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Few destinations rival Paris for pageantry during the festive season. The grands magasins try to one-up one another with triumphant window displays, the boutiques of rue Saint-Honoré are decadently decorated, and St Germain-des-Prés is also twinkling with lights. But the best part of all: the marchés de Noël.
Fragrant with hot mulled wine and nutella crepes, Christmas markets pop up in neighborhoods around the city. The first to open was the Marché de Noël on the Champs-Elysées, which was inaugurated by Mayor Anne Hidalgo last week. The illuminations along this world-famous avenue are a point of great pride for Paris; LED lights means low energy consumption.
Forget fast food; star chef Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir and L’Avant Comptoir once even opened a pop-up chalet there. You’ll find an ice skating rink, children’s games, unique artisanal gifts, gourmet treats, and more. The market along the Champs-Elysées will be open until January 4, 2016.
With 300 chalets, La Defense has the largest such market, sprawling along the Parvis with the skyscrapers looming above. Open now through December 27, 2015. Other markets will open in December. You’ll find the full list on the official website for the Office du Tourisme.
Lead photo credit : Illuminations on the Champs-Elysées/ © OTCP-Marc-Bertrand