10 Festive Things to do in Paris for the Christmas Season

Where to get into the Christmas spirit in the City of Lights

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  • 09 December 2019
  • • 5 min read

Paris during the Christmas season is always a delight, so if you’re thinking of going on a weekend city break this winter, the City of Lights is a magical choice. Walk down the beautiful Champs D'elysees and admire the festive lights, drink vin chaud at the Christmas markets, indulge in a French cheese and wine in cosy Parisian bistro or ice skate in front of the Eiffel Tower. There are plenty of heartwarming things to do in Paris during the festive season so we’ve rounded up the best Christmas activities that will give you that warm, cosy festive feeling in the run up to the 25th December...

Explore the magical Christmas markets

There are some really awesome Christmas markets that open up around Paris over the festive season; the biggest one being the one at the Tuileries Garden.  This market transforms into a magical winter wonderland each year with over 100 stalls, fun rides and an ice rink. Soak up the Christmas atmosphere and buy some festive trinkets, gobble up some French crepes or melt-in-the-mouth raclette and sip on vin chaud.

Other notable Christmas markets in Paris include the Notre Dame Christmas market (which remains open this year despite its tragic destruction), the Abbesses Christmas market in Montmartre and the Village de Noel at Champs De Mars.

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See the Christmas Lights

It’s called the City of Lights for a reason! Paris goes all out for the festive season with its beautiful Christmas lights which can be found in different locations throughout the city. You simply can’t miss the Christmas lights along the Champs Elysees, Paris’ most iconic street. Here, a million sparkling white and blue lights adorn streets trees between the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomph. You can catch the lights anytime from 5pm - 2am throughout December.

Avenue Montaigne, a luxury shopping street not far from the Champs Elysees also boasts some incredible glowing lights. Two of our favourite Christmas lights in the city are on Boulevard Haussmann (in the 8th arrondissement) where the display is quirky, electric and colourful. And then there’s Bercy Village which has more of a traditional, authentic feel with warm, glowing lights and beautifully-lit trees. The Saint-Germain neighbourhood is another lit-up area to check out to see some magical Christmas lights on several different avenues in the area. 

Admire the extravagant window displays

Paris’ department stores go all out for the Christmas season with elaborate window displays to lure people in for the festive season. The displays are lavish, colourful and amazing to look at so if you fancy some window shopping go to the Galleries Lafayette in the 9th arrondissement. This is an upmarket department store in the French capital and every year for Christmas, the window displays champion the rest of the city. Bon Marche and Au Printemps also both have incredible window displays.

Indulge in French festive food

The best thing about Christmas is all of the delicious festive food we get to eat, so where better to indulge than in Paris? French cuisine is renowned for being one of the best in the world and during the festive season, food from the Alsace region is eaten throughout the country. Alsace is known as the home of Christmas, famous for being one of the best Christmas markets in the world. In the Parisian bistros, cafes and patisseries, you’ll see some delicious Alsace-inspired dishes on the menu as well as melt-in-the-mouth Parisian dishes. Think delicacies like French cheese, Alsace chutneys, roast turkey, guinea fowl, raclette, French crepes, macarons and more!

Plus, the aperitif game is strong in France! Foie gras, lobster, oysters, caviar, escargot and tasty bite-sized treats.

Ice skating

Fancy going for a Christmas skate in Paris? There are some awesome ice rinks in the city where you can soak up the winter atmosphere. Le Grand Palais is popular ice rink in the city, or if you want to skate with a view, the Champ de Mars ice rink overlooks the Eiffel Tower. Can’t get a better view than that. The Tuileries Garden Christmas market also has a massive ice rinks where you can rent some skates and take to the ice amidst a festive Christmas atmosphere.

Disneyland Paris

Just an hour away from Paris is Disneyland. If you’re a Disney fan, take a day trip out of the city and spend the festive season in the happiest place in the world. Feel the magic of Christmas at Disneyland Paris from the 9th of November until the 6th of January. Disneyland goes all out for the festive period with songs from Frozen blasting through the park, Christmas-decorations everywhere and Disney characters running around in Christmas costumes. The Christmas lights of Town Square, the famous Disney parade and the amazing firework display are just a few of the things worth going for, not to mention all of the amazing rides! 

Christmas tree at Galleries Lafayette

There is no better Christmas tree in Paris than the one at Galleries Lafayette. If you head inside the store there’s a giant, elaborately-decorated Christmas tree. Every year, the Christmas tree boasts a different theme and the one for 2019/2020 is probably our favourite yet. A glittering, pink, floral tree topped with a giant moving fairy! You have to check it out and you’ll instantly feel Christmassy!

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