Madison at the Paris Christmas Markets

December 01, 2015

My family visited me in Paris a few years ago. My brother wanted to do some Christmas celebrating. He also wanted to go shopping for gifts for our respective French and American families. I suggested the Paris Christmas markets. There are fantastic Christmas markets throughout France, Paris in particular. The four I like the most are the Montmartre, La Défense, Montparnasse and Champs-Élysées.

We would have loved to cover them all but time, alas, was limited so a few days before Christmas we visited the Montparnasse Christmas Market. My brother was literally amazed at not only the breathtaking architecture of the Sacré Coeur, but also the beehive of activity, gaiety and conviviality that characterize the Paris Christmas markets. Because it was a bit nippy, we of course, availed ourselves of the deliciously spicy hot wine that is a Christmas market staple.

I had been living in France for over a decade at that time. I knew how to get around in the markets, negotiate for the best price, find the right deal for the things I wanted. Most importantly, I knew how to avoid getting ripped off. My brother right away found an elegant attaché case for his wife. She is a school system director in New Jersey. He couldn’t believe how we were able to negotiate down the price for a substantial saving.


I was particularly interested by a specialty tea merchant. The merchant had a fascinating panoply of exclusive teas. customs blends, and refined accessories I knew my French wife would enjoy. Then I carefully selected a few different teas, regular teas and herbal infusions. I was quite satisfied, but knowing the French, I knew I needed something more. There was a cast iron red pebbled Chinese teapot that caught my eye. I knew that was it… but it was 70 Euros. When I bought the whole kit and caboodle my brother was shocked I had spent almost $150 on tea stuff. Christmas morning, when he saw the joy in the faces of both my wife and her mother, he understood the value.


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