Every year Christmas markets attract 30 million people visitors in France. Fifteen million of those visit one or more of the 250 chalets along the Champs-Elysées for the Paris Christmas market. If you are stuck in traffic this week, the carnival operators (forains) are conducting an “escargot” (snail) slowing down and blocking traffic with their semi trucks on the expressways. They want to set up their chalets on the Champs-Elysées.
(Note: Ideas where to find other Paris Christmas markets are at the end of this story.)
After your emotion subsides over the holiday non-event and the traffic event, look behind the scenes for those running the Christmas Market. There is a court problem with the promoter (i.e., carnival promoter, Marcel Campion – also known for his giant Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde). There was a contract, the city decided not to renew.
Look at the quality of the products sold at the Christmas markets. Where is the food or the decorations made. Look at where the money goes from the Champs-Elysées and the Ferris wheel (into the pockets of the City of Paris? probably not).
Slowing down traffic with the “escargot” is a popular act nowadays among syndicates like taxi drivers, politicians, long-haul truck drivers, etc. to draw attention to a disenchantment or disagreement.
The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo,’s committee said “no more” in July 2017. A two-year contract signed in 2015 between the city and the promoter expired. The carnival operators, were very disenchanted with the decision.
The city is working on a plan for 2018 to replace the chalets along the Champs-Elysées.
Lists of Paris Christmas markets (Marchés de Noël) are usually published the first week in December. One example to look for is in Le Figaro.fr (original markets from 2016). Another is the website called Le Guide des Marchés de Noël. Sortir à Paris provides a list of Christmas markets by arrondissements.