christmas tree and lights in paris

Discovering the Magical Christmas Markets in Paris

A visit to a Paris Christmas market is bound to get you in the holiday spirit. Starting mid-November to early December there can be up to 20 Christmas markets appearing across the City of Light. Some last weeks, while others are just a weekend. No matter the size, each one will be magical. Under a bed of twinkle lights, tiny alpine wooden huts selling handmade gifts and delicious food and drink. The aroma of hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, melting cheese and chocolate floats through the air. You might even hear carolers or live music being played. Magical, right?

Let’s discover the magical Christmas markets in Paris for 2022. Plus, where you can find the best Paris Christmas lights.
Gold sundial in Paris for christmas decoration
Place Vendome

Christmas Markets in Paris 2022

The Magic of Christmas at Tuileries Garden (1st arrondissement)

The Magic of Christmas or La Magie de Noël at Tuileries Jardin is one of the largest Christmas markets in Paris. This market stretches along the entire north end of Tuileries garden from rue des Pyramides to Place de la Concord. It’s half Christmas market and half Christmas-themed carnival. This family-friendly market is bound to be a local’s favourite tradition making it easily the most popular Christmas market in Paris.

What makes this market so special to visit- it’s so much fun! You can’t help but feel the Christmas spirit, no matter your age. A large Ferris wheel, carnival rides and games, and even an ice skating rink. The Christmas-themed carnival catering to kids is on one side while the adult portion is on the other. Here you’ll find food vendors selling mulled wine, a large steaming hot copper pot of traditional french onion soup and even a champagne bar. Wooden chalet huts selling specialty food products and artisan crafts and gifts line the park. Look out for the vendor selling pretty handblown glass Christmas ornaments making a great souvenir for your tree at home.

Visiting The Magic of Christmas at Tuileries Garden:

  • November 19, 2022, to January 8, 2023
  • Location: Tuileries Garden or Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement
  • Métro: Concorde, Tuileries
  • Go for the fun, entertainment and large selection of vendors
  • Nearby pretty streets for Christmas lights and decorations:
    • Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore

La Défense Christmas Market in Paris

The biggest Christmas market in Paris can be found at La Défense Esplanade, just outside the city limits. More than 350 little chalets offering an array of gift options make this Christmas market in Paris, not one to miss. La Defense is considered the best Christmas market in Paris as a result.

Everything from handcrafted gifts to scarves to leather goods, to pop-up stores selling antiques, books and much more. As well, there is an endless option for dining as local restaurants join in offering global cuisine beyond what you might find at other Christmas markets in Paris. A huge decorated Christmas tree with a Santa photo op is a big draw for families.

Visiting La Défense Christmas Market:

  • November 23, 2022, to December 24, 2022
  • Location:  Esplanade de la Défense
  • Métro:  Grande Arche de la Défense
  • Go for the 1-stop shopping and dining experience

Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market (6th arrondissement)

Right next to the beautiful St. Germain des Pres Church, tiny wooden huts line the boulevard St Germain. This is one of the best Christmas markets in Paris, known for selling handcrafted items like blown glass ornaments, soaps and candles and leather goods.

Paris Christmas Market at night with lights

Come with an empty stomach, as my favourite part of this small neighbourhood Christmas market was the food. Vendors selling hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, churros dipped in chocolate and my favourite hot melted Raclette cheese sandwiches. That’s right, using a large raclette wheel, a cow’s milk cheese is melted and scraped off and added to a French baguette. Viola, there is nothing better than that!

Visiting Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market:

  • November 26, 2022, to January 1, 2023
  • Location:  Blvd Saint-Germain, next to Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement
  • Métro:  Saint-Germain 
  • Go for the gourmet food vendors to eat and purchase specialty items like foie gras, truffles, smoked salmon
  • Nearby pretty streets for Christmas lights and decorations:
    • Boulevard Saint Germain, rue du Bac, and rue de Sèvres around Bon Marché

Read more: check out my Guide to 6th Arrondissement in Paris: the Best Things to Do

Alsatian Christmas Market at Gare de l’Est (10th arrondissement)

The Alsatian Christmas Market held at Gare de l’Est in the 10th arrondissement is considered the oldest Alsatian market outside of Alsace. This market looks a bit different than the others. Under one very large white tent, vendors sell their wares. Although it may lack the charm of the other Paris Christmas markets you don’t want to skip this one.

christmas market vendor booth with pretzel and man

What makes this Paris Christmas market unmissable is the Alsatian specialties found here. The Alsace region shares a border with Germany and Switzerland and anything stemming from that region will have a strong German and Swiss influence. Specialties like cured meats, cheeses, wine, jams, foie gras, and gingerbread. This is a must-visit Christmas market for foodies- both for eating and shopping for gift ideas.

Visiting Alsatian Christmas Market:

  • November 30, 2022, to December 16, 2022
  • Location:  Next to Gare de l’Est Train Station in 10th arrondissement
  • Métro:  Gare de l’Est 
  • Go for the gourmet food vendors to eat and purchase specialty items like foie gras, truffles, smoked salmon
  • Nearby pretty street for Christmas lights and decorations:
    • Canal Saint-Martin

Christmas Market at Hôtel de Ville (4th arrondissement)

The Paris Christmas market at Hôtel de Ville at City Hall is known as one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Paris. An enchanted forest of fresh-cut pine trees transforms this space as does the light show. Falling snowflakes projected on the front of the historic City Hall building is magical.

This family-friendly Christmas market offers the most fun for kids. A luge for tubing, a climbing wall and a pretty carousel as well as Santa sightings makes this very popular for families. The market is also very food oriented with vendors selling crepes, raclette, french onion soup and of course mulled wine.

Visiting Christmas Market at Hôtel de Ville:

  • December 3, 2022, to January 2, 2023
  • Location:  Rue de Rivoli in 4th arrondissement
  • Métro:  Hotel de Ville 
  • Go for kid-friendly fun and to see the beautiful light display
  • Nearby pretty streets for Christmas lights and decorations:
    • Rue Saint-Paul, Village Saint-Paul
    • Rue Saint-Louis en l’Ile on Ile Saint-Louis

Read more: check out my Guide for making the most of your visit to Ile Saint-Louis

Notre-Dame Christmas Market (5th arrondissement)

The Notre Dame Christmas market or Marché de Noel Notre Dame is one of the prettiest Christmas markets in Paris. Under the backdrop of the beautiful Notre Dame cathedral, across the Seine, in the lovely Square René Viviani on the Left Bank is this small yet festive market. Since the devasting fire of Notre Dame, this Christmas market moved to this pretty square to carry on the tradition.

With your hot mulled wine or vin chaud in hand stroll the small wooden chalet-style huts selling gourmet foods and artisan crafts and gifts. This is one of the few Christmas markets in Paris where you’ll see Santa doing the very same. Visiting this Paris Christmas market is especially magical being so close to the Seine. Afterwards, wander over the bridge and watch the lights dance across the Seine. Crowds gather and listen to nearby musicians play traditional Christmas songs. There’s nothing more romantic to do in Paris than a night out like this one.

Visiting Notre-Dame Christmas Market at Square Viviani:

  • December 9 to 26, 2022
  • Location: Square René-Viviani on Quai Montebello, in the Latin Quarter of the 5th arrondissement
  • Métro:  Saint Michel, Maubert-Mutualité
  • Go for festive spirit in a great Paris location
  • Nearby pretty streets for Christmas lights and decorations:
    • Rue Galande, rue du Petit Pond, rue de la Huchette

Montmartre Christmas Market (18th arrondissement)

The small, yet charming Montmartre Christmas Market can be found in the very scenic Place des Abbesses at the foot of the iconic Sacre Coeur. The location alone makes this one of the best Christmas markets in Paris. A massive decorated tree, visits from Santa, and craft workshops for kids make this a very family-friendly Christmas market in Paris.

This Abbesses Christmas market is perfect for foodies. Eat your way through some of the best traditional regional specialties like foie gras from Périgord, pretzels from Alsace, escargots from Burgandy, tapenade from Provence, and cheese from Pyrénées. The hot mulled wine is a little extra spicey at this Christmas market and goes great with the roasted chestnuts. Vendors also sell specialty foods as well as artisan crafts for gifts.

Visiting Montmartre Christmas Market:

  • December 10 to 31, 2022
  • Location: Place des Abbesses in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement
  • Métro: Abbesses Butte Montmartre
  • Go for the traditional French gastronomy from various regions in France and the children-friendly events

Related reading: Check out my Guide of the must-see streets in Paris perfect for strolling

Best Christmas Lights in Paris

One of the best ways to experience the magical atmosphere of Paris at Christmas is by taking an open-top bus tour. Admire Paris buildings and streets covered in sparkling lights. Get your cameras ready for this unbelievable experience, click here to reserve your spot.

red lights in paris at christmas

Here are the best places to see Christmas Lights in Paris:

  • Place Vendome – an elegant display of Christmas trees, lights and decorations
  • Champs-Elysees – this famous Paris street is a glow with red sparkling lighted trees leading you to the Arc de Triomphe
  • Avenue Montaigne – tiny white lights drape this pretty tree-lined street known for luxury hotels and shops
  • Westfield Forum des Halles – a large Christmas tree and lights surrounded by shops
  • Bercy Village – known for its incredible overhead art displays any time of year
  • Plantes des Jardin Light Festival – visit this beautiful botanical garden at night to see the “Illuminated Species” come alive with lights and music (Tip for visiting: daytime is free, 6 pm to 11 pm is €12 – €15, online tickets only, click here)
flowers with light display in paris

Best Christmas Window Displays in Paris

The Christmas window displays in Paris are absolutely magical. They are animated and so fun to watch, almost like little movies. This is one of the top things to do in Paris at Christmastime. The best ones to seek out are the big department stores in Paris. My favourite is Galeries Layfayette with its interior pretty domed ceiling. Printemps Haussmann, BHV Marais, and Bon Marche are also good ones to visit too. Yes, they do draw crowds, but it’s all part of the excitement.

If you want to escape the crowds, seek out the lovely shopping arcade Galerie Vivienne, an iconic covered passage in Paris, to admire the Christmas lights and decorations. It’s the perfect place to find that unique gift for someone special on your list.

Related reading: check out my Guide for where to find the best secret-covered passages in Paris

christmas tree in paris with decorations
Galerie Vivienne Covered Passage

Shopping tip: one of my favourite stores in Paris is Astier de Villatte, known for its très cher candles and handcrafted china pieces. Each trip to Paris, it’s my special treat to myself. To my delight, at Christmas time, they sell ornaments. I might have treated myself a little extra on that trip! If you are looking for pretty Christmas ornaments handmade in Paris this is the store to go to.

As a holidaymaker…

Visiting Paris at Christmas is simply magical. It just might be my favourite time of year to visit Paris. With very few tourists, you can see and experience Paris during the holiday season through its magical Christmas markets and holiday lights and decorations. The calendar of dates for Christmas markets 2022 contained in this article has been confirmed by the City of Paris.

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