As Christmas approaches, Paris and its surroundings are getting ready to turn into magical winter wonderlands. The fabulous light festivals in Paris are back to enlighten the French capital and the Île-de-France region during the autumn and winter evenings.
But what exactly is a festival of lights? It’s a magical event taking place at nightfall, an enchanted stroll in the middle of bright and colorful installations which are often accompanied by music for an even more beautifully immersive experience! The light routes and festivals in Paris are ideal for those visiting Paris with kids.
Are you curious about these winter festivals in Paris for the 2023-2024 edition? Then keep reading!
TIP: check out the sunset times in Paris in the winter (spoiler: it’s very early!).
Paris Light Festivals This Year
1. Jardin des Plantes’ Festival of Lights
The Festival of Lights at the Jardin des Plantes is hitting its 5th season! From 22 November 2023 to 21 January 2024, Paris’ main botanical garden will be transformed into tropical forests with the theme “La Jungle en Voie d’Illumination.”
Get ready to enter the Jardin des Plantes, built in the 17th century under the orders of King Louis XIII’s physician, for an enchanting walk to discover the extraordinary diversity of rainforests and how the amazing ecosystems of our planet work.
One of the best immersive experiences in Paris, this Paris light festival is one of the top winter activities in Paris. Illuminated sculptures of spectacular and unusual species, from fearsome felines to giant and colorful flowers, create an immersive exhibition you will hardly forget.
2. Christmas Illuminations in Paris’ Parc Floral
From 28 November 2023 to 7 January 2024, as night falls, the Parc Floral of Paris becomes the venue of “L’Odyssée Lumineuse,” a showcase of China’s ancient art in a profusion of colorful lights that take the forms of mythical animals, gigantic sculptures, and sumptuous decors.
To bring this dreamlike world to life, 40 Chinese craftsmen created magical lanterns and the most beautiful sculptures that are loved by children and adults alike.
The Parc Floral is inside the Bois de Vincennes, Paris’ largest public park. The Bois de Vincennes is located in Paris’ 12th arrondissement – Click here for more information and tickets
3. An Arty Stroll in Paris
The beautiful Parc de la Villette, in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, will host the “Art in Nature” event from 16 November 2023 to 21 January 2024. This year’s theme is entirely dedicated to the fantasmagorical world of Salvador Dalí, transformed into giant light installations and interactive light shows.
Get ready to admire Dalí’s most popular surrealist works lit up, from the Eléphant de Triomphe to the Le Profil du temps (the famous melting watch).
This luminous stroll through the world of Dalí takes place in Paris’ third largest park, Parc de la Villette, which houses among the largest concentrations of cultural venues in the city, including the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie – Click here for more information and tickets
More seasonal activities in Paris:
4. Lanterns Festival in Thoiry
The Thoiry Safari Park and Zoo is just one hour east of Paris and will host a not-to-be-missed winter event again this year. The “Thoiry Lumières Sauvages” returns for its 6th edition from 29 October 2023 to 10 March 2024 to delight the whole family.
Get lost in France’s largest labyrinth, completely illuminated for the occasion with 500 never-before-seen illuminations. Admire everything from Asia’s imposing temples to the Arctic’s polar bears for an unforgettable time.
If you are interested in visiting the Lantern Festival in Thoiry, know that you can either purchase a ticket to the festival only or a combo ticket that gives you access to the festival and the entire Zoo-safari. The best way to reach Thoiry is by car, but you can also take a TER train from Paris Saint-Lazare to Mantes-la-Jolie and then a 78 Express bus to the venue (1 hr 40 min one way) – Click here for more information and tickets
5. Festival Dragons and Lanterns at Jardin d’Acclimatation Paris
The Jardin d’Acclimatation, the only funfair inside Paris, has something special in store for this year: it will host Shanghai’s famous “Dragons and Lanterns” event for the first time in Europe!
From 15 December 2023 to 25 February 2024, the Jardin d’Acclimatation welcomes a fabulous world of light and poetry based on traditional Chinese culture. Embark on a night journey through the legendary world of Shanhaijing, the “book of mounts and seas,” a classic of Chinese literature with thousand lanterns in the form of dragons and other phantasmagorical creatures. The event also includes Chinese craft workshops, folk dancing, and martial arts.
You will find the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the 16th arrondissement – Click here for more information and tickets
Don’t miss the best exhibitions in Paris at this time of the year:
6. Lumières en Seine at Parc Saint Cloud
From 17 November 2023, the Parc Saint Cloud, located east of Paris in the Hauts-de-Seine department, will host the “Lumières en Seine” for the third year in a row.
Close 2023 and welcome 2024 with a beautiful 2-kilometer-long nocturnal walk dotted by illuminated paintings and sculptures. One of the best light routes in Paris this year, the sensory experience couldn’t be complete without tasting the warm and soul-comforting delicious local cuisine served in food stalls along the river bank.
You will enjoy the Lumières en Seine, even more, knowing that the event is environmentally friendly as it is made up of 100% reusable LED lighting, which helps to limit energy consumption – Click here for more information and tickets
7. Grand Noël at Vaux-le-Vicomte
The stunning Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, one of the best castles near Paris, will be the venue for the “Grand Noël” event. From 18 November 2023 to 7 January 2024, the Vaux-le-Vicomte will become the most fairytale castle near Paris, thanks to the countless Christmas lights, festive decorations, and wintery activities.
Get ready to become Nicolas Fouquet’s guests for a day and participate in family-friendly activities for a wonderful experience!
Vaux-le-Vicomte is located in Maincy, 55 kilometers southeast of Paris. Upon your arrival at the estate, you will be dressed in a red velvet cape, and then you will be free to stroll inside the Château and outside in its gardens to soak up the winter and Christmas atmosphere.
TIP: Visit two of the most beautiful châteaux in Paris, Vaux-le-Vicomte + Fontainebleau, at Christmas time with this Grand Noël combo tour!
8. Paris’ Christmas Illuminations and the Christmas Shop Windows
There’s no need to attend a special event to live the magic that winter and Christmas are in Paris. The whole city gets festive illuminations, and all the big department stores’ windows are transformed into surprising works of art.
You can spend hours strolling around the city and admiring the Christmas lights in Paris. Famous shopping malls like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussmann, Le BHV Marais, The Samaritaine, and Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche will be adorned with stunning festive decorations created by gifted artists and designers in true Parisian fashion. The covered passages of Paris will also be beautifully illuminated.
A good way to explore the Christmas lights in Paris is with a local guide who knows where to go to see the most beautiful places. You can opt for a Christmas lights walking tour or a Christmas guided bike tour if you want to cover more ground. Some of the hop-on, hop-off buses in Paris also have special Christmas illumination tours – Check out this fun open-top Christmas bus tour by Tootbus
Then, head to one of the Christmas Markets in Paris for a more than deserved vin chaud (mulled wine).
Get ready to be amazed by the 2023-2024 light festivals in Paris! Which Paris light festivals would you like to enjoy right now?