Paris for Christmas with Nova Car Hire
Paris in spring is pretty special, but the city’s real magic shines at Christmas. The City of Light comes into its own when the streets are sparkling with festive lights and decorations. Wooden chalets appear overnight, with traditional markets (Marché de Noel) enticing passersby with festive refreshments including vin chaud (mulled wine), gingerbread, sausages, and French regional specialties. Hire a car in Paris this Christmas and enjoy a winter wonderland.
Paris Christmas Markets
Wherever you’re staying in Paris this winter, you’re sure to be near one of the many Paris Christmas markets, but two of the best are the markets along the Champs Elysees and the Hotel du Ville. Dates and times are subject to change, so check before you go.
Avenue des Champs-Elysées
The biggest Christmas market within the city limits extends from the Champs-Elysées roundabout (Metro Champs Elysées-Clémenceau) to the Place de la Concorde (Metro Concorde), from November 16th to January 6th. Even seasoned visitors to Paris will be awed by the sight of the world-famous landmarks that line this street all lit up for Christmas. While you’re here, you should also visit the Maison de l’Alsace at 39 avenue des Champs-Elysees, a pop-up shop selling traditional Christmas treats from Alsace, the birthplace of the Christmas market.
One of the biggest and most bustling of the Christmas markets is the one at Parvis de la Défense, which packs in some 350 stands. There is something rather surreal about soaking up the fairytale atmosphere of gingerbread and spice against a backdrop of high-rise buildings near the Grand Arche. This one runs from November 21st to December 29th.
Shopping & Skating
What could be more festive that skating in Paris? The Christmas market and ice rink at Trocadero offers more than 120 stands groaning with Christmas fare, an ice rink, and so-called snow villages. Situated at Place de la Trocadero, across from the Eiffel Tower, this one is perfect for families.
Continue the icy theme at the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall), where Paris City Council has come up with the inspired idea to create a 1,635 m² open-air ice rink. Entry is free, and you can rent skates on-site. In addition to the main ice rink, the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville has a smaller rink (258m²) for beginners and small children. Your dignity will soon be abandoned after a couple of tumbles. Don’t forget to bring gloves, as you won’t be allowed to skate without them.
Notre Dame Cathedral
For 2014, a market dedicated to arts and crafts will magically appear on the piazza outside Notre Dame Cathedral on December 12th. Browse the stalls by the lights of the traditional giant Christmas tree, and enjoy mulled wine, roast chestnuts, cosy chalets – and perhaps even a visit from Santa Claus himself.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of Christmas markets in Paris. Other prominent locations include Saint-Sulpice, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the Montparnasse Tower, Place de la Nation, Place d’Italie, Place des Abbesses, and Gare de l’Est.