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CHRISTMAS

Champs-Elysées Christmas market finds new home

The Champs-Elysées Christmas market has found a new illustrious address after it was cancelled in 2017 due to a dispute between the main organiser and Paris City Hall.

Champs-Elysées Christmas market finds new home
Camps-Elysees Christmas market. Photo: AFP
Those who consider it one of the highlights of the festive season in Paris will no doubt be filled with early Christmas joy at the news that the French capital's seasonal market will be back this year. 
 
However rather than being located on the world's “most famous avenue” festive revellers will instead find it at another, equally illustrious location — the Tuileries gardens situated right in front of the Louvre. 
 
Cancelled in 2017 due to an ongoing feud between the City and market organiser, the “fairground King” Marcel Campion, the newly named “Magic of Christmas” market will take place from November 18th to January 9th on the plot rented out by the Louvre for a whopping one million euros. 
 
The Tuileries Gardens in the snow. Photo: AFP
 
Part of the reason behind the cancellation of the market in 2017 was a desire on the part of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo to improve the quality of what's on offer than any attempt to kill the City of Light's Christmas spirit.
 
However the decision did not go down well with Campion and his fairground workers.
 
They decided to protest by blocking the main arteries into the city, with their actions causing monstrous traffic jams around Paris. 
 
But because this year Campion will be renting out private land, he does not need permission from City Hall.  
 
And in fact, it was the presidential palace, the Elysee that approved the new location after Campion pleaded his case at the Ministry of Culture, seemingly much to the displeasure of the City of Paris.
 
“If that's the case, it's a big mistake for the government,” said a spokesperson close to Hidalgo, according to AFP.
 
Nevertheless, Campion, who was accused by the Paris Mayor of selling goods mostly made in China rather than France has addressed Hidalgo's concern, saying that this year 80 percent of the stands will be selling French goods. 
 
This year's market in the Tuileries will include one hundred cottages, a dozen rides and a large ice rink.
 
When the market was located on the Champs-Elysées it attracted some 15 million visitors every year. 

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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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