There is nothing like this special holiday where the lights are up, people are bundled up in their winter clothes, eating good food, and being with friends and family! Unlike the States, where you have to get through Thanksgiving to start preparing for Christmas, in Paris, they jump right into the Christmas season starting mid-November! It creates even more hype and excitement, I love it!
When prepping for the holidays, the local Christmas markets here is definitely where its at. There are several but I went for the two biggest ones – one at Champs-Elysée stretching from Concorde to Arc de Triomphe, and the other one at La
Defense. Since Champs-Elysée is only a few metro stops away from me, I’ve been venturing to that one, especially at night when I’m so sick of studying and just want a sip of that tasty vin chaud (Gluwhein).
Hot wine took at two tries for me to like, and now I love it and I have to get it whenever I go there. I am not entire sure how the process works for making vin chaud, but I’m sure that it’s because of the heating process that you can really smell the fruitiness of the wine. My first cup tasted odd. I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. Good thing I had split that one with friends. The second time I had it was at La Defense, and I had it with some creole style food and it tasted good. I think it was the combination of the greasy and fattiness of the food with the wine that made it good. The third time, I had it with sandwich de raclette avec le saucisson…to quote my friend “it’s everything you want in life.” Raclette is a type of swiss cheese and a swiss dish where you melt the cheese, scrap it off and put it on bread.
Another thing thats worth a try is the tartiflette. I pointed it out to my friends while we were walking around. I asked if they wanted it. I got a unanimous answer; there was zero hesitation. There was a bit of a line, but we didn’t care. We devoured it within minutes. Tartiflette is a French dish from the Savoie region, made with potatoes, reblochon cheese, onions, and bacon. Essentially, it’s melted cheese and potatoes. When made properly, its creamy. A lot of stands actually have them too dry. They serve it with sausages too.
I also really like marrons chaud, the roasted chestnuts. They have them almost everywhere! When you’re walking around the Christmas market and pondering what to eat, this is great as a snack to munch on. It’s super hot though, and just a reminder that you do have to peel off the skin before eating it. When my friend first got it, she just put the whole thing in her mouth hahaha…
There are some stands at that also offer soup. Although it tastes only so-so, it just makes you feel so good when you’re standing in the cold. There’s a place that has pretty great mushroom soup though, so be on the look out for that!
Note: a lot of the food stands offer the same exact thing! Definitely make sure you see what your options are before you eat. Some places do make it better or à la demande.