French Language Blog

Christmas Is Ruined In Paris? – The Christmas Market At Les Champs Élysées Posted by on Nov 15, 2017 in Culture

It may be a little early for some people to start talking about Christmas and the holidays, but the cold weather has thoughts of le vin chaud et le papa Noël (mulled wine and Santa Claus) already in people’s head. As everyone starts getting ready for the holidays there is a surprisingly missing fixture this year in the heart of Paris: Le marché de Noël.

Image by S. Faric on Flickr. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Le marché de Noël is a common fixture en Europe. Quaint little shops pop up all over the continent and sell all kinds of silly things like wooden toys and other bibolets (knick-knacks) that bring up thoughts of le pôle Nord (the North Pole) with Santa and his workshop.

Le marché de Noël is also a gathering place during the cold months of the year and to help keep things warm le vin chaud and le chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) are never far. There’s winter magic in the air as friends and family enjoy le marché with its sights and holiday songs like Bonjour Noël.

That’s why les nouvelles (the news) that there would be no marché de Noël at les Champs Élysées came as a bit of a shock to some. Cependant (however), the whole thing has a long legal history behind it.

This is more than just le maire (the mayor) letting off a loud « Foutaises ! » and is about la Mairie de Paris (the Paris City Hall) wanting to improve the overall quality of le marché de Noël. They decided not to renew the license of the company that organizes the seasonal event and have stayed firm in their decision. The future of the seasonal fixture is still uncertain, but the idea is that it will come back as something much more parisien in 2018.

The struggle between « le roi des Forains » (“the king of the fairground”) and le maire is also connected to a different legal battle. La Mairie de Paris thinks la grande rue (the Ferris wheel) at la Concorde operated by the same company should be taken down and is taking legal action to make it a reality.

While the famous Champs Élysées may not have un marché de Noël this year, there are still other marchés à Paris and everywhere else en France. Even without le marché de Noël, les Champs Élysées are an impressive sight and walking down the famous avenue will have you singing Joe Dassin in no time.

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About the Author: John Bauer

John Bauer is an enthusiast for all things language and travel. He currently lives in France where he's doing his Master's. John came to France four years ago knowing nothing about the language or the country, but through all the mistakes over the years, he's started figuring things out.


  1. quizee:

    I agree with this decision by le Mairie de Paris, the Christmas market was indeed the most expensive yet cheapest (in another sense) attraction in Paris.

    I live in a country where prices are simply too high and I am always pleasantly surprised that food and drink are relatively cheap in Europe, except at the fair. It is true that they sell overpriced food and cheaply made trinkets from China, a poor comparison to touristy shophouses in Amsterdam and Brussels.

    Given the excellent patisseries, fromageries and craftsmen around Paris, 2018 might be able to bring a better market. BTW, the vin chaud was terrible!