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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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-bistros, crêperies, and entire restaurants have been set-up to feed hungry mid-day diners.
In a word… cool. So cool.
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.
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.