La Défense Esplanade by Night 02 © French Moments
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Last Updated: 17 April 2024

The Christmas market of La Défense is arguably the largest in the Paris region. The cluster of its white chalets at the centre of the Esplanade seems at odds with the futuristic environment made up of tall skyscrapers. This is definitely France’s most surprising Christmas market…


La Défense Christmas Market

The presence of a Christmas market in the business centre of La Défense is relatively new. It dates back to the late 1990s.

With its wooden stalls clustered on the Esplanade at the foot of the Grande Arche, the Christmas market of La Défense is the largest in the Paris region. There are approximately 350 chalets between the CNIT and the Quatre-Temps shopping mall.

La Défense Esplanade by Night 02 © French Moments
Christmas market in La Défense © French Moments

This surprising Christmas market may quite frankly puzzle some first-time visitors as it seems so out of context, miles away from its Alsatian counterparts.

The village, made up of marquees and chalets, is arranged in a classic square formation with three aisles. It has been made famous for the red carpet on the ground.

La Défense Christmas market © French Moments
La Défense Christmas market © French Moments

Furthermore, the exhibitors offer a wide variety of choices: arts and crafts, local food produce (from Corsican sausages to raclette cheese and Alsatian gingerbread), mulled wine, games, and wreaths, with visiting artisans and craftspeople from across France and even as far as Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Iran, China and Nepal.

La Défense Christmas market © French Moments
La Défense Christmas market © French Moments

We recommend visiting La Défense at night when the lights of the skyscrapers’ skyline add to the magic of the place. For a good view of the overall district, climb to the top of the stairs leading to the Grande Arche. The place is often highly windy so you won’t want to stay there too long!

La Défense Christmas Market © French Moments
La Défense Christmas Market © French Moments


What is La Défense?

The business district of La Défense in Paris stands as a modern and iconic hub of commerce and architecture.

Situated just west of the city centre, it boasts a stunning skyline characterized by sleek glass and steel skyscrapers that pierce the sky.

This district is a testament to contemporary urban planning and design, hosting a blend of corporate offices, commercial spaces, and public facilities.

The centrepiece is the Grande Arche, a colossal arch that serves as a symbolic gateway to the district.

La Défense offers a bustling network of pedestrian pathways, intricate underground passageways, and a wide array of shopping centres, restaurants, and cultural venues, providing a harmonious mix of work, leisure, and cultural experiences.

With its efficient transportation links and its significant role in the French and European economy, La Défense remains not just a financial centre but also a focal point for innovation, architecture, and the dynamic urban fabric of Paris.


Exploring La Défense from sunset

Exploring La Défense Christmas Market during the festive season, from sunset to nightfall, unveils a truly enchanting experience that encapsulates the magic of Christmas.

As the sun gracefully sets, the towering skyscrapers adorned with sparkling lights create a dazzling display against the evening sky. The heart of this transformation is the renowned Christmas market, where stalls adorned with festive decorations offer an array of artisanal crafts, delectable treats, and seasonal delights.

Amid the gentle glow of twilight, the market’s twinkling lights cast a warm and inviting ambience, drawing visitors into a world of holiday wonder. The Grande Arche, a modern architectural marvel, stands as a magnificent backdrop, its geometric lines enhanced by the festive illuminations. As the night deepens, the market’s joyful energy mingles with the tranquillity of the evening, creating a uniquely charming atmosphere.

The Quatre Temps shopping mall in La Défense © French Moments
The Quatre Temps shopping mall in La Défense © French Moments

Strolling through the market’s pathways, visitors are treated to the scents of spiced mulled wine and freshly baked goods while laughter and holiday melodies fill the air. The meticulously designed and illuminated seasonal decorations weave a tapestry of visual delight. As the night sky envelops the scene, the surrounding ponds and fountains mirror the shimmering lights, casting a magical glow over the surroundings.

La Défense Christmas market transforms the district into a captivating winter wonderland, allowing visitors to experience the season’s spirit in a modern urban setting. This time of day offers a chance to escape the daytime crowds and immerse oneself in the joyful essence of Christmas, enhanced by the splendour of the night. In essence, discovering La Défense during the sunset and into the night during Christmas is a journey into a world of enchantment, where modernity and tradition unite to create an unforgettable and heartwarming experience.


Find out more!

Metro and RER stations: La Défense Grande Arche (métro line 1, RER A, Tram 2)

In 2023, La Défense Christmas market is open from the 16th of November to the 27th of December.

Christmas in Paris ebook
Journey to the Land of Christmas
About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of Discovery Courses and books about France.

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    1. Hi! The Christmas market of La Défense will take place from the 16th of November to the 27th of December 2023.
      As far as the Tuileries Christmas Market is concerned, the official dates have not yet been announced to the general public, but they should be more or less the same as in 2022: from the 19th of November 2022 to the 8th of January 2023.

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