By Edgar Bequet
After several years of cancellation due to the covid epidemic, the Christmas markets are finally back, without health restrictions, all over the country. Mask not mandatory, end of gauges, this event delights visitors and tourists and above all brings smiles to the business of merchants.
Tourists are back
The smell of hot wine and tartiflette is felt as soon as you enter in the Tuileries Christmas market in Paris. Despite the polar cold of this month of December, visitors stroll by the hundreds in the aisles. Here, you have a significant proportion of tourists, especially foreign. « It’s been a very long time since we’ve been to Paris and it’s good to find the city in this Christmas spirit », explains Linda and Martin, two tourists from London. Here, we gather in front of food and drink vendors, such as Chez Vincent. A good news for Tony, the stand manager. « Last year, with the covid, I saw very few tourists. Now, it hasn’t stopped for a few days. Tourists spend lavishly on food. We don’t really feel the inflation with our foreign customers. » Words confirmed by a couple of Korean tourists, hand in hand. « We’re going to take advantage of this market to go drink hot wine and try to find snails, typical French food ! »
The only downside : the rides which, during the day, attract very few people. « In the evening we work well but the day is much too quiet. I’m betting everything on this weekend, the last before Christmas ! » hopes Christophe, at the head of a duck pond stand. « I have a family attraction. During the day and the week, there are not many children walking around. The vacation period will do us good. »
The tourists we met, Koreans and Americans, intend to spend their money on the Christmas market. To discover what they have to say, look at the following videos:
Same fervor beyond the peripheral
« Last weekend, nearly 100,000 visitors strolled through on La Défense Christmas market in Nanterre. This is more than 50% compared to last year », says Pauline Thibault, communications manager for 2A Organisation. The company supervise five Christmas markets in France, including Nantes, Angers, Rouen and Boulogne-Billancourt. « In Boulogne, the results were already very good last year, it is a market that often attracts people », explains the organizing company.
On this market precisely, not the shadow of a tourist. Here, it is mainly locals who spend a lot of money, as indicated by Nicolas Monnier, truffle producer and present on the market for several years. « Despite a small drop with inflation compared to last year, the purchasing power of Boulogne residents remains high », reveals the man who heads the Diamant Noir du Vaucluse. « It’s fun buying. With everything going on in the world, our customers want to treat themselves to quality items. » About forty chalets adorn the large town square, nearly half of which are restaurants and foods. The merchants are mainly Parisians or from Boulogne, because it is difficult to find small local producers to set up. « A Christmas market lasts 24 days. With the big time slots, it’s complicated for them to come and abandon their breeding », summarizes Solène Coue, sales manager of the company organizing the market. There are still about ten days left to take advantage of these markets. The majority of them pack up from December 24 in the evening.