Santa on rue des Francs Bourgeois, photo by Walter Pappas
Les Marchés de Noël à Paris
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
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Dear Parler Paris Reader,
I suppose Christmas and New Year’s are wonderful times of the year just about everywhere you are. Paris is no exception and I find myself here every year at this time welcoming friends and family who take this vacation opportunity to descend on us. They fill our guest rooms, our refrigerators with champagne and our hearts.
The city streets are awash with reminders. Night falls early and the tiny decorative lights in hundreds of thousands all over the city shine brightly…covering the trees along the Champs-Elysées, the East Indian motif entirely coating Galeries Lafayette, market streets strung with lights from one side to the other, decorated christmas trees on sidewalks outside their owners’ shops…
People are carrying bags…lots of bags. I guess this is a good sign that business is good this year, although I’ve heard rumors that it’s not and that the winter “soldes” will be even better than ever because of it (they officially start Wednesday, January 7th, ending February 14th). The department stores are busy beehives of shoppers…I can attest to this after Monday night’s excursion to the BHV to buy linens for the rue de la Huchette apartment! But, there’s another solution to gift-buying: the traditional Christmas markets!
If you’ve never visited one, now is your chance. They’re in specific spots all over town, set up like mini-villages of open-stalled merchants and you can count on at least one stand to offer “Vin Chaud” or “pain d’épice” to fuel you while making decisions on what to purchase for whom, of handcrafted items from all over France.
The one at Les Halles, the “Grands Marchés de Noël du Centre de Paris, de Beaubourg à Saint-Eustache” (1st) is one of the most authentic with 150 illuminated “chalets”…open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday until December 24th. 01.30.80.06.24
“Le Village du Père Noël” at Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés (6th) is one where you can taste of the tradtions and folklore of another era…also until December 24th. 01.47.22.40.99
“Le Village du Père Noël” under the arcades of the Centre Commericial Maine-Montparnasse (15th) until December 31st. 01.47.22.40.99
Before taking your train to “La France Profonde” in any of the stations, taste on Vin Chaud at:
“Le Marché de Noël at the Gare de Lyon(12th), Gare du Nord (10th), Gare de l’Est (10th), Gare Montparnasse (15th) and Gare Saint-Lazare, all until December 24th, 01.47.22.40.99
See you there!
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Don’t forget to join us at Parler Paris Après Midi Tuesday, December 23rd at 3 p.m. and make special note that the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group is closed December 24th – January 2nd, reopening Saturday, January 3rd.
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