Paris is the world’s number one tourist city, and for good reason. While the bulk of tourism occurs during the summer, Paris is just as wonderful in the winter. One of the best things about visiting Paris during the winter is its range of exciting Christmas markets. Each one is an experience in and of itself to wander around, and the products sold are perfect treats for yourself or someone else as a Christmas present.
The Notre Dame Market
With its sharp spires and sweeping buttresses, Notre Dame is a renowned example of French Gothic architecture, and is one of the most visited parts of the city. Come in winter, however, and you’ll have another reason to visit this stunning cathedral: its Christmas market.
From the 12th to the 23rd December, around 40 stalls spring up at the world famous cathedral. Predominantly a crafts market, you’ll find all kinds of creations, including clothes, sculptures, jewellery and accessories. The stalls are located inside attractive little tents, and stepping into each one instantly immerses you in the world of that particular stallholder and their lovingly created wares. When you’re not shopping you can take advantage of the busking and puppet shows. The shows make for a memorable experience and are a great way to keep children entertained, if you’re travelling with youngsters.
The Alsatian Market
While it may seem like a strange choice during a trip to Paris, the Alsatian market is really not to be missed. Taking place outside the Gare de l’Est train station, which has plenty of rail links to the Alsace region, the Alsatian market brings together around 15 top quality local producers who come to ply their wares.
The Alsace region borders Germany, and, as such, the local produce has both French and German influences. You can expect a range of baked goods, including patisserie and traditional Christmas bakes such as stollen and gingerbread, as well as Christmas decorations and a range of wines and liqueurs. The region also produces a local whisky, which is often sold at the market. There’s often a range of charcuterie and other meat products, such as foie gras and regional sausage varieties, while there’s also likely to be a range of cheeses. In short, the Alsatian market offers a whirlwind culinary tour of the very highest quality produce of that region.
Of course, these options are far from exhaustive, and Paris is full of all kinds of Christmas markets. Feel free to do a little research and find the ones that pique your interest.
How to Get There
If you want to get your Paris winter holiday started as smoothly as possible, the best way is to fly in to Charles de Gaulle. Airport shuttle services are very regular, and we’d recommend organising a prebooked Charles de Gaulle airport shuttle or taxi to pick you up as soon as you land. It’s about a 40-minute drive from the airport to the city centre.
If you’re driving to Paris, you’ll need to take the A1 and the A3, leading onto the A4, at which point it’s a short drive north-west along the Seine. Public transport options are available, although it’s around a 90-minute journey by public transport: take a bus to Gare Paris La Defense, then an eastbound train to Chatelet – Les Halles.
If your accommodation is around Gare de l’Est, we’d once again recommend organising a Charles de Gaulle airport shuttle in advance: it’s a 30 minute drive via the A1. Gare de l’Est is also about 90 minutes via public transport from the airport: take a bus to Gare Paris La Defense, before taking an eastbound train to Chatelet – Les Halles. From here, change for a northbound train leaving from Les Halles, which will stop at Gare de l’Est.
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct. If you’re looking for a Charles de Gaulle airport shuttle, Shuttle Direct provide pre-booked shuttles to major destinations all over Europe. Wherever you travel, Shuttle Direct can make sure that you don’t miss your car on your holiday abroad.