What I miss most when living in Bangkok is Christmas time; the snow, festiveness and of course the Christmas markets. With plans for snow and skiing in China this Christmas it will likely come second best to my Christmases back home and in Europe. Christmas is the one time I want to be home and it has been a long two years since I visited my local Christmas market in Belfast, which, like the city itself, fails to compare to the continental markets of Europe in winter. Anyway, the year previous, I was at La Defense Christmas Market, which in my opinion is the best of the Christmas markets in Paris.
Paris in itself is the perfect destination for those on a smaller budget. Staying out of the centre in the La Defense area makes it even more affordable and surprisingly so was the Paris Hilton Hotel which sits directly next to La Defense Christmas Market and the RER Metro (La Defense Station). The trains here then give easy access to the more central areas of Paris and the city’s busier markets.
La Defense Christmas Market Paris
Without a doubt, La Defense Christmas Market was my favourite in the city. Traditional wooden chalets lit under fairy lights and a backdrop of the Grande Arche of La Defense. With cold air and scattered snow, it was hard to beat for Christmas markets. After warming myself with cheap cups of hot mulled wine (Vin Chaud) and occasional Whisky I’ve rarely felt so Christmassy. While I hate shopping, I was happy to browse, while filling my face with chocolates, cheese, nuts and olives along the way. A maze of treats. And to top it all off, the range of luxury Paris vacation rentals in the area means you can stay nearby and avoid missing out on any of the fun.
Heated Eating Tents
Eating (and booze) is obviously why I was there and of course it didn’t disappoint. Large heated tents are found in the centre and have all my favourite festive eating of roast hams and Christmas beers. Below my Storky De Noel Beer and Jambon Frite (Ham and French Fries).
Paris Hilton Hotel (La Defense)
Located in the CNIT plaza building our hotel room has window views of the building interior and the plaza’s Christmas tree. Fascinating? Of course we went for the cheap rooms, the better views looking out front over the arch and La Defense Christmas Market. Below is me in my room enjoying a baguette jambon fromage (ham and cheese sandwich) bought from the nearby market.
Christmas Markets in Paris
We visited a handful of other Christmas Markets in Paris. Jardins du Trocadero is one of the better, with views of the Eiffel Tower and an ice rink. The avenue to Champs-Élysées is also lined with Christmas chalets but it is a little off-putting with busy traffic nearby. The Place Saint Sulpice is the most talked-about of the markets but I still think La Defense Christmas Market was the better. That being said I was intoxicated.
Paris in the Winter
While enticed by other Christmas Markets Paris felt like better value for money. Paris itself is always beautiful and a city I will continue to go back to. My last visit to Paris was this April introducing Fanfan to the romance of the city poking down, backstreets, eating local, drinking local. It doesn’t change year long and is a hard city to beat.