Thinking of spending Christmas in Paris? Glittering lights, pretty decorations and Christmas markets create a magical atmosphere, with carol concerts, ice skating and special store displays to celebrate the winter season. The weather may be crisp – with even a sprinkling of snow – but that just makes the cafés and restaurants all the more cozy, ideal for sampling French holiday treats. Here’s some festive inspiration for enjoying a wonderful winter holiday in Paris!
Festive Lights and Christmas Shopping
Expect to see twinkling lights illuminating key monuments, squares and streets during Christmas in Paris, alongside Christmas trees and colorful decorations. Head for iconic Avenue des Champs-Élysées for the most sparkly affair, lit up all night on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Alternatively, wander Avenue Montaigne, Boulevard Haussmann, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Place Vendôme or villagey Montmartre for some of the best seasonal displays. Usually on show from mid-November, many lights stay up until early January to brighten the holidays through New Year in Paris.
Ice Skating in Paris
For a truly memorable experience of Christmas in Paris hit the ice rinks. Ice skating in Paris, hosted outside from November through to January, is an enchanting highlight of the winter season. There’s usually a rink in the Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre and in Champ de Mars by the Eiffel Tower, both part of bustling Christmas Markets.
Traditional Christmas Markets – or Marchés de Noël – are popular in Paris offering winter cheer, fun fairs, festive food and drink stalls, and seasonal shopping. From November onwards, they brighten up town everywhere from Les Halles to Notre-Dame Cathedral, Hôtel de Ville, the Tuileries Garden, La Défense, Montmartre, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Trocadéro and Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower. Expect wooden chalets, Alpine decorations, folksy crafts, regional produce and sweet treats, hot chocolate and vin chaud (hot mulled wine). Specialist English, Swedish, Alsatian and Japanese Christmas markets are also held. Even local street and food markets get in on the action. Here’s a list of Paris Christmas Markets for 2021.
Department Store Holiday Sparkle
French shops pull out all the stops for Christmas and New Year in Paris, from lights to trees, fabulous foliage, music, animations, elaborate decorations and themed window dressing. Discover dreamy displays from all the big designer brands, such as fashion house Hermès, as well as the famous Paris department stores, including Le Bon Marché, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le BHV Marais and La Samaritaine. You’ll also find gorgeous gifts and toys in-store, plus seasonal drinks and dining. For more tempting festive food, visit La Grande Épicerie de Paris.
Eiffel Tower Gets Merry
Stunning all year round, with its vibrant nightly light displays, the Eiffel Tower is especially showstopping over the holiday season at Christmas and New Year. The tree-dotted gardens below are free to visit, with enchanting mood lights and snowflake effects. Traditionally transformed for winter, the first-floor terrace boasts igloo-like transparent lounge domes, festive foods, kids’ tours and even visits from Santa.
Holiday Church Services
Get into the festive spirit at one of Paris’s inspiring churches. Many host special services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well as atmospheric carol concerts, organ recitals and candle-lit midnight masses in the run-up to Christmas and over the winter season. Beautiful Paris churches include Église Saint-Sulpice and Église Saint Germain des Prés in the 6th, the American Church in Paris in the 7th arrondissement (for English-language worship), Église de la Madeleine in the 8th and domed Sacré Coeur Basilica in Montmartre. Gorgeous Gothic chapel Sainte-Chapelle also hosts classical concerts around Christmas.
Christmas in Paris with Paris Perfect
For a magical Christmas or New Year in Paris, it’s hard to beat a stay at one of our Paris Perfect rental apartments in superb central locations, including the ever so charming La Place Dauphine apartments on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris. All offer stylish interiors for enjoying your own festive gathering or meal, and many also have balcony views of Paris’s twinkling lights including the spectacular Eiffel Tower. Merry Christmas!