Christmas Market is Charme et Tradition– and that is a great summary for the vibe.

There are sparkly lights, but the décor theme is overall slightly less neon than in other markets in Paris. The stalls are actually white tents dressed in red and white and there is a Christmas display in the centre of the stalls, featuring traditional characters like reindeer.

And what’s on offer in the market is clearly artisanal, rather than mass-produced – both the food and the crafts.

christmas display in the centre of a small christmas market in paris
Notre Dame Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At Notre Dame Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

There are musical performers. When I visited, there was a guy playing music on an old-fashioned barrel organ, and after that, a woman took a turn singing. It all seemed old-school French to me.

Then a little later, Santa turned up and was holding court with some children kids – it was so sweet to see.

Christmas market with Notre Dame caythedral in the background and santa meeting people
Bad photo (sorry!) of Santa at the Notre Dame Christmas Market, with the cathedral behind
Crafts / Gifts

The crafts on sale at the Notre Dame Christmas Market are artisanal, high quality and, I believe, all made in France.  I saw attractive baubles, jewellery, knitwear, bags, scarfs, gilt / lacquer boxes, trinkets, toys, socks, soaps and ceramics.

christmas market stall selling jewellery
Food & Drink

Reflecting that traditional theme, the food here feels very authentic and includes some regional specialities including roast chestnuts, foie gras, pretzels, sausages, cured meats, cheeses, tapenade and preserves.

I also saw dried fruit and canelés, which were new to me so I tried one. Turns out these sticky, chewy cakes are a traditional Bordeaux speciality – and they’re very tasty.

For drinks, there was hot chocolate and vin chaud.

sausages and meat products on sale in a market stall

Where Is Notre Dame Christmas Market?

This Paris Christmas Market is held in Square René Viviani, which is actually just across the Seine from the Notre-Dame Cathedral, on the left bank.

The nearest Metro station is Saint-Michel Notre-Dame.

When Is It Open?

Notre Dame Christmas Market 2023 dates have been confirmed. This Paris Christmas market will be open from Friday 8 December to Sunday 24 December 2023.

There is a website for the Notre Dame Christmas Market, so you can find out more details there.

cake, cup of hot chocolate and a view of quaint market stalls at a christmas market
Enjoying my canelé and hot chocolate at Notre Dame Christmas Market

What Else Is There To Do Near Notre Dame Christmas Market?

Obviously, you have the world-famous Cathedral of Notre-Dame just across a bridge, and nearby on Île de la Cité, there’s the glorious gothic church Sainte-Chapelle and also the Conciergerie, once a medieval prison.

And the market itself is in the Latin Quarter. Very close by is the pretty bookshop Shakespeare & Company, and the quaint café Odette. Further into the Latin Quarter, you can find the tall, impressive church Pantheon, university buildings for the Sorbonne, the Grande Mosque of Paris, a large botanical garden called Jardin des Plantes and the market street Rue Mouffetarde.

3. Most Community-Centred: Montmartre Christmas Market, Paris

My third favourite Christmas market in Paris is the Montmartre Christmas Market, also known as the Abbesses Christmas Market. It is another small but very festive market that fits in well with the village feel of Montmartre.

Why Visit Montmartre Christmas Market?

Compared to some of the larger Christmas Markets in Paris, this one feels calm. It’s pretty small: just a circle of stalls around a carousel in the middle of a small square. But it has an intimate feel that you don’t get in the larger Paris Christmas Markets, like Tuileries or La Défense.

And it’s not hectic, like some of the markets that are on busy streets.

If you are exploring Montmartre in the afternoon (and I have a self-guided walking tour of Montmartre which might help you do that), this Christmas Market would be the perfect end to the day.

christmas market with a carousel and wooden stalls
Montmartre Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At Montmartre Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

The children’s carousel in the middle of the market is the only proper activity here, other than eating, drinking or shopping.

Crafts / Gifts

There are various things you could buy as gifts, including jewellery, leather goods, knitwear, clothes and some ceramics.

christmas market stall selling jewellery
Montmartre Christmas Market stalls
Food & Drink

Among the food on sale are crêpes, hot dogs, pretzels, sweets, churros, garlicky snails, hot dogs, raclette and tartiflette.  

market stall selling snails in garlic butter
Not my cup of tea, but you can get garlic snails at Montmartre Christmas Market

The latter one was a new one for me, so I tried it. Tartiflette is a hot, comforting dish of potatoes, cream, onions and bacon – perfect comfort food for a cold December evening. I found a seat on a bench just outside the market to eat my giant portion.

There’s also vin chaud on sale – and champagne. The stall for champagne was crowded with customers.

christmas market stall with a crowd of people around it
The champagne stall at Montmartre Christmas Market was the busiest one 🙂

Heads up: some of the stalls here didn’t take payment cards when I went (none of the vin chaud stalls did), so it’s a good idea to bring some cash. 

Where Is Montmartre Christmas Market?

It is held in Place des Abbesses, in the 18th arrondissement.

The nearest Metro station is Abbesses – and as you exit the Metro station (one of only two of the original Art Nouveau designs left in the city), you’ll merge right into the Christmas Market.

Tip: At Abbesses Metro station, there is a choice of lifts and stairs to take you out of the station. But before you opt for the stairs, know the station is very deep and there are 176 steps! It’s like climbing a 10-storey building. Unless you’re looking for a workout, or you feel you need to work up an appetite for your Christmas Market food, take the lift.

metro sttaion lit up by the christmas market right next to it
Abbesses Metro opens right into the Montmartre Christmas Market

When Is It Open?

I’ve seen Montmartre Christmas Market 2023 dates given as Friday 24 November to Sunday 7 January 2024.

What Else Is There To Do Near Montmartre Christmas Market?

Montmartre is popular for a reason: it was at the centre of bohemian life and was a hang-out of artists and writers in the Belle Epoque – and of course, we’ve all heard of the Moulin Rouge just down the hill in Pigalle. It has a pretty village-like feel in parts, with many cute cafes and pretty cobbled lanes.

And of course, there’s the Sacre-Coeur, one of the most recognisable and elegant churches in Paris – with a nice viewpoint over the city.

Follow my self-guided walking tour of Montmartre to see all the main sights and some quieter, off-the-beaten-path corners, too.

I’ve done this route in winter a couple of times – it’s not quite as beautiful as during Springtime in Paris, but it is quieter in Winter.

Good Parisian Christmas Markets

Those were my top three best Paris Christmas Markets, but there were some others that I also liked.

The next three I’ll run through might not be the best Christmas Markets in Paris, but they are worth visiting, in my opinion.

4. The Most Extra: Tuileries Christmas Market, Paris – La Magie de Noël

Named La Magie de Noël, the Tuileries Christmas Market in Paris feels like the biggest and most elaborate. It occupies a large plot of Tuileries Gardens and contains lots of stalls and lots of fairground rides.

The first time I visited in December 2021, I really enjoyed the foodie area, nearest the Louvre. When I came back in December 2022, I realised how much the previous year had been muted by Covid.

In 2022, the crowds were out in full – and the market was really busy! I decided to walk from one end to the other, and it was hard work in the crowds. It was especially awkward because I’d decided to buy a large beaker of vin chaud for the walk. With people walking in all directions, I had to be very careful to avoid knocking hot wine all over myself (or somebody else).

fairground rides, christmas trees and nutcracker figure at a christmas market in paris
La Magie de Noël: Tuileries Christmas Market

Why Visit Tuileries Christmas Market?

The food is one good reason to visit. The first time I visited Tuileries Christmas Market, I largely stuck to the wide variety of hot food on offer, and also the variety of flavours of vin chaud.

But perhaps the dominant reason to visit is for the high-energy fairground rides, which will appeal to kids and big kids (i.e. adults) alike.

There’s also plenty of Christmassy décor – some gaudy, like a model of the Eiffel Tower made of lights; and some traditional, like the nutcracker figures dotted around. And there are lots of Christmas trees, naturally.

And the location, with the market overlooked by the grand Haussmann buildings of Rue de Rivoli and the palatial Louvre buildings, feels pretty special.

However, if you dislike large groups of people, this one might not be the best fit for you – unless you come early mid-week when you have the least chance of big crowds. And the Louvre end of the market is slightly less busy than the Place de la Concorde end, in my experience.  

red beaker saying La Magie de Noël aux Tuileries at a christmas market
I appreciated the size of vin chaud beakers at Tuileries Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At Tuileries Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

There are so many rides and fairground attractions that it would be impossible to try them all. There is a carousel and some sweet, slow rides that little children might enjoy. There are also far more daring rides for bigger kids and adults – you know, the kind that throws you around in the air.

There are the kinds of games where you can win soft toys; dodgem cars; bungee-trampoline things and even a water game where you bounce around on water in an inflatable ball. And, like many major city Christmas Markets, in the middle of the market is an ice skating rink.

But perhaps the show-stopper is the large Ferris wheel that lights up the night and can be seen from way down Rue de Rivoli.  

Crafts / Gifts

The craft & gift stalls seem to be congregated around the middle of the market. There are gifts you can buy including Christmas decorations, scarves, Russian dolls, jewellery, wood carvings, ceramic pots, bags, leather goods, candles etc.

I don’t think what’s on offer here is quite as unique as those you can find at Notre Dame Christmas Market, but there are a lot of options.

Food & Drink

There’s so much food & drink available at Tuileries Christmas Market – but you might have to queue for it. There seems to be a concentration of food places at the Louvre end of the market.

Take your pick from waffles, hot dogs, hot chestnuts, raclette (which smells amazing!), hot sandwiches, tartiflette, chips (fries / frites), burgers, pasta, paella and escargot.

There are also the kind of foods to buy and takeaway: cheeses, pate, baked goods, honey etc.

Sweet treats include doughnuts, dough balls, churros, chocolate kebabs, chocolate apples, tete de chocolate (chocolate-covered marshmallows) and piles of tempting macarons.

And there’s plenty of beer, vin chaud and even a Pommery champagne tent, shaped like an igloo.

Where Is Tuileries Christmas Market?

It takes place along the north side of Jardin des Tuileries, the most central park in Paris. It has a long narrow plot that borders Rue de Rivoli and goes from near Place de La Concorde all the way to the Louvre. 

The nearest Metro station is Tuileries.

christmas market stalls with fancy buildings behind them
Tuileries Christmas Market is close to the Louvre (building on the right) and Hotel Regina Louvre (lit building on the left)

When Is It Open?

I have seen 2023 dates confirmed in a few places: La Magie de Noël at Tuileries will be open from Saturday 18 November 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024.

What Else Is There To Do Near Tuileries Christmas Market?

You’re so close to the Louvre that it might make sense to explore than immense museum before, ending with some festive fun at La Magie de Noël.

Nearby, you also have the grand Place Vendôme and Palais-Royal Garden, plus, a little further, some of the best covered passages in Paris, including Galerie Vivienne and Passage Choiseul.

Across the Seine, there’s another great art gallery: Musée d’Orsay.

And if you wanted to see the Seine itself, the Louvre is one of the Batobus Paris stops – so you could jump on that hop-on-hop-off river bus to do some Seine sightseeing.

5. Best Shopping: La Défense Christmas Market, Paris – Xmas La Défense

I said earlier that Tuileries feels like the biggest Christmas Market in Paris – but La Défense claims to be the largest Christmas market in Île-de-France, which contains the whole metropolitan Paris area.

Certainly, it’s the Paris Christmas Market with the most choice of stalls – nearly 180 of them!

beaker of mulled wine, christmas market and the silhouette of a modern arched building
Xmas La Défense: La Défense Christmas Market

Why Visit La Défense Christmas Market?

Of all the Paris Christmas Markets, this is best for shopping – that’s mainly for the breadth of choice. There might be more special, artisanal options at Notre Dame, but there’s more to choose from at La Défense Christmas Market.

And that’s probably the main draw for visitors.

Another appealing factor is its location: on the esplanade right in front of the dramatic Grand Arche de la Défense and surrounded by the other modern skyscrapers in this area. It’s quite a different, more contemporary feel to the Christmas Markets in central Paris.

large christmas market with lights and rows of stalls
La Défense Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At La Défense Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

Apparently, Santa makes visits to La Défense, and I read they have music and DJs on some evenings. There wasn’t too much when I was there, though.

On my visit, the main attraction, other than browsing the many market stalls, seemed to be light installations that were cute selfie spots.  

beaker of vin chaud and a light installation in the shape of a christmas gift
Light installations provided selfie spots around La Défense Christmas Market
Crafts / Gifts

There are plenty of foodie gifts, including cheeses, meats, pates, macarons, artisanal chocolates and wine.

I liked the variety of innovative food products from interesting makers here. I bought a bottle of an aperitif from an independent French producer. I gave it to a friend as a gift for Christmas – and they said it was lovely.

Beyond food, the gift items include jewellery, scarfs, belts, cosmetics, ceramics and wooden instruments.

Food & Drink

The food options were similar to other markets. In the food square, there are lots of options including a mix of international street food, including falafel and poutine.

There are also traditional French options including Alsatian dishes like Choucroute (sauerkraut & meat), Poelée Marcaire (fried cheese, I believe) and Tarte Flambée. There’s also French onion soup, tartiflette, raclette, hot sandwiches and escargot.

And of course, there are sweet treats like cookies, churros and brownies. For drinks, there’s vin chaud, hot cider, hot punch and hot chocolate.

There are eating areas where you can stand to eat with tall tables to rest your cups and plates on. It’s not very French to stand and eat outside, but you have to go with the flow, I guess! There’s also a restaurant in a marquee if you prefer to have cover and a seat.

Where Is La Défense Christmas Market?

Technically, La Défense is not in Paris: it’s just outside the boundary of the City of Paris. But it is part of the Metropolitan Paris area and it’s on the Metro network, so I think it counts as one of the Parisian Christmas Markets.

The market takes place on Parvis de La Défense, the wide open paved area directly in front of the Grand Arch de La Défense (which is a really cool building, in my opinion).

The nearest Metro station is La Défense, and you’ll see the market once you come out of the station.

large christmas market in an esplanade surrounded by tall modern buildings
Parvis de La Défense

When Is It Open?

Paris La Défense Christmas Market 2023 dates have been confirmed: Thursday November 16 to Wednesday 17 December, 2023.

For more info and opening times, check the Xmas Paris La Défense website.

What Else Is There To Do Near La Défense Christmas Market?

Well, you can admire the contemporary architecture of the La Défense area. I really like the Grande Arche, which acts as a modern counterpart to the Arc De Triomphe and lines up with it at the other end of Avenue de Charles de Gaulle / Avenue de la Grande Armée.

large cuboid building with a hole in the middle
La Grande Arche de la Défense

And, actually, I went to the cinema here before exploring the Christmas Market. It’s something I’ve done a few times when travelling solo in Paris and you can often find movies in English at Parisian cinemas – just look for ‘VOST’ on the posters and listings.

6. Best For Foodies: Alsatian Christmas Market, Paris

Le Marché de Noël en Alsace a Paris is the only one of the Parisian Christmas Markets in the tradition of the Alsace region. This eastern part of France shares some cultural characteristics with neighbouring Germany.

christmassy stalls selling food
Alsatian Christmas Market

Why Visit The Alsatian Christmas Market?

This Christmas Market is all about food – so it’s a great place to stock up on gourmet goodies ahead of Christmas.

chilled food stall with meat pies and pretzels

What Is There To Do At The Alsatian Christmas Market?

There was no entertainment or activities when I was there – it was all about the stalls selling a range of Christmas foods and treats. I didn’t see any food to eat there, other than some pretzels – it is mainly tasty treats to be bought and taken away.

There were prime meats, cheeses, pies, pates, preserves, biscuits and spirits.

I think there were a couple of craft stalls amongst the food & drinks, which sold Christmas decorations, candles and mugs.

Where Is The Alsatian Christmas Market?

It takes place in a tent on the forecourt outside Gare de L’Est train station, on/near Place du 11 Novembre 1918.

Like the other Parisian Christmas Markets, there was no entry charge, but I did have my bag checked by security on the way in.

The nearest Metro station is Gare de L’Est.

marquee wuth signs for an alsatian Christmas Market in Paris
Alsatian Christmas Market outside Gare de L’Est

When Is It Open?

The 2023 Alsatian Christmas Market in Paris will take place from Friday 1st December to Sunday 17th December 2023.

The Alsatian Market has a Facebook page, if you want more info.

What Else Is There To Do Near The Alsatian Christmas Market In Paris?

I actually visited the Alsatian Market right after I arrived in Paris from London, as Gare du Nord, where my train arrived, is very close.

I don’t love the area around Gare de L’Est, to be honest… But one nearby thing you could do is check out Canal Saint-Martin, which isn’t too far away.

Other Paris Christmas Markets

OK, so the next two Parisian Christmas Markets are fine. If I was in the area in Christmas 2023, I’d check them out. However, based on my experience last year, I wouldn’t make a journey to visit them again.

The reason is that they lacked something special or unique. They both had similar items on sale to each other and there wasn’t as much festive atmosphere as in the other Christmas Markets in Paris.

And the third one in this section I pretty much HATED. I would actively avoid it altogether – it was just too hectic and not very special.

7. Saint-Germain Christmas Market, Paris

I thought I would like this one more than I did – and maybe my expectations were too high. It’s not that it’s bad – it was fine. But it lacked a special, magical vibe.

The stalls are along a street pavement, so there isn’t a lot of room for browsing, as pedestrians are coming past all the time. Sometimes it felt a bit awkward for that reason.

market stalls and lit christmas trees
Crafts

Why Visit Saint-Germain Christmas Market?

I would visit again if I was already in the area, but I can’t think of a killer reason to travel far to check this Paris Christmas Market out.

What Is There To Do At Saint-Germain Christmas Market?

I didn’t see any activities or entertainment on my visit.

Food & Drink

There are pretzels, raclette, crepes, churros, truffles, oysters and vin chaud.

market stall selling pretzels
Crafts / Gifts

These don’t feel that special or high quality, overall. I saw scarves, leather bags, jewellery, wooden games for kids, socks, hats & Paris souvenir t-shirts (some of which I’d already seen at Saint-Michel Christmas Market). 

In addition, there were some foodie-type gifts, like cheeses, spices, foie gras, honey and gin.

Where Is Saint-Germain Christmas Market?

It takes place along the north side of Boulevard Saint-Germain, starting at the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés and carrying on eastwards for a little while.

The nearest Metro station is Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

church at night with christmas market stalls
Saint-Germain Christmas Market is next to the Church of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

When Is It Open?

The Saint-Germain Christmas Village 2023 dates have been confirmed as Saturday 25 November to Monday 1st January 2024.

There is a Saint-Germain community website which has more details about the vendors.

What Else Is There To Do Near Saint-Germain Christmas Market?

Saint-Germain-des-Prés is associated with intellectualism in Paris, particularly in the 1950s and 60s, so maybe check out the iconic cafes where philosophers Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir used to hand out: Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore.  

There are a couple of impressive churches: Église de Saint-Germain-des-Prés dates from the 11th century, is the oldest church in Paris and several French kings are buried here. And Église Saint-Sulpice is a 17th century church with adorably uneven towers.

Not too far away, you have Bon Marché, one of the grand old Parisian department stores, which might have some nice décor in its impressive atrium. And Luxembourg Gardens isn’t too far, though it will look a little bare in winter.

department store atrium with pink and gold globes hanging for christmas
Le Bon Marché at Christmas

8. Saint-Michel Christmas Market, Paris

This is another of the smaller Parisian Christmas Markets, but it also lacked atmosphere – and seemed to me to be mainly about selling products, rather than creating a Christmassy experience.

christmas market on a square in front of a large fountain
Saint-Michel Christmas Market

Why Visit Saint-Michel Christmas Market?

Hmmm, I can’t think of a specific reason to make a special visit here.

As with Saint-Germain, if you are already in the area, why not have a look around? In fact, it’s not far from the Notre-Dame Christmas Market, so you could pop your head in here before or after visiting that market if you are curious.

What Is There To Do At Saint-Michel Christmas Market?

Activities / Entertainment

None that I saw.

Food & Drink

This seemed fairly standard: macarons, waffles, sweets and vin chaud.

christmas market stalls selling nougat
Crafts / Gift

There are some quality items on sale, but also some fairly tacky stuff – so it feels a bit like a potluck in terms of your chances to find something good.

There’s quite a lot of jewellery here, plus scarfs, Russian dolls, wooden instruments and clockwork toys. To me, a lot felt similar to what I saw at Saint-Germain, Tuileries or La Defense.

There are also souvenir-type t-shirts and berets, which I find to be quite tacky. They’re so cliché and you can get them at all the big tourist sites already. They feel too ordinary for a Christmas market.

In terms of food gifts, there are cheeses, special honey (I bought one of these), foie gras and spices.

Where Is Saint-Michel Christmas Market?

Place Saint-Michel, which is known for its large fountain, Fontaine Saint-Michel.

The nearest Metro station is Saint-Michel Notre-Dame.

When Is It Open?

I’ve seen the Saint Michel Christmas Market 2023 dates listed as Monday 27 November 2023 to Wednesday 3 January 2024.

What Else Is There To Do Near Saint-Michel Christmas Market?

Similar to Notre-Dame Christmas Market: you could schedule a visit here after exploring the Latin Quarter or Île de la Cité.

9. Eiffel Tower Christmas Market, Paris

I hated this Paris Christmas Market! It was just. So. Hectic.

You see, the Eiffel Tower is popular, right? It’s famous, it’s visible all over the city and it attracts a lot of visitors. And where there are tourists, there are people selling souvenirs etc in the street. They lay their key chains, gadgets etc. on the pavement and it can feel like an obstacle course on the streets around the Eiffel Tower.

This is true even in December, and even at night.

So if you add Christmas Market stalls to the mix, the streets are even more congested and chaotic. There’s not enough space on the pavement for all the people. People were walking in the street as cars were going by – it was a mess.

busy christmas market with stalls and lots of people
Eiffel Tower Christmas Market: too frenetic for me

Why Visit The Eiffel Tower Christmas Market?

I cannot think of a reason. The view of the Eiffel Tower is great, but there are plenty of better places to see it.

Unless they change the location, I will be avoiding this Paris Christmas Market in future.

christmas market stalls with the eiffel tower lit up behind them
Eiffel Tower Christmas Market

What Is There To Do At The Eiffel Tower Christmas Market?

The stalls all looked pretty standard to me. But I confess I found it so stressful to be there, I didn’t do a full audit. Sorry!

Where Is The Eiffel Tower Christmas Market?

It’s on the street partially on Pont d’Iéna and going around the corner onto the pavement on Quai Jacques Chirac (Quai Branly), close to the Eiffel Tower. It’s a terrible location.

busy christmas market stalls
Eiffel Tower Christmas Market – the bit that’s away from the road

I had read it was located on Champs de Mars (and I went looking for it there), but they must have changed it. Champ de Mars would be a much better location, in my opinion.

The nearest Metro station is Bir Hakeim or Champ de Mars Eiffel Tower.

When Is It Open?

I’ve seen notices which say the Christmas village at the Eiffel Tower is open from Tuesday 19 December 2023 to Tuesday 9 January 2024.

eiffel tower lit up in yellow lights
Eiffel Tower from Champ des Mars

What Else Is There To Do Near The Eiffel Tower Christmas Market?

Obviously, you could go up the Eiffel Tower itself, which is hard to resist, especially if it’s your first time in Paris. However, having done this in winter myself, be prepared for a cold wind at the top!

Across the river, you have Trocadéro, which has a stunning view of the tower. And some Seine River cruises depart from near the Eiffel Tower, which is one of the classic romantic things to do in Paris.

And the Batobus, that hop-on hop-off river bus I mentioned earlier, also has a stop here.  

 

What About These Parisian Christmas Markets?

If you’ve heard of the Paris Christmas Markets below and wonder why I haven’t mentioned them, well, there’s a reason…

Les Halles Christmas Market

I had read several blogs and websites telling me there was a Christmas Market at Les Halles, so imagine my surprise last year when I found it didn’t exist!

There was a big fake Christmas tree and a kid’s roller rink ride, but absolutely no Christmas Market. Disappointing…

Bastille Christmas Market

Another of the Parisian Christmas Markets that I had read about was said to take place in Place de la Bastille throughout December. But there was no sign of it when I tried to visit.

Maybe the location or dates changed, I don’t know…

Bercy Village Christmas Market

Again, I’d read there was a Christmas Market at Bercy Village shopping centre – but there was no market. All I found were light displays. The crêpe stand outside was selling vin chaud, but it wasn’t an actual Christmas Market.

Rue Caumartin

I’d seen this spot next to Printemps department store in lists of Christmas Markets in Paris, and it was near to where I was staying, so I thought I’d go there on my first night to get dinner.

When I got there around 7 pm, I found only five food stalls, which were closing up. So no vin chaud nor hot food for me.

small number of market stalls and christmas lights on a shopping street
Rue Caumartin ‘Christmas Market’: nothing to make a special visit for

Champs-Élysées Christmas Market

My understanding is that the Tuileries Christmas Market was previously on Champs-Élysées and moved to a new location in Jardin des Tuileries. So if you’re looking for a Champs-Élysées Christmas Market, it’s now the Tuileries one.

Louvre Christmas Market

Same for the Louvre Christmas Market – the only Christmas Market near the Louvre is the Tuileries one.

Other Festive Things To Do In Paris At Christmastime

Parisian Christmas Markets are not the only festive attraction in Paris in December…

Street Light Displays

Paris does Christmas lights pretty well! While you’re walking in between Paris Christmas Markets, try to find some of the lovely external light displays around the city.

Avenue des Champs-Élysées is well known for lighting up the trees that line the avenue, so they create a pretty runway effect all the way to the proud Arc de Triomphe.

Unfortunately, I chose the evening France lost the World Cup in to visit, not realising that thousands of disgruntled football fans would converge there, followed swiftly by armed riot police.

wide avenue with white lights in the trees and blue lights from police vans
Police vans adding blue lights to the display on the Champs-Élysées (eek!)

In any case, for me, the best external light display that I saw in Paris is at Place Vendôme. Last year there were large trees lit up and also elaborate displays on the fancy buildings.  

two sparkly christmas trees and a circular light display on a smart building in paris
Place Vendôme at Christmas

Boulevard Haussmann also looks quite pretty at Christmastime.

Retail Displays

The best Christmas decorations I have ever seen are in Paris (and that’s saying something, because my home city of London does quite well, too).

In a way, Galeries Lafayette looks like Christmas every day of the year, with its ornate central atrium, balconies and stained-glass cupola. But at Christmas, they take it to another level. I especially loved the blue and green theme they used in Christmas 2022.

spectacular blue and green tree in the middle of an ornate atrium with a blue glass dome ceiling
Galeries Lafayette is sensational at Christmas

The other grand magasins (Paris department stores) often do a good show at Christmas time (although BVH Le Marais was a bit of a letdown, in my opinion).

In addition to the big department stores, some of the covered passages in Paris look nice and festive at Christmas, too.

I also have to give a hat tip to Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole, which is a pretty café that looks amazing in Spring and Summer due to the gorgeous vine that partially covers it. Clearly, the owners want to maintain their appeal in winter, because they put on quite a show of lights.

cafe shop front lit with extravagant white lights for christmas
Au Vieux Paris d’Arcole in its Christmas livery

Map: Parisian Christmas Markets

Here’s a map of the Christmas Markets in Paris, plus some of the other Christmassy displays in Paris in December.

How To Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left-hand corner of the map to view the layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each one.  If you click the star next to the map’s title, it will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu, go to ‘Your Places’ or ‘Saved’, then click Maps and you will see this map in your list.

Where To Stay In Paris In December

For my first Christmas visit to Paris, I stayed at a very fancy hotel very close to the Tuileries Christmas Market: Hotel Regina Louvre.

It’s not only conveniently close, but it is grand and luxurious: it was the perfect comfy place to be able to return to after a day exploring in the cold. And I also had a view of the Tuileries Christmas market (and the Eiffel Tower) from my window.

For my second December visit, I stayed at the Hôtel Diva Opéra, in Fauberg-Montmartre, which is walkable to Galeries Lafayette – which was my first visit after I checked in.

Other hotels I have stayed in and recommend in Paris include:

The Terrass Hotel in Montmartre is a convenient one if you plan to spend time in Montmartre, including the Montmartre Christmas Market.

I’ve also stayed at the 3-star La Finca Hôtel & Spa in the Bastille area, which is handy for the many cafes & bistros in the area.

For more Paris hotel suggestions, read my post on the best place to stay in Paris for first-timers.

The Last Word

I hope this has been helpful to give you an idea of what to expect from the various Parisian Christmas Markets.

I hope you have an amazing time in Paris – and don’t forget to check out my guide to Paris in Winter, which gives lots of ideas of what to do in Paris when it’s cold and/or wet. I also have some itineraries that might be helpful, including a 4-day Paris itinerary.

And for up-to-date information on what’s on in Paris for your dates, do check Paris.fr.

And finally, if you are open to other Christmas Markets in Europe, have you considered the small but perfectly formed Luxembourg City? Or the very fun and festive Amsterdam Christmas Market?

If you like this article, I'd be delighted if you shared it!

8 thoughts on “Paris Christmas Markets 2023: The Good, Bad & Ugly”

  1. Thank you so much for this great information. I feel like I got a good feel for the markets. I have wanted to visit at Christmas so I’m making plans for this year. Love, love, love your recommendations. Skipping over to read your Paris in Winter post now.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouraging feedback! I hope you have a great time at the Paris Christmas markets! I actually love Paris in December – it can be hard if it rains, but i don’t find the cold a problem – just wrap up warm and stop for a warm drink in a cafe at regular intervals 🙂

  2. Hi Martha,

    Wow!! I have just read every word that you have written regarding the Christmas Markets in Paris. So wonderful to find you with all your knowledge and experience. We are not going to Europe until November 2024 but hey no time like the present to get organized. We have been to Paris before but not in the colder months so all of your amazing suggestions and info is fantastic thank you so much. I applied to get your newsletter but the link to my email hasn’t come through as yet. Warmest regards Jennifer

    1. Thanks so much for your feedback, Jennifer! I hope you have an amazing time in Paris next year. I also have a post on general things to do in Paris in winter, which might be helpful. Check your junk mail for an email with the title ‘Important: confirm your subscription to May Cause Wanderlust’

  3. Just wanted to thank you! I unexpectedly had 24 hours in Paris for work so this blog helped me choose my evening plans 😊 The marche de noel under Eiffel Tower is now fenced off with a guard so protected not chaotic at all, if a little small

    1. Thank you so much for your feedback! I hope you had a great time in Paris! And good to hear the Eiffel Tower market has improved – that’s helpful to know and good news for visitors 🙂

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