There are few things more magical than waking up on Christmas morning and exchanging gifts with loved ones under a tinsel-covered tree, but waking up to see the Eiffel Tower and a basket of fresh croissants in Paris could do the trick. The City of Light dazzles more than ever during the holidays, when the cobbled streets and department stores sparkle with Christmas lights and there is festive fun in every district.
While you may need to put dreams of a white Christmas on the back burner, Paris rarely gets much more than a snow dust — there is no shortage of romantic ways of spend winter days therebe it on a moonlit cruise on the Seine or under the warm glow of a heated terrace with a glass of wine in hand.
From the most majestic settings for Christmas concerts to the best places to shop, stay and have fun, here you will find everything you need to know to fully enjoy the most wonderful time of the year in Paris.
Sip mulled wine at the Christmas markets.
christmas markets in Paris they are more like winter villages, with dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of Swiss-style wooden chalets doling out mulled wine (hot mulled wine), raclette sandwiches oozing with cheese, and made-in-French souvenirs to take home for everyone who watches your Instagram feed with envy.
Markets begin to appear around the city in late November and last throughout the New Year, ranging in size from a handful of stalls to over 300. For more quaint and picturesque experiences, head to the markets at Notre Dame or the across the river at the Hôtel de Ville, where you can expect a dash of Christmas trees (Christmas trees), a hot chocolate vendor, a light show at dusk, and groups of children running to the carousel. For larger scale productions, you’ll want to head over to the magic of christmas (The Magic of Christmas) in the Jardin des Tuileries, a sprawling Christmas market turned carnival. Further away, at the end of metro line 1, is the largest market in all of Paris: La Défense. This 350-stall market is located in the heart of the shopping district at the base of the Grand Arch, a modern monument that offers a panoramic view of the entire spectacle.
Shop window display in decorated department store.
A beloved Parisian pastime is the art of showcase, either window-shopping, though it literally translates to window-licking, which is probably what you’ll be tempted to do when faced with the delicious displays at Paris’s. department store.
There are four department stores, each with its own over-the-top winter wonderland that you can look out of the windows or while warming up inside. Galeries Lafayette Y spring hausmann, located a stone’s throw from each other, both boast splendid Christmas trees that are adorned under their art nouveau domes. Le BHV Marais and the good market Go all out with your decor, too, with the latter’s iconic criss-cross escalator dripping with white lights and snowflakes.
Beyond the big four, the samaritan is another must-see department store, celebrating its second Christmas after reopening last year after a 16-year closure and a major renovation backed by LVMH. The beautiful Belle Époque building is worth seeing at any time of year, but like most of Paris, it shines with extra charm during the holidays.
Stroll under the twinkling lights of the Champs Elysées.
Lined with high-end boutiques, Paris’ famous avenue hardly needs a glow, but that’s exactly what it gets every winter, thanks to 400 trees hung in vibrant red lights. The glittering spectacle, called La Flamboyance, stretches from the Arc de Triomphe to the Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde, where you can take a spin before exploring the Tuileries Christmas market.
If you’re eager to see more about how the City of Light lives up to its name during the holidays, consider a Christmas Lights Open Top Bus Tourwhere you can snuggle under a blanket and stroll through the city to see the sparkling sights from new heights.
Enjoy a Christmas concert of classical music in one of the famous churches of the city.
Drinking champagne in church may not be the holiest way to celebrate Christmas, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable. The churches of Paris are worth a visit for their magnificent architecture alone, and in addition to religious services, some of the city’s most picturesque options host concerts in their hallowed halls, such as the Sainte-Chapelle. Located on the Île de la Cité, the island where Paris was first founded, this striking Gothic church is the former home of the kings of France and hosts classical music concerts under the impressive stained glass windows until New Years. (For an additional fee, they offer a champagne and tapas pairing.) Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are already sold out, so buy your tickets quickly if you’re hoping to experience it for yourself.
Sail down the Seine on Christmas Eve.
While Paris is a city best seen on foot, it’s a joy to see it from a new point of view, and there’s no better way to do so than from a Seine cruise. Tours run daily year-round, but a handful of vendors promote special christmas offers including five-course meals, champagne and more on Christmas Eve and Christmas. Just be sure to book as soon as possible, as they are likely to sell out.
Dress for the ballet at the Palais Garnier.
Put on your most French finery and go out to enjoy an elegant evening in palace garrison, an opera house built at the request of Emperor Napoleon III in the mid-19th century. The building itself is an architectural marvel and is available to tour daily from 10 am to 5 pm, except when evening performances are scheduled. There are several performances this winter, but don’t miss “” by the famous German choreographer Pina Bausch.Contact”, his third work performed by the Paris Opera Ballet. (Book as soon as possible, as tickets sell out quickly.) Enjoy the show under the technicolor roof that is Marc Chagall’s masterpiece, paying homage to famous composers and artists.
Ice skate against iconic backdrops.
When visiting the Tuileries Christmas Market, you might want to sip your mulled wine in your stride for a chance to lace up your skates and glide down the enchanting ice rink, surrounded by wooden chalets and the smell of Nutella crepes. Various ice rinks have come and gone in Paris over the years, and the pandemic has affected closures as well. While which ones will reopen this year remain to be seen, highlights from the past that we hope to see return include a rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, another under the glass dome of the Grand Palais, and one smack dab in the middle. de la Marais, on the square of the Hôtel de Ville.
Eat, drink and be merry.
Many places close during the week between Christmas and New Years, so if you’ve Instagrammed restaurants for months, you’ll want to confirm that they’re open on their website (or their Instagram page, as that’s often more than today). . If so, make sure you book well in advance to get a table. Please note that many restaurants will offer fixed price menus.
Enjoy a stay in the most luxurious hotels in Paris.
Can you imagine a better Christmas present for yourself than waking up in a luxury hotel bed to a view of the Eiffel Tower? Perhaps a stress-melting massage at a fancy spa? Fortunately, both are on sale if you’re looking to splurge on fancy accommodations during your trip. In the historic center of the city is The Meurice hotelwhere you can peer into the arcades along Rue de Rivoli as your skin is gently pushed to perfection during a glow-inducing facial at Maison Valmont for Le Meurice Spa. You can then head down to the lobby to kick back with a martini for some late-night jazz at Bar 228the intimate Philippe Starck-designed wood-panelled bar with heavenly frescoed ceilings.
When it comes to living like royalty, it’s hard to beat the timeless elegance of the Ritz Pariswho recently revamped their astrology theme Ritz Bar and will decorate your halls in a festive style. Other sumptuous excavations include Vosges Courta unique pied-à-terre at once modern and classic, where you can prepare for the day as you gaze out over Place des Vosges, the oldest square in Paris.