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 two years since I visited my local Christmas market in Belfast which like the city itself it fails to impress. The year previous was the best Christmas market tour I made in Paris France, located directly next to La Defense Christmas Market in my opinion the best of the markets. Paris is the perfect destination for those on a smaller budget. Staying out of centre in the La Defense area 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 give easy access to central Paris and the cities busier markets.
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 markers. After warming myself with cheap cups of hot mulled wine (Vins Chaud) and occasional Whisky I’ve rarely felt so Christmassy. While I hate shopping I was happy to browse filling my face with chocolates, cheese, nuts and olives along the way. A maze of treats.
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).
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 look 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.
We visited a handful of other Christmas Markets in Paris. Jardins du Trocadero one of the better, views of the Eiffel Tower and an ice rink. The avenue to Champs-Élysées also lined with Christmas chalets but 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.
While enticed by other Christmas Markets Paris felt like better value for money. Paris itself 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.