Just in case you haven’t noticed, I like Christmas Markets. I’ve been to markets in Ireland and the UK, but now…now I’ve finally been to one in Paris. Purportedly, Germany has the best Christmas Markets, but I’ve heard that Paris has some pretty good ones, too, and, well, I quite liked the two we went to yesterday. One seemed to be a general market that had been Christmastized, but the other one was a straight up, legit, Christmas Market.
I love Christmas markets because they cater to finding something special for your loved ones, not just getting things from a big box. I mean, everyone can get the cool little automatic robot toy that supposedly scrubs your floor and grooms the dog, but I can get that for myself from Amazon, too. It’s not that special. But a Christmas market…oh, where to begin.
I guess I can begin with the things I liked about last night’s market.
- Good Food
I’m a bit pressed for this one, as we technically are only supposed to take sealed food containers from country to country, but it’s amazing what a little packing tape can do. Anyway, so far we’ve had variously flavored nuts, fudge, candied oranges, candied pears, candied ??? (not sure, seller didn’t speak English, and I didn’t recognized the French), chocolate dipped orange peel, chocolate with espresso in it (that one was actually from La Mère de Famille, a wonderful store filled with delightful goodies), nougat in about six different flavors, and dozens of baked things, some which I recognized, and some which I didn’t (MK got macaroons).
- Hot Drinks
Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, mulled wine…if it’s warm and cheerful, it’s probably served at a Christmas market. Last night we had hot chocolate.
- Handmade Items
True, not everything is handmade. But a lot of it is, and even if you’re just window shopping, it’s a ton of fun. As I’ve mentioned before, Cork had a lot of potterymakers, and Paris seems to have a lot of purses and hair accessories, including some very nice ones made entirely of leather. There were also a good variety of leather-bound books. Unfortunately, leather is heavy, and I already bought books once this trip.
They were even dressed up.
5. Happy People
Ok, let’s face it. When I’m in the US, I do the majority of my Christmas shopping online because I hate having to fight through people to buy things. It’s a frenzy. A horrible, crushing, maniacal frenzy of people trying to get the attention of too-few sales attendants who are forced to smile at people that scream at them and then act like they really do wish those people a happy holidays while all they really want is for them to drive away and never return. I don’t want them to return, either. It shouldn’t be like wading through a tempest just to get one stupid FunkoPop because that’s all someone said they want and you don’t know them well enough to buy something that isn’t on the prescribed list.
But Christmas markets. Christmas markets are light and airy and cold and like your own private Christmas while you hunt for things that jump out at you and scream “COUSIN KITTY WILL LOVE ME AND I’M ONLY 10€!” and then you buy it and know that you aren’t risking being the fifth person to get Cousin Kitty that because there is only one of that thing, and you’re the one holding it. It’s like the ultimate scavenger hunt, with virtually no chance of finding a dead body. And it makes Christmas fun.
We returned with mostly food items, along with a few jewelry purchases, a bag, and I believe MK went ahead and bought some embroidered scarves. I’m too tired to check. It was fun. I don’t know if we’ll have time to go to any more markets before Christmas, but I kind of hope we do.
So far, I love Paris. I wouldn’t want to live here, but it’s not a bad place to be in December.