There are markets and there are markets. Christmas in Paris is something completely magical – even more so if you are lucky enough to find yourself at The Louvre where the nearby Jardin de Tuileries Christmas Market is in full swing – and this is some market.
Jardin de Tuileries Christmas Market sweeps virtually half the entire area of the gardens with a collection of stalls, rides and a huge big wheel. That’s just the start of it though. Up and down the stretch beside the main Rue de Rivoli the stalls come varied and delicious at a decent price point.
We started at the end closest to the Louvre. Walking into the market is like walking into a sensory overload of cheese, sausages, mulled wine and waffles. Raclette is the cheese holding centre stage at most stalls – huge half moons of the stuff sizzle under heat lamps before being scraped over potatoes, yours for €10 a go.
Our first port of call was to The Most Champagne Bar set up in a marquee featuring glasses of Brut Champagne for €6. It seemed like a fitting start to our time in Paris ordering a couple of glasses of champers and standing by the bar as the beats went on. Take a little extra cash as the bar charge €2 per glass deposit but this is refunded when you return them later.
After our liquid refreshment, we took a walk around and struggled with what the heck to actually order first. There’s so much to choose from! We found a stall specialising in cheese gratins for €10 each, you could have Tartiflette, Reblochon, Parisian style gratins – they were all here.
We decided to try the big wheel while it was quiet. €10 per adult gets you 5 rotations, which is an absolute bargain when you get up there to be greeted by a majestic view of Paris all lit up. The views will live long in the memory as we could see The Eiffel Tower, Grand Palais, Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame amongst everything else. Spectacular.
Walking on further we found souvenir stalls selling pictures of Paris, hats and scarves, chocolate and other artisan items. There’s a huge ice rink which charges €10 for adults to have a skate for as long as you like. Skating aids such as snowmen and penguins are there for inexperienced skaters.
The options for dining here are just incredible. There’s even a pop-up restaurant in the very centre. A further champagne bar is situated halfway up shrouded by a see-through igloo. Log fires and heat lamps line the areas where you can enjoy eating your food. The organisers really have thought of everything!
We couldn’t leave without a raclette experience. There’s the option of having cheese over a baguette or over potatoes with ham, we opted for option two. I watched in awe as the vendor scraped a huge sea of molten cheese over a deep cup of potatoes – the portions are definitely generous.
Digging into this by the open fire was the stuff of dreams. The cheese was excellent – slightly tangy and rich. The potatoes were superb coated in the cheese with the ham on the side excellent quality also. It doesn’t get much better.
As I stated in the opening paragraph. There are markets and there are markets. This place has eclipsed any other Christmas market that we have attended, given that we have done Germany and some of the best in the UK, that’s making a huge statement.
The prices and atmosphere at Jardin de Tuileries are both pleasing on the eye. You get a quality experience for what you pay for. I don’t know of many Christmas markets that offer a taste of caviar, champagne and oysters at such affordable value. You really can feel like a king for a night here.