Thursday, 29 December 2016

Les Villages de Noel 2016, Paris, France

It's that time of year again when Christmas markets spring up around the city. In Paris, one of the popular ones opened on the Avenue Champs Elysees,  on November 10, 2016.

 With more than 200 store-chalets to visit,...

from the rond point at the Champs Ulysses,...

all the way to the Place de la Concorde, visitors can walk around...

to shop, eat, drink, and have a good time.

Secured and patrolled, it's a nice setting for singles, couples, and families to come and celebrate the holiday season. it has been set-up with some of the standard features, such as the rides for the children, the ice-skating rink, the restaurants for the big appetites for seasonal foods, and the chalets for the Christmas shopping. Artisanal and handmade products, and goods from around the world are back, with more variety this time.
 Among some of the hand-made, artisanal products are...
Greeting cards
Scented soaps

 Scented soaps made with organic milk

Savon de Marseille - first created as early as in the ninth century, the savon de Marseille, made with olive oils and ash from Mediterranean ash plants, continues to be popularly used for washing linens, cloths, and for use as a complexion soap.

Dried lavender flowers in sachets - perfect as room, closet or drawer deodorizers


A seat-down restaurant serving regional recipes from different parts of France

 A specialty stall serving salmon grilled on a slab of cedar plank

Treat yourself to a sandwich slathered with melted raclette cheese, plain or with a slice of chicken or ham.

 This is a "fromagerie," a cheese shop. with traditional and specialty cheese products made from cow's or goat's milk. Some are colored and flavored with truffles, herbs, and spirits. It is so tempting to try a few if not all.

 Nougat - sold by weight, with nuts, fruits, or with nuts and fruits together

A candy paradise for the kids

 From the delicatessen - cured, dried meats in ham or sausage formats, in traditional formulations, or flavored with other fruit ingredients

Moroccan delights - cookies, pastries and sweets

The French macarons - this is a must-taste French pastry fabrication that is made with almond powder, egg whites, and sugar, as the basic ingredients of the cookies. Then, two pieces are used to sandwich a flavored filling. With each new season, a new flavor is created.  

A NEW ADDITION to the Christmas market...
 The Magic Forest is a big draw for kids and adults for photo ops...
with Père Noël and the other characters in holiday land...

...with some animals in the forest and the ancient past...

and a chance to look like someone else behind these mock-up characters...

At night, the Christmas carols, the scent of chestnuts roasting, and the aroma of food cooking draw in large crowds.
It's the perfect time for a glass of "Glühwein" (mulled wine). This stall is beautifully decorated with the nativity scene, reminding us of the reason for celebrating this season. 

In France, most big Christmas markets, always, have a manger scene. What started out as a celebration of St. Nick's feast, changed to a celebration of the Infant Jesus during the Reformation in Northern France, patterned after the Christkindelmarket.

This is the longest running Christmas market, it seems. After the holidays, you have the new year - up to January 10, 2017, to spend some of your wintry days at the Champs Elysee's Les Villages de Noel. 

May I wish you a hopeful and prosperous new year!

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