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Gems of Paris by French Moments

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 futurist environment made up of tall skyscrapers. This is definitely the country’s most surprising 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 is a surprising Christmas market which may quite frankly puzzled a number of first-time visitors as it seems so out of the 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

The exhibitors offer a wide variety of choice: arts and crafts, local food produce (from Corsican sausages to raclette cheese and Alsatian gingerbread), mulled wine, games, 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

Our recommendation is to visit La Défense at night time, 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 extremely windy so you won’t want to stay there too long!

La Défense Esplanade by Night 03 © French Moments
La Défense Christmas market © French Moments

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

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Gems of Paris by French Moments
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 the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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