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CHRISTMAS

French court backs scrapping of Champs-Elysées Christmas market

A French court has backed Paris City Hall's controversial decision to cancel the famous Champs-Elysées Christmas market.

French court backs scrapping of Champs-Elysées Christmas market
Photo: AFP
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. 
 
 

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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