shopping in France
For anyone looking
for a good reason to
travel to France, a Christmas shopping trip can provide the ideal
excuse. Paris and other French cities are places that go to great
lengths to make sure that the Christmas shopping experience is
something to be remembered - a gala of lights, sounds and old seasonal
traditions. And with the Euro currently competitive against other
currencies including the dollar, the pound and the Swiss franc, there
are plenty of bargains to be had. As is the
practice throughout Europe,
displayed always include tax
; i.e. French
sales tax does not have
to be added to the price displayed.
SHOPPING IN PARIS
market stall in Paris
the most popular Christmas lights are those decorating the Champs
Elysées; but they are just the icing on the cake. The
streets and the
big shops in all the shopping areas, notably the department stores such
as Galeries Lafayette, in the Boulevard Haussmann area,
vie with each other to produce the most elaborate Christmas decorations
and Christmas windows.
Big stores and stores selling up-market French
luxury goods such as fashionwear or perfume and cosmetics
can be guaranteed to put on particularly lavish and impressive window
displays ; however bargain hunters should not expect to find a lot of
really good buys, as winter
in France cannot start before the first week of
markets in Paris 2015:
The French capital offers a number of
"traditional" Christmas markets - Les
Marchés de Noël
offering a wide array of art and craft products, as well as local
specialities and special gastronomic delights for the Christmas dinner
The main Christmas markets in Paris are located at....
village - 14th November 2015 until 4th January 2016),
Germain des Prés (Latin quarter) Santa's village,
from 14th November 2015 until 4th January 2016)
Sulpice (6th Arrondissement - Latin quarter) 1st -
24th December 2015 -
crafts and traditions).
(16th arrondissement - 13th December 2015 -
4th January 2016)
des Abbesses (Marais, 3rd arrondisssement) - Late November
- 1st Jan 2016.
and also at....
- Montparnasse, the
Gare de l'Est, the Gare Saint-Lazare, and the
Place de la Nation .
There is a
Christmas Market specialising in arts and crafts on the piazza
opposite Notre Dame
. This small market, in a unique setting, starts mid
December and finishes two days before Christmas.
good value hotel guide
- a choice of Paris hotels offering
best value for money.
market in Strasbourg - Photo © CRTA / Meyer
The Capital of Alsace
in eastern France, is reputed to be the home of Christmas festivities;
and the annual Christkindelsmärik
or Christ-child- market, held around the ancient cathedral in the heart
of the historic quarter, is the most famous Christmas market in France,
if not in Europe. It was first held in 1570. Today the event draws
hundreds of thousands of visitors, who come to wander through the
narrow streets, and admire and buy from the hundreds of stalls offering
traditional Christmas wares, craft products, and gifts of all shapes
Christmas Market 2015
runs from 27th
November to 31st
though parts such as the Craftsmen's village finish on Christmas Eve.
Strasbourg can be reached by motorway or by train. Click here
for Strasbourg city and hotel
There are many more Christmas markets
in Alsace, notably in Colmar, and in some of the picturesque small
towns such as Riquewihr.
FRENCH CITIES -
French cities pull out the stops for Christmas, specially those with
historic centres, where the Christmas lights traditionally bring in
large numbers of shoppers and admirers. The tradition of Christmas
Markets has been taken up in many French cities, notably in Eastern
France, in towns such as Besançon
(20th November - 31st December 2015) and Nancy, which hold
events. But there are also big Christmas markets, open for at least
three weeks up to Christmas, in Clermont
Ferrand, Bordeaux, Lille
(late November - late December 2015), Metz, Arras
elsewhere; other towns and cities put on smaller, shorter Christmas
opening times in France before Christmas
the pre-Christmas period is the busiest time of year for shopping in
France; many shops extend their opening hours, notably by staying open
at lunchtime, and - during the last three weekends before Christmas,
opening on Sunday afternoon. Sunday opening is particularly common in
towns and cities that have Christmas markets. Generally speaking, all
shops that do a brisk trade in the runup to Christmas stay open until
at least 7 p.m.
Out of town supermarkets and shopping
centres tend to remain open slightly longer in the period before
Christmas, and in particular are open on Sundays (typically from 10
a.m. to 7 p.m - but it is always important to check locally).
the Carrefour supermarket near the Channel tunnel exit is open 8.30
a.m. to 10 p.m six days a week, and 9 a.m to 8 p.m on Sundays during
the pre-Christmas period; there are special Christmas events in Calais,
including a Christmas market.
In 2015, following a relaxation of of laws on shop opening
hours, more shops will be open for longer in the runup to Christmas.
Click for general information on shop opening times in France
French wine for Christmas;
get the best buys, check out the
About-France.com guide to buying
school Christmas holiday periods 2015 - 2016
Saturday 19th December 2015
to Sunday 3rd January 2015 inclusive
Click here for other
French school holiday dates