Every year the Champs-Elysées is transformed into a winter wonderland of holiday fun with the famous Christmas lights, tons of little wooden chalets selling traditional foods, sweets and all kinds of gifts and even a little amusement park with roller coaster and rides for kids. The air is full of a heady mix of mulled wine, roasting chestnuts, sweet cotton candy and crepes and every type of food you can imagine. I went on the first Saturday evening after the lights were switched on and the Christmas Market opened, and the atmosphere was festive and the streets packed!
There were crowds of people taking photos of the fun lights up and down the Champs-Elysées and around Rond Point. The Christmas Market is set up along both sides of the Champs-Elysées between Rond Point and the Place de la Concorde, but the atmosphere is festive all along the Champs-Elysées up to the Arc de Triomphe.
The scent of roasting chestnuts always reminds me of winter in Paris, and there were several little vendors set up roasting chestnuts along the Champs-Elysées. The chalets sell a fun mix of traditional holiday foods, decorations and gifts. This Christmas one was festive!
When it's time to warm up just stop at one of the chalets for a vin chaud, or hot mulled wine. While I was distracted taking photos my husband bought a cup to surprise me … yum!
The circular lights along the Champs-Elysées slowly change colors from a cool blue-white to yellow and red. We hardly noticed them changing, but would look up and occasionally notice the street had a completely different hue!
The chalets selling crepes were very popular at the Champs-Elysées Christmas Market, but I had another plan in mind for something sweet.
There were chalets selling toys, handcrafted items, soaps from Marseille and this lovely stall filled to the brim with lavender products of all kind. The scent was divine!
We dashed across the Champs-Elysées and in the middle of the road I stopped to try to capture a photo of the lights looking toward the big ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde. The traffic was crazy!
For something sweet we stopped in the beautiful Ladurée shop on the Champs-Elysées. Why have a crepe when you can have macarons from Ladurée? (Or, enjoy both … it's Christmas in Paris after all!)
The Christmas lights at Ladurée are so pretty this year! The line was a bit long at the take away counter, but it was worth the wait to get a box of their famous macarons to enjoy at home. Inspired by the roasted chestnuts on the Champs-Elysées, we tried the marron (chestnut) macaron. It was lovely! In the window at Ladurée we spotted a Christmas tree made out of macarons … who could ask for anything more?
If you're thinking to visit Paris during the holidays, this is just one of the fun things you can do during Christmas in Paris. The Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysées will be open until January 6th, 2013. The lights and the festive atmosphere are magical against the backdrop of Paris!