Old and New Traditions at Paris Christmas Market

By David Vives

One of the best ways to get into the festive holiday spirit is to take a walk around a Christmas market.

This Christmas village in the Paris business district La Défense is back for its 25th anniversary. Amidst the high concrete towers, about 350 little white wooden chalets at the center of the Esplanade host the largest Christmas market in the region.

Wandering through the alleys, searching for the perfect Christmas gift can take some time. One way the people here fight off feeling cold is by eating foods high in fat.

NTD Photo
A pedestrian walks past a security check at the Christmas market of La Defense in Courbevoie in, on the outskirts of Paris on Dec. 22, 2016. (Photo by Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images)

The exhibitors offer a wide variety of local foods, mulled wine, games, wreaths, artwork, and crafts with visiting artisans and craftspeople from across France and even from as far away as Morocco, Iran, China, and Nepal, according to the French culture magazine Solo Sophie.

Last year, La Défense drew 1 million visitors including workers, Paris residents, and tourists. The traditional handcrafted goods pull in visitors looking for Christmas gifts that they don’t see anywhere else.

Lorenz Duchamps contributed to this report.