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French market in 442nd year of operation

Nov. 24, 2012 at 11:50 AM

STRASBOURG, France, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- France's oldest Christmas market opened for the holiday season in Strasbourg Saturday for its 442nd year of operation.

The market is Strasbourg's biggest tourism draw throughout the year, Radio France Internationale reported.

About 300 chalets display seasonal gifts, including holiday decorations and nativity scenes, as well mulled wine, pretzels and pastries.

More than 500 cultural events will take place in Strasbourg during the month-long market, in cooperation with local churches and associations.

Strasbourg's municipality has invested 2.5 million euros ($3.5 million) into the annual market but its tourism experts say costs are offset by the employment benefits, with hundreds of jobs available to the local population during the event, as well as the tourism draw.

Two million visitors are expected to stop by the market this year.

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