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Paris Christmas Markets: La Défense

Christmas market in the business district of La Défense.

It was certainly a busy week in Paris.  I found myself shuffling from my hotel (just on the fringe of the swanky 9th arrondissement) to the towering business district of La Défense every morning for a management training.

Sweet treats and smiling faces on opening day.

And even though I got to know a few Parisiens more intimately than I would have preferred those early mornings on the metro, attending a training in la grande capitale was an experience I wouldn’t trade – even for less bumping on Line 1.

What's a French Christmas market without fois gras?

Besides seeing how the chic-er half lives, it was a great opportunity to experience the daily rhythms of life in Paris; from the mad-dash morning commute to late-evening strolls along crowded cafés.

One of the many food stands feeding mid-day workers.

And while I’m not sure I would trade my quiet life in the South for the bustle of the big city, one thing is clear:  this place really knows how to party.  And the holiday season is no exception.

One of the most surprising discoveries of my trip was the size and grandeur of the Christmas market at La Défense.

Mushroom omelette anyone?

The Christmas market, open everyday, takes over a massive space of more than 10,000 square meters beneath the towering skyscrapers of La Défense. It’s an impressive sight.

And perhaps what’s more impressive is what’s contained in the 300+ “snowy” chalets that line the market.

More tempting sweets and baked goods.

I had expected to find the normal sweets, treats, and nativity figurines, but since this market also serves those Parisiens making a living in the nearby buildings, mini-bistroscrêperies, and entire restaurants have been set-up to feed hungry mid-day diners.

In a word… cool. So cool.

Shiny ornaments in the "Deco" tent.

Of course there are gifts to buy, the obligatory Corsican ham & salami stands, cheese from the Alpes, and stands dedicated solely to fois gras.  It is France after all, would you expect anything less? Actually, this market took me by surprise.  Quite the best Christmas market I’ve ever been to.

Christmas market chalets with La Grande Arche in the background.

So until next year’s trip to the markets of Alsace, I’m keeping La Défense at the top of my list of dreamy holiday markets & even dreamier Christmas treats.

To Learn More:

 

Le Défense Christmas market: November 23rd to December 27th

Metro: La Défense

-Listing of Paris Christmas Markets here.

-Holiday Shopping at Paris’s Christmas Markets.

-Girls’ Guide to Paris: Christmas Shopping in Paris.

About Tuula

I’m a 40-ish American woman & I’ve been blogging about my travels around belle Provence since moving here in 2010. You can also find my travel writing in International Living magazine, Charming Small Hotels (France), & Living France magazine. Bienvenue!

9 comments on “Paris Christmas Markets: La Défense

  1. Oh, I love all the photos, but especially the first, with the little chalets against the skyscrapers. Now I’m trying to figure out how to rearrange my flight from Hungary in December to make it to this market. I think you’ve instilled Paris Christmas Market wanderlust in all of us. I, too, would endure a few bumps on the metro and loss of personal space to stroll chilly Paris at night and see this market.

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    • Great comment Kathy, merci bien 🙂 It’s totally worth a trip to the Paris markets… maybe we’ll get a chance to go together one year! I see a fantastic “girls trip” in the making 🙂

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  2. Hard to imagine a Christmas market set up among the sky scrapers of La Défense. Talk about a contrast. Very cool! I find it interesting that it seems no matter where the Christmas market is, be it La Défense, Avignon or Carpentras, they all include the Christmas market chalets. A nice memory for me of being in Provence last Christmas. Too bad we won’t be there this year.

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    • It was an interesting sight for sure Michel – don’t know what I was more taken with…the skyscrapers or the market. Hope you’ll make it next year to Sablet – I remember your Christmas market posts from last year. We will try to go to the Aix en Provence one next weekend!

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  3. So interesting, Tuula! 🙂 For some reason I never think of Paris as a Christmas market place. I’m delighted to be informed otherwise. 🙂

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    • Me either until I went, Krista. Turns out there’s a lot to love about Christmas in Paris 🙂

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  4. Well Tuula that is just crazy, I had no idea their was a Christmas market a La Defense! I always went to the one on the Champs. Sad that I’m gone now and won’t be able to go. 😦

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    • Yeah, incredibly the Defense Christmas market was a great find… almost makes me wish I worked there so I could hit the food stands for lunch everyday … almost 🙂 Thanks for your comment Sam, hope you’re enjoying your travels! xo

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  5. Bethany Miller

    Tuula, as always, a wonderful post. I’ve mostly spent time in German Christmas markets, but I’m dying to get back to Paris. Your post made me smile. Merry Christmas!

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