shopping & Christmas markets in France 2016
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, retail prices
displayed always include tax; i.e. French
sales tax does not have to be added to the price displayed.
shopping in France
SHOPPING IN PARIS
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.
market stall in Paris
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 sales in
France cannot start before the first week of January.
markets in Paris 2016
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 table.
The main Christmas markets in Paris are located at....
There is a Christmas Market specialising
in arts and crafts on the piazza opposite Notre Dame cathedral.
This small market, in a unique setting, starts mid
December and finishes two days before Christmas.
Elysées ( Christmas village - 15th November 2016
until 10th January 2017),
- Saint Germain des Prés
(Latin quarter) Santa's village, from 13th November 2016 until 8th
- St. Sulpice (6th Arrondissement -
Latin quarter) 1st - 24th December 2016 - crafts and
- Quai Branly (On the banks of the
Seine close to the Eiffel Tower) - 17th December 2016 - 3rd
(In front of the Sacré Coeur) - Late November
- 1st Jan 2016.
and also at....
- Montparnasse, the Gare de l'Est, the Gare
Saint-Lazare, and the Place de la Nation .
for Paris good
value hotel guide - a choice of Paris hotels offering best
value for money.
The Capital of Alsace, in eastern
France, is reputed to be the home of Christmas festivities; and the
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
market in Strasbourg - Photo © CRTA / Meyer
The Strasbourg Christmas Market 2016
runs from 26th
November to 24th December 2016 - 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 guide.
There are many more Christmas markets
in Alsace, notably in Colmar (25th November - 30th December 2016) , 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,
Colmar (25th November - 30th December 2016) and
Nancy, which hold big 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
2016), Metz, Arras and elsewhere; other towns and cities
put on smaller, shorter Christmas markets.
opening times in France before Christmas
In city centres, 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).
In Calais, the Carrefour
supermarket in the Cité
de l'Europe 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
In 2016, following a further relaxation of of laws on shop
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
get the best buys, check out the About-France.com guide to buying
school Christmas holiday periods 2016 - 2017
Saturday 17th December 2016
to Monday 2nd January 2017 inclusive
Click here for other
French school holiday dates.