This post on Christmas Markets in France on Points and Miles comes from our Digital Business Manager, Megan Condello. We know many of you are interested in Christmas Markets so we were thrilled to get her report. Here it is, in her words:
It is very rare for me to repeat a visit to a city, but for some reason, Paris keeps pulling me back again and again. Last December, my sister, sister-in-law, and I met in Paris for four full days of visiting Christmas markets in France. This was my eighth time to the City of Lights, but the first time using points and miles to visit Paris. We flew into Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and then visited Reims, Strasbourg, and Colmar by train. Each city has its own special European Christmas markets that are sure to get you into the Christmas spirit.
I booked my flight using United miles from my United MileagePlus card sign-up bonus. This was before the recent devaluation of United miles. I flew from my small airport in Rochester, NY, to Newark, where I had a few-hour layover before my flight to Paris.
My sister and sister-in-law flew from Pittsburgh on American. They booked their flights with miles earned from their AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard.
We left on a Tuesday evening and arrived early Wednesday morning. My sisters arrived before me and then waited on the other side of customs until I arrived. We took the RER B into Chatelet Les Halles station, transferred to RER A to Auber, then walked about five minutes from Auber station to the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. I had referred my sister to the Chase Sapphire Preferred, and she generously booked us two nights at the Park Hyatt with her points transferred from Chase to Hyatt.
Our room was a deluxe room that had a king bed and a twin rollaway bed (for an additional fee of $95/night). Even having three adults in the room, it was very spacious, and the beds were super comfortable. (You can check out Jess’ full review of the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome here.)
Since we arrived at the hotel so early in the day (around 9 am), we didn’t expect to get into our room. However, we checked in, and they allowed us to use the spa area to freshen up and get changed for the day. We then left our bags with the hotel, made a short stop at Angelina’s for breakfast and their famous hot chocolate then went out exploring.
We easily walked 10+ miles all over Paris. The Park Hyatt Paris was the perfect jumping-off point. It is easy to walk or hop on the metro to the major sites like the Champs-Elysees, to the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Galeries Lafayette Haussmann, and Sacre Coeur.
There are a number of Christmas markets in Paris. Some are rather large, and some much, much smaller. While in Montmartre, we visited the Place des Abbesses Christmas Market. This was the smallest French Christmas Market that we visited on this trip (about 15-20 chalets in total). Its size didn’t make it any less charming or magical.
After some exploring, it was time to get into our hotel room. We took a minute to change and then headed out to La Magie de Noël (“The Magic of Christmas”) market in the Jardin des Tuileries. This is near the Louvre. This is the biggest Marché de Noël within Paris. It stretches along the garden’s entire north edge from Rue des Pyramides to Place de la Concorde. We checked out all the stalls, ate yummy food, and drank some mulled wine before returning to the Park Hyatt for the night.
The next morning (Thursday), we hopped on an early 7 am train to Reims. We had pre-arranged tours of Veuve Clicquot and Ruinart. With Veuve Clicquot, we booked the “Taste the Vintage” tour to start at 9:30 am. The tour lasted 1.5 hrs, and we enjoyed a tasting of two glasses at the end. We visited the historic chalk pits and the history of the champagne. Madame Clicquot invented the champagne processes and is credited for elevating champagne to elite social circles (some cool female history here!).
We walked over to Le Jardin for lunch then headed to Ruinart for the 2pm “The Crayeres” tour. We also booked this one ahead of time. The tour was two hours and included a tasting of two champagnes. The tour included exploring the Crayères. These chalk quarries were classified as a historical monument in 1931 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. Their champagne house dates back to 1729!
As we walked back to the train station, we saw the Marche de Noel de Reims in the town square. We spent a few hours before heading back to Paris for the night.
On Friday morning, we checked out of the Park Hyatt in Paris and took a morning train to Strasbourg. If you’re wondering where to stay in Strasbourg for Christmas markets, I’d recommend our next hotel, the Maison Rouge Strasbourg Hotel & Spa, Autograph Collection. This hotel was booked on Marriott points from my husband’s Bonvoy Boundless card and it had availability for rooms that sleep three adults. It also was right outside the main square of Strasbourg, and we could walk to the Strasbourg Christmas market in a few minutes.
We took the 11 am train to Colmar and spent the morning and early afternoon there exploring Colmar Christmas markets. We headed back to Strasbourg in the afternoon, wandered the Old Town, and checked out every stall in the Strasbourg Christmas Market. Strasbourg calls itself the “Capital of Christmas” and it did not disappoint!
Saturday morning, we took the train from Strasbourg back to Paris. We checked into our final hotel, Hotel Indigo Paris booked on IHG points from my IHG personal card sign-up bonus. The Hotel Indigo Paris also had rooms that fit three adults, so that was another win for us!
It was smaller and seemed more like a boutique hotel. It was rather new and clean. The location is very close to the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome. We actually got off at the same metro station to get to this hotel. Hotel Indigo Paris was also a perfect location to walk or hop on the metro to get to most of the major tourist sites in Paris. (For more Hyatt hotel options in Paris, check out this post.)
Saturday was our final day in Paris, so we walked over to the Louvre and Notre Dame since we didn’t get to them on the first day. Then we hopped on the metro to go to La Défense Marché de Noël. This Paris Christmas Market was a huge Christmas Market along the Esplanade at La Défense. The Defense Christmas Market boasts 350 chalets, making it the largest in the Paris region and one of the largest Christmas markets in France.
After visiting all the stalls throughout this market, we headed back to the Hotel Indigo Paris for our final night then flew home the next morning.
Megan had an amazing time at the Christmas Markets in France on points and miles. What a great girl’s trip, made possible by the signup bonuses from credit cards! Have you been to a Christmas Market?
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