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Paris at Christmas Time 2019

10/30/19

 

Christmas in Paris 2019

When it comes to things to do in Paris at Christmas, we Parisians are spoilt for choice. The City of Lights is lit up even brighter and each Arrondissement of Paris has something festive going on. From glittering Christmas lights to traditional markets and Christmas shows, Paris is a Christmas wonderland and there’s simply no better place to be!

Are you planning a trip to Paris over Christmas? Do you want to know what to do in Paris at Christmas time? Go on reading…

Christmas in Paris

 

Christmas in Paris FAQ

How do Parisians celebrate Christmas in Paris?

Parisians usually celebrate Christmas in Paris with family and friends, usually around a delicious meal composed of traditional French food and some delicacies. Of course, there’s also wine, champagne, and sweets. Religious people also go to their nearest church to attend the Christmas Mass

What is there to do in Paris in December?

Paris is always a good idea and in December there are a lot of Christmas events and temporary exhibitions in the city. For more information on the most popular activities in Paris in December, have a look at our Winter in Paris post

Does Paris have Christmas Markets?

YES, a lot! The most popular Paris Christmas Markets are Eiffel Tower Christmas Market, Trocadero Christmas Market, and Tuileries Christmas Market. Click here to read about the best Paris Christmas markets.

Does it snow in Paris in December?

Snow in Paris in December is rare, it usually snows in January and February. However, there’s always a small chance of snow in Paris in December so don’t lose your hope!

Where to buy Christmas decorations in Paris?

It depends on the kind of Christmas decorations you are looking for. For fancy Christmas decorations head to Grands Boulevards, to department stores like Galeries Lafayette or Printemps Haussmann. Traditional Christmas decorations, wooden things etc can be found in the Christmas Markets of Paris.

 

Paris Weather during Christmas

Paris in the Winter

Although the temperatures in Paris in December can be chilly, they rarely go below 0ºC. However, the weather is cold and wet, with a small chance of snow, so we recommend adding warm clothes and shoes to your Paris Packing List.

Also, the chances of rain are high (15 days on average) so don’t forget your foldable travel umbrella for those rainy days in Paris.

 

Best things to do in Paris at Christmas 2019

Looking for things to do in Paris during Christmas? Here’s our guide to Christmas in Paris 2019 with the best Paris Christmas events so you can add some sparkle to your trip. 

NB. Some dates or activities are yet to be confirmed. We’ll be adding more details for Christmas 2019 events when they are announced, so keep checking back!

 

#1 Visit the Paris Christmas Markets

Paris Christmas Markets
Paris Christmas Markets

One of the main Christmas traditions in Paris is to visit the Paris Christmas Markets. From mid-November to early January, the city hosts many Christmas markets in different neighborhoods of Paris, and they are the perfect place to buy Christmas decorations, small presents, and seasonal staples.

Ok, the Paris Christmas Markets perhaps are not as interesting as the ones in Alsace or in Germany but they are a great place to hang out in the evenings for some Christmas shopping and a cup of warm drink. Here’s the list of the best Christmas Markets in Paris. 

  • Tuileries Christmas Market (Paris 1)
  • Marché de Noël de la canopée des Halles (Paris 1)
  • Saint-Germain Christmas Market (Paris 6)
  • Champs Elysées Christmas Market (Paris 8)
  • Marché de Noël de Notre Dame de Paris
  • Champ de Mars Christmas Market (Paris 7)
  • Trocadero Christmas Market – Also known as Eiffel Tower Christmas Market (Paris 16)
  • La Défense Christmas Market

 

#2 Warm up with a vin-chaud

Vin Chaud Paris

Vin-chaud is Parisians’ favorite winter warmer, especially during Christmas. This is another Christmas tradition in Paris, and us locals enjoy drinking vin-chaud especially with friends.

This festive drink is made of hot red wine mixed with sugar, orange and some spices like cinnamon. Vin-chaud usually comes with Christmas Markets but you can also find it in most of the bars and cafes across the city.

 

#3 Get some yummy ideas for your Christmas Menu

Christmas Food Festival

Sample holiday treats and learn about Christmas food traditions in France through a Christmas Food Festival or a Christmas food tour.

Salon Noël Gourmand Food Festival is dedicated to all those products which are somehow linked to Christmas and New Year celebrations: traditional French food, French pastries and of course lots of wine and champagne. Visit the different stands, talk to the exhibitors, and get inspired!

Alternatively, join a Christmas food tour around the neighborhood of Saint Germain des Près, in Paris 6. Saint Germain is well known for its chocolate and pastries shops.

TIP: this Paris Christmas Gourmet Food Tour had excellent reviews last year

 

If you prefer to stay indoors, this Christmas Chocolate Workshop sounds like a great idea for you.

#4 Enjoy the Paris Christmas Decorations and Paris Christmas Lights

Paris Christmas Lights
Paris Christmas Lights – Place Vendôme

With the festive season, the city’s most beautiful monuments are illuminated and the main avenues and squares are lit up with multi-colored bulbs and Christmas decorations.

During your Paris Christmas holidays don’t miss the Paris Christmas lights and Paris Christmas ornament at Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, Place Vendôme or Montmartre: more than ever, Paris is a moveable feast!

A great way to enjoy the Paris Christmas lights and decoration is with a 1.5-hour evening bus tour of the Paris Illuminations. This bus tour comes with a hot drink, audio guide and personal earphones playing Christmas songs.

TIP: This evening bus tour to see the Paris Christmas lights has great reviews!

 

#5 Christmas Shopping Paris: admire the department store windows

Christmas Shop Windows Paris

One of the most celebrated Christmas traditions in Paris is the decoration of the city’s shop windows. This is especially spectacular at Galeries Lafayette or Printemps Haussmann department stores (both on Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9). Their shop windows, usually sponsored by luxury brands, show dreamlike worlds with animated figures.

Galeries Lafayette Christmas

Galeries Lafayette is also famous for hosting one of the most beautiful Paris Christmas Tree, under its cupola, and it usually comes with a short Christmas show every hour. If possible, try to visit these shop windows during the week, the area gets crazy on weekends!

 

#6 Explore the Covered Passages of Paris

Galerie Vivienne Paris

If you are still missing some Christmas presents but you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, head to the covered passages of Paris. The Paris walkways are a world apart from the busy Grands Boulevards and their beautiful 18th-century architecture is usually decorated with festive ornaments during the Christmas holidays.

Don’t miss their elegant cafes and vintage shops, the covered passages are one of Paris’ best-kept secrets!

 

#7 Go ice skating

Ice skating - Paris at Christmas

After all the sweets, chocolate and Christmas lunch in Paris, a bit of sport is always a good idea. Ice skating is a fun and popular activity in Paris during Christmas and you’ll find outdoor ice skating rinks set for the holidays. Here’s the list of the most popular ice skating rinks in Paris during Christmas:

  • Tour Eiffel: Oon the first floor of the tower
  • Grand Palais: under the glass cupola
  • Hôtel de Ville: right in front of the beautiful building
  • Grande Arche: On the top of the Grande Arche with a great view of Paris
  • Jardin des Tuileries

 

We recommend the ice rink of Grand Palais: ice skating under its amazing glass cupola is even more magical.

 

#8 Go to the fair at Musée des Arts Forains

Musée Arts Forains

Looking for things to do in Paris at Christmas time with kids? Usually kept for cocktail parties and private events, the Musée des Arts Forains, in Paris 12, is exceptionally open to the public during the Christmas holidays.

From 26 December 2019 to 5 January 2020 this museum of fairground rides and stalls hosts the Festival du Merveilleux, with storytellers, magicians, musicians, dancers and of course wonderful rides! Considered one of the most beautiful museums of Paris (well, at least for us), the magical atmosphere of Musée des Arts Forains will delight kids and adults alike.

 

#9 Visit Disneyland Paris at Christmas

Disneyland Paris

In Disneyland Paris, Christmas is a big thing. Euro Disney is always a world apart, a magical world which becomes even more special during Christmas time with light shows and streets dripping in Christmas decorations.

Get the most out of Euro Disney Christmas without the lines with your Disney Skip the Line entrance tickets. You can catch the Disneyland Paris Express from three departure points which gets you to the park for 10 am and returns to the city at 9 pm for a full day of festivities.

TIP: do you want to extend your Disneyland experience? Spend one night at one of the Disneyland hotels

 

#10 Take an enchanted stroll at The Lights Festival

Light Festival Paris - Polar Bear

The Jardin des Plantes Light Show is one of the best events during winter in Paris. It is an enchanting experience, for kids and adults, with monumental light structures set in the alleys and pitches of Jardin des Plantes and Ménagerie in the Latin Quarter of Paris.

This magical show was inaugurated last year (2018-2019) with a fantastic exhibition on creatures that disappeared millions of years ago or currently threatened by human activity or climate change. After its big success, the Festival of Lights will be back from November 18  to January 20 with an exhibition named Océan en Voie d’Illumination (Illuminated Ocean). 

 

#11 Enjoy a Fairy Tale Day Trip at Château of Vaux-le-Vicomte

Vaux-le-Vicomte-Julien-Lauren

Photo courtesy: Vaux-le-Vicomte – Julien-Lauren ©

Spend an unforgettable Christmas at the 17th century Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. Visit the different rooms and halls, all in a festive Christmas atmosphere. Admire the beautiful, twinkling Christmas lights adorning the castle facades and the impressive gardens. Children can dress up in period costumes and play as Kings and Queens for the day!

 

How to spend Christmas Eve in Paris

The night before Christmas in Paris is usually spent with family and friends. Expect shops and businesses closed earlier than usual to let people get ready for the Christmas Dinner.

Looking for a beautiful restaurant for your Christmas Dinner in Paris? Not all the restaurants are open during Christmas Eve in Paris so if you have a specific restaurant in mind, check on its website if it is open, and book well in advance!

Best Seine Cruises in Paris

For a Christmas Eve Dinner, Paris has some special proposals. Take a Christmas Dinner Cruise and sail the Seine River with the city lit up for Christmas, this can be a memorable experience!

Click here to book your Seine Christmas Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens

 

If you are looking for a more festive way to spend Christmas Eve, head to a Parisian cabaret, with a special Christmas Eve Dinner + Cabaret Show. Not all the cabarets are open for the Christmas Eve dinner so book well in advance! This is the list of Parisian Cabarets proposing a Christmas Eve Dinner and Show:

TIP: Don’t know what is the best Cabaret in Paris for you? Check our Parisian Cabarets quick guide!

 

To celebrate Christmas in a traditional way, don’t hesitate to go into churches in Paris. Most of the churches of Paris will organize vigils and masses. For such a special occasion we recommend the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, or the Madeleine Church, both organizing prestigious celebrations on 24 and 25 December with exceptional choirs and concerts.

Christmas Masses at Basilique du Sacré Coeur de Montmartre (Right Bank)

24 December
6 pm: first evensong of Christmas
10 pm: organ concert
Midnight: Midnight Mass

25 December
11 am: solemn mass
4 pm: solemn Vespers
10 pm: Christmas Mass

 

 Christmas Masses at Sainte Madeleine Church  (Right Bank)

24 December
9:30 pm: doors open
10:00 pm: vigil and evening Mass

25 December
11:00 am: solemn verses
6:00 pm: Christmas Mass

 

Christmas Masses at Saint-Sulpice Church (Left Bank)

24 December
19 pm: Children mass
23 pm: Christmas vigil sang and Midnight Mass

25 December
1 am: Christmas High Mass

 

 Église Saint Germain des Prés (Left Bank)

Noted for its wonderful acoustics, it’s an ideal destination for Christmas Mass.

24 December
19 pm: Children mass
23 pm: Christmas vigil sang and midnight mass

25 December
1 am: Christmas High Mass

 

Americans in Paris looking for a similar celebration than at home can head to the American Cathedral in Paris or the American Church in Paris.

The American Cathedral in Paris

Christmas events to be defined.

 

The American Church in Paris

Christmas events to be defined.

 

What to do on Christmas Day in Paris

Winter in Paris

Christmas Day in Paris is a bit like the 15th of August: not much happens in the city. Apart from the Church services (information just above), don’t expect much going on in Paris.

We recommend doing the most touristy things in Paris, places like the Eiffel Tower never close for holidays! These are the opening times of the tourist attractions in Paris:

Louvre Museum

  • Open: Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve
  • Closed: Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
  • Closed: Tuesdays

Orsay Museum

  • Open: New Year’s Day
  • Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve
  • Closed: Mondays

Centre Pompidou

  • Open: New Year’s Eve
  • Closed: Christmas Day & New Year’s Day
  • Closed: Tuesdays

Versailles

  • Open: New Year’s Eve
  • Closed: Christmas Day
  • Closed: Mondays

 

Spending New Year’s Eve 2019 in Paris

New Years in Paris

It’s never too early to make your New Year’s Eve plans — plenty of parties and events sell out months in advance. Here’s our list of cool things to do during New Year’s Eve in Paris. It contains our best tips, daytime events, and parties that go on well into the night to see in 2020 with a bang.

 

We hope that you found some cool ideas during your Paris Christmas breaks. We’ll be adding more details for Christmas in Paris 2019 events when they are announced, so keep checking back!

 

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