How to Spend Christmas in Paris


How to Spend Christmas in Paris by Paris Perfect Galeries Lafayette

Christmas may be the most beautiful time of year to be in Paris! The City of Light dazzles with festive holiday illuminations, choirs, concerts, and events to delight everyone, young and old alike. Christmas in Paris tends to bring out the children in all of us, so whether you’re traveling with children or not, take a moment to enjoy all this fabulous city has to offer at Christmas time.

Christmas in Paris

Here are some of our favorite holiday happenings to make your Christmas in Paris extra special.

Ice Skating

There are many places around the city to ice skate, including Hotel du Ville and the Grand Palais.

Marche de Noel- 7 French Christmas Traditions to Adopt by Paris Perfect

Christmas Markets

Wooden chalets line the streets with festive holiday markets, or Marché de Noel. Vendors set up a beautiful array of festive goods to tempt you with unique gift items and handcrafted specialties. You’ll find artwork, jewelry, toys and delicious sweets.  Warm up with some Vin Chaud. There are nearly a dozen different markets to choose from. You’ll find a full list of the markets here.

Christmas Lights

Paris sparkles in all her glory as thousands of lights illuminate buildings, bridges, churches, and monuments.  It gets dark early in winter, so plan to stroll in a different neighborhood each evening to take in the holiday magic.  We love the grand department store Galeries Lafayette, which is bathed in lights both outside and inside. And don’t miss the child-pleasing, elaborate animated window displays. They put a riser in front of each window so even the smallest children can get a good view.

The trees along the Champs Elysees are enrobed in thousands of twinkling lights, and climb aboard the huge Ferris wheel near Place la Concorde for a dazzling view of the city lights. And while you’re strolling, stop and enjoy a steaming Nutella crepe or roasted chestnuts from the street vendors.

Notre Dame

Yes, it’s touristy, but is a beautiful place to visit, and not nearly as crowded as visiting in summer.

7 French Christmas Traditions to Adopt by Paris Perfect Notre Dame

There’s a lovely tree on display in the front courtyard, and we hope the beautiful lighted Nativity triptych panels are still on display.  Walk around to the back of the altar and look up, as the Nativity story is retold in beautiful lighted panels that come to life one story at a time.  Photos don’t do justice!

Here is the link to main Notre Dame Cathedrale website in English, which lists upcoming Christmas concerts and choirs, as well as the Mass schedule.  Please check the Notre Dame website for alternatives due to the 2019 fire.

Traditional Holiday Food

Réveillon is the term for the traditional holiday family dinner on Christmas Eve or New Year’s.  Christmas in Paris is all about eating “en famille”, enjoying the best France has to offer. Fresh oysters from the Brittany coast and fois gras from the Dordogne, along with champagne, are served as appetizers, often followed by beef or duck. Our family enjoys daube de boeuf, which is a slow-simmered beef stew, marinated in wine and herbs. For dessert, the tradition cake is the Buche de Noel, or Yule Log. Pierre Herme is one of our favorites, but for good value, Picard always has good pastries as well.

7 French Christmas Traditions to Adopt by Paris Perfect

We think this is an interesting twist on the traditional Yule Log, non?

Many restaurants will be closed on Christmas Day, so make reservations for Dec. 24 if you want to enjoy a nice holiday dinner out.  Enjoy 3-star dining just across the river from our Paris Vacation Rentals at the Four Seasons George V or the Plaza Atheneé.  A beautiful walk across the Alma Bridge.

Or if you’re staying in one of our luxury apartments, you can prepare your own holiday feast in your fully equipped kitchen to enjoy with your loved ones.  And remember, you don’t have to slave away all day in the kitchen; you can purchase many holiday items as “take out” (emporter). The Rue Cler market in the 7th is a favorite.

7 French Christmas Traditions to Adopt by Paris Perfect

And for the Epiphany on Jan. 6, you must try the Gallette des Rois, or King’s Cake. You’ll see these round golden cakes in the windows of almost every patisserie and boulangerie.

The cakes are made of puff pastry, with almond pastry cream, sometimes adorned with dried fruits, and are often given as gifts to commemorate the Wise Men’s gifts to the Christ child.

Disney Christmas

If you’re looking for a treat for the children, Disneyland Paris has Santa, special holiday shows, festive decorations, and brilliant lights the kids are sure to love.

From all of us at Paris Perfect, we’d like to say thank you to all our guests, friends, and followers. We wish you a joyous holiday season and blessings in the New Year, whether you’re spending Christmas in Paris or elsewhere.

Joyeux Noel & Bonne Année!
Madelyn, Philippe, and the entire Paris Perfect Team

24 Responses to “How to Spend Christmas in Paris”

  1. Paulette Carter says:

    Loved your Christmas e-mail and photos. Looking forward to coming back to Paris soon, and maybe even spending Christmas there some day. Joyeux Noel!

  2. Stephan says:

    This is truly a keeper. How I would love to spend a Christmas in Paris. My three weeks there were late Spring/early Summer and I loved it. Even the Disney blog that I subscribe to has posted photos of Disneyland Paris after the first snowfall. Magical!
    My best wishes to all of you at Paris Perfect for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

  3. Megan says:

    Beautiful! I now have photos to use to convince my family that Christmas in Paris would be festive! Thanks for all your updates… looking forward to visiting again soon.

    Happy Holidays!

  4. Jay Kunkle says:

    I wish I were there! We had hoped to be in Paris for Christmas this year, but it didn’t work out. Perhaps next year. We will be there this summer!
    Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee

  5. Sheryl Wells says:

    I have been to Paris quite a few times, but never at Christmas! I so hope to be there one Christmas!

    How beautiful!


  6. Linda Heiliger says:

    Thank you for sharing these lovely images. We have stayed in one of your lovely apartments, post Christmas, and these pictures make Paris look even more wonderful. A happy holiday to you and your superb staff.

  7. Nicole Poirier says:

    December 23, 2010 at 13:24 hr

    We have visited Paris , and lived in one of your fabulous apartments. Our best memories ever of our many trips in Europe. Paris is magical all year round, and it would be nice to see it at Christmas.
    Your photos are fabulous, it makes us wish we where there.
    We hope to visit you again soon, and keep up the good work.
    Our best wishes to all of you at Paris Perfect for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Nicole and Normand from Québec, Canada

  8. Jill Sangster says:

    Thank you for sending those beautiful scenes of Paris at Christmas which I throroughly enjoyed. We will not be there until April 2nd so it was appreciated to be able to delight in your holiday season.

    Merry Christmas to all at Haven in Paris from whom I have had the very best of service,


  9. Michelle Patterson says:

    I have been to Paris so many time and my goal is spend Christmas and New Year in the City of Lights.

    I just love having my morning coffee (or hot chocolate) at Angelina and then walking my way throught the street to galerie lafayette.

    erry Christmas and Happy New Year to all at Paris Perfect and I will be back in your beautiful city 2012.

  10. Sussi Thuré says:

    The photos of Paris are really good……but reality is even better, We enjoy our usual stay in Pinot for Christmas even if this years snow and cold weather makes it a bit different.
    Sussi & Per-Åke

  11. Susan Gordon says:

    Thank you so much for the beautiful Christmas in Paris tour. We wish we were there, but your lovely photos transported us and provided a calming interlude to a hectic, pre-Christmas day.
    Joyeux Noel!
    Susan & Stephen

  12. Diane Vannucci says:

    As we are approaching our visit in July, the monthly emails are bringing the dream to a reality. Are the markets mentioned in this newletter open year round or just for the holidays? Wishing everyone a prosperous New Year!! Diane Vannucci

  13. Jennifer Steffy says:

    Thank you for the lovely pictures! I hope to celebrate Christmas is Paris soon, with all my family.


  14. Christie Mullen says:

    I had no idea Paris was so alive at Christmas! Thanks. We had such a wonderful family experience with Paris Perfect our son and his girlfriend are returning in Feb for a stay in one of your apartments.

  15. Paris France Trip says:

    Looks like I have been to most of these Paris spots. I was lucky enough to enjoy a 5 day vacation in Paris France – how I am so fortunate to have finally see the Eiffel tower, the champs ellysee, seine river (bateaux mouches), the Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral, the Louvre..the best city there is. Outside of France, I also was able to enjoy a day at the Euro Disney. I can’t ask for anything more!

  16. Rebecca says:

    Thank you for the beautiful photos and your updates on life in Paris ,your emails mean a lot to me as they keep the memories of my brilliant stay there ever fresh in my mind.I am thankful that you are my connection to life on the other side of the planet.I cant wait to return.I tell all my friends how truly amazing your apartments and locations are. Greetings from Sydney Australia & Happy New Year 2011 to all at P.P

  17. Judy Harrison says:

    Greetings Madelyn and the entire Paris Perfect Team! Reading about Christmas in Paris has made my mind up about next Christmas! My husband and I will be renting one of your wonderful apartments and spending our holiday there! We can’t wait!! You all did a fabulous job describing what it is like there during the holiday season. That really helped us in making up our minds. We have stayed in one of your apartments before and it was like living in the lap of luxury! We can’t wait for our next visit!
    P.S. I must say that I am jealous you had so much snow for the holidays! I’m sure it made the scenery even more beautiful!

  18. Judy Harrison says:

    P.S.S. Skating on the Eiffel Tower sounds amazing! I had no idea that you could do that! How fun would that be?!!

  19. Mirna says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos and ideas about what to do and see during the holiday season. While we live in China at the moment, we will someday return to Paris to live permanently, as my husband is french and I can’t wait to spend Christmas in Paris; it just sounds magical!

  20. madelyn says:

    Hi Diane, please accept my apologies for my belated response. The Christmas markets are only open for the holidays but the wonderful open air food markets are open all year long!

  21. Sally Peabody says:

    This is a wonderful list. Nicely done! From skating to feasting French-style. Thanks and joyeux noel!

    Sally Peabody
    Your Great Days in Paris

  22. Martin says:

    Great article I’m packing my skates already!

  23. Madelyn says:

    Thanks, Martin! Paris at Christmastime is magical. Have a wonderful trip!

  24. Student Perspective: Christmas in France | Missouri Global says:

    […] 7. Jean Pierre Dalbera. Paris Perfect. […]

Leave a Reply

View Our Privacy Policy