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CHRISTMAS

Paris carnival workers threaten to strike if Christmas market doesn’t go ahead

Fairground workers on the Champs-Elysees have promised to bring Paris to a standstill if the Christmas market doesn't go ahead this year.

Paris carnival workers threaten to strike if Christmas market doesn't go ahead
Photo: AFP

Many would argue that Christmas just isn't Christmas in Paris without the Champs-Elysées market and fairground. 

And they’ll find out on Friday if that fate awaits the French capital this year, with the Paris police prefecture set to decide on whether it will allow the event to take place. 

Paris officials already ruled in the summer that the event wouldn't go ahead, at least not if it's organized by Marcel Campion, the so-called “King of fairground workers”, as it has been in recent years. 

But Campion on Thursday threatened “to block Paris” if the decision wasn't reversed.

Campion, who is set to meet with Paris officials on Friday, said that there has been a disagreement over the fine print in the contract as to whether it was a 2-year or 6-year deal, according to French media reports. 

In any case, Campion and his army of workers have no intentions of leaving quietly. 

They’ve already been unceremoniously towed away by police after trying to set up stalls earlier this week. 

And it won’t end there, at least according to Campion.

He has threatened that if he is not given the green light by the city’s officials on Friday, then he will stage protests and block off major roads in Paris to bring it to a standstill. 

“If the event is cancelled then we will start protests on Monday and hold them every day. Paris will be blocked,” Campion told reporters. 

He added that up to 2,000 jobs were at risk if the event was cancelled. 

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“We don’t want compensation, we want our jobs. Most people here do not have a cheque waiting for them at the end of the month,” he added.

It remains unclear if the Paris officials will authorize anyone at all to organize markets on the Champs-Elysees, or indeed if the event will be cancelled totally. 

WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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