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French court backs scrapping of Champs-Elysées Christmas market

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French court backs scrapping of Champs-Elysées Christmas market
Photo: AFP
16:40 CET+01:00
A French court has backed Paris City Hall's controversial decision to cancel the famous Champs-Elysées Christmas market.
The judge ruled that the request to have the decision overturned by the event organiser Marcel Campion's was "unacceptable" because it was made "after the contract expired." 
 
The court pointed out that the contract ended on October 12th. 
 
The news will no doubt have come as a massive disappointment to 77-year-old Campion who has been publicly feuding with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo over the decision to scrap the market on the city's most famous avenue.
 
After trying to make his point by staging two days of protests which blocked the main roads into the capital and caused monstrous traffic jams around the city, Campion known as "king of the fairground" made his appeal to the administrative court on November 6th.
 
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Why there won't be a Christmas market on the Champs-Elysées this yearPhoto: AFP

Each year some 15 million visitors stroll around the stalls on the city's most famous avenue but in July Paris officials voted "unanimously" to end the event, at least in its current incarnation. 
 
On the face of it that decision sounds ludicrous at a time when Paris is fighting to bring back tourists after many were persuaded to stay away due to terror fears.
 
But it is not a case of Paris officials crying "bah humbug".
 
The decision to scrap the market is more down to an ongoing feud and a desire to improve the quality of what's on offer than any attempt by the Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to kill the City of Light's Christmas spirit.
 
For the past nine years, Campion has been in charge of the event but Paris councillors felt that it wasn't right for the French capital. 
 
Jean-François Martins, in charge of tourism at City Hall justified the decision to scrap the market by basically arguing "it wasn't good enough for Paris."
 
For Martins the problem was that most of the goods on sale at the market were made in China rather than France and he described the stalls as all "rotten".
 
"The end of year festivities do not depend on a market selling churros and products made in Asia," said Martins.
 
"You can't make a profit out of Paris without quality products. That's what we've been telling Campion (pictured below, right, alongside Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, centre) for two years and we haven't seen any efforts on his part, hence the vote this summer," he added. 
 
 
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