Christmas on the Champs-Élysées

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The Champs-Élysées as sun sets – no German market to make the area tacky and no overpriced items for visitors to buy!

For the last nine years there has been a Christmas market in the Champs-Élysées. The organisers claim that the market, which has over 200 stalls, draws over 1.5 million visitors to Paris per year.

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the council decided not to allow the market this year claiming that it was tacky and overpriced. A court has now upheld that view so, whilst there will be other markets in other parts of Paris such as Montparnasse and near the Eiffel Tower, the one in the Champs-Élysées will not open this year.

The council has also now decided that the Paris Wheel, (like the London Eye) on Place de la Concorde ( also owned by the same person who organises the Christmas market on the Champs-Élysées has to go saying that it damages the historic appearance of the Place de la Concorde. What is the historic appearance? The wheel, large as it is, doesn’t overwhelm the monument and probably draws additional tourists to the area.

You could argue that the council doesn’t seem to recognise  that Christmas has become tacky as commercialisation has triumphed over the religious significance of the event. And people like tacky otherwise there would be no market for fridge magnets. If it is unacceptable to have a Christmas market in the Champs-Élysées why isn’t it tacky to have it near the Eiffel Tower? Both are Parisian icons; both attract millions each year and yet one can get away with having a tacky venture and one cannot.

If people didn’t like the market they wouldn’t visit? If the argument is solely that items are overpriced people wouldn’t buy anything and the organisers would close it down. That they aren’t doing that suggests people don’t have a problem with the prices.

What the incident suggests is that this year, it is the Paris council that is donning the Scrooge mantle.

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