Paris Mayor Hidalgo, The Grinch Who Stole a Christmas Market?
A municipal court in Paris has sided with Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her order to eliminate a popular Christmas market that she thinks is not refined enough to justify its exorbitant prices.
For nearly 10 years, the Christmas market at the iconic Champs-Élysées featured more than 200 stalls selling all kinds of decorations, toys, trinkets, souvenirs, novelty items, and funfair food. This particular market provides seasonal jobs to hundreds of Parisians, but it has also been accused of being a kitschy tourist trap that does not conform to the stylish ambiance that Mayor Hidalgo wants to preserve around Paris.
The Mayor has criticized the market for its exorbitant prices and for the poor quality of the products offered, which she believes run counter to the cultural distinction of the Champs-Élysées. On social media, a television personality agreed with the Mayor, explaining that the Corsican stalls were manned by sellers who were certainly not from the island, and who sell unauthentic sausages for up to 30 euro. Politicians from the far-right spectrum have criticized Mayor Hidalgo by stating thats she is eliminating jobs and ruining Christmas for visitors who have previously enjoyed the market.
The court's decision to ban the Christmas market was made despite an appeal by Marcel Campion, a French businessman who has amassed a fortune in the Paris funfair industry. As can be expected, Monsieur Campion has not reacted well to this decision; he has gone on television to denounce Mayor Hidalgo, calling her crazy, and he has deployed a fleet of cargo trucks to slow down traffic around the city.
Monsieur Campion has a sketchy record of administrative issues related to his funfair operations. He has been accused of applying trickery to obtain permits to operate a giant Ferris wheel, and he has also been suspected of forging documents.
Christmas Market Alternatives in Paris
Now that the Christmas market has been canceled, it is up to Mayor Hidalgo to find ways to cheer up the Champs-Élysées during the holiday season, during which the legendary avenue is expected to welcome 15 million visitors. She has called for events and displays that are not not "mediocre" like the funfair operations managed by Monsieur Campion.
Fans of Christmas markets in Paris will still have plenty of options this year; for example, the Mercatino di Natale will open in Notre-Dame on December 16 and will continue until the 23. Another Mercatino will operate in the Montparnasse on the same days.
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