Fifteen million visitors will have to take a rain check on one of the highlights of Christmas season in Paris, the big Christmas Market along the Champs Elysees, between the Rond Point and Concord. It's been cancelled in a dispute with its long-time operator over what it should represent.
It's a great social experience, with food vendors, lights, music and market stalls selling, in theory, Christmas gifts. For the past nine years, it's been operated by Marcel Campion, self-styled "king of the fairground," but Paris city councillors have been unhappy over high-priced fast food and stalls full of cheap merchandise from China.
The Councillor responsible for tourism, Jean-Francois Martins, said that "wasn't good enough for Paris...the end of year festivities do not depend on a market selling churros and products made in Asia." He, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo say that they raised these issues with Campion but saw no change.
Over the summer, the City Council voted unanimously not to renew the contract, and to offer it out for bids, with Campion eligible to compete. In the meantime, Campion has inspired demonstrations and blockages by vendors, and has ordered his workers to begin setting up as usual along the Champs. Obviously, a story in progress...keep tuned.