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11/10/22

Paris at Christmas Time [2022]

When it comes to things to do in Paris at Christmas time, we Parisians are spoilt for choice. The City of Light 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 during Christmas? Do you want to spend Christmas in Paris? This article gives information and many ideas of things to do in Paris at Christmas 2022.

Christmas in Paris

Paris Christmas 2022 FAQ

How does Paris celebrate Christmas?

Christmas celebration in Paris is spent 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 like to attend Christmas Mass.

Does Paris have Christmas Markets?

YES! The most popular Christmas Markets in Paris are the Eiffel Tower Christmas Market, the Trocadéro Christmas Market, and the Tuileries Christmas Market.

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 hope!

Where to buy Christmas decorations in Paris?

It depends on the kind of Christmas decorations you are looking for. A great place for fancy Christmas shopping in Paris is the Grands Boulevards, to department stores like Galeries Lafayette, La Samaritaine, or Printemps. If you are looking for traditional Christmas decorations and wooden things in the Christmas Markets.

Weather in Paris During Christmas

Paris in the Winter

On the days around Christmas, Paris can be chilly, but the temperature rarely goes below 0ºC. However, the weather is cold and wet, so we recommend adding warm clothes and shoes to your Paris packing list. Below, some ideas on what to wear during your Paris Christmas holidays:

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.

Where to Stay in Paris at Christmas

If you want to spend Christmas in Paris, we recommend staying central. In general, the central districts of Paris have the best Christmas decorations and the best Christmas atmosphere.

There are many good hotels near the Louvre Museum for all budgets. Hotels in the Marais (Paris 3 and 4), or the hotels in the Latin Quarter are good options too.

However, there’s no right or wrong answer it depends on what you like and the kind of trip you are planning (budget vs. luxury, solo vs. couple, family trip…). In the posts below, you will find some suggestions and a quick guide to our favorite neighborhoods.

Best Things to Do in Paris at Christmas 2022

Paris is a wonderful city to visit at any time of year. At Christmas, Paris is even more magical, with the streets, squares, and shop fronts lit up by thousands of twinkling lights. Come to Paris to spend Christmas and New Year’s in one of the best Christmas destinations in Europe.

Below, we list our favorite things to do in Paris at Christmas time. For more activities and seasonal tips, check out our articles on December in Paris and Winter in Paris.

1. Visit the Christmas Markets in Paris 2022

Paris Christmas Markets

Take some time out from the Paris tourist attractions to visit some of the Christmas Markets in Paris. Hundreds of wooden chalets will tempt you with unique gifts, traditional Christmas decorations, and culinary delights.

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)
  • Marché de Noël Notre Dame de Paris (Paris 5)
  • Eiffel Tower Christmas Market (Paris 7)
  • La Défense Christmas Market

2. Drink Vin-chaud

Vin Chaud Paris

Vin-chaud (mulled wine) is Parisians’ favorite winter warmer, especially during Christmas time. This is one of the Christmas traditions in Paris, and we locals enjoy drinking vin-chaud, especially with friends.

This festive drink is made of hot red wine mixed with sugar, orange, and spices like cinnamon. You can find vin-chaud in the Paris Christmas markets and most of the bars and cafes across the city.

3. Get Ideas for Your Christmas Dinner in Paris 2022

Christmas Food Festival

Christmas food festivals or Christmas food tours are great for sampling holiday treats and learning about France’s Christmas food traditions.

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 wine and champagne. Visit the different stands, talk to the exhibitors, and get inspired!

You can also join this Christmas Gourmet Tour in Saint Germain-des-Près. The neighborhood of Saint Germain is well known for its chocolate and pastries shops, and it also has a small Christmas market.

Learn how to make the perfect gourmet Christmas dinner during this 3.5-hour cooking class (small group) with a Parisian chef. Prepare a delicious 3-course meal from the best seasonal ingredients, then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

4. Enjoy the Paris Christmas Decorations and Lights

Paris Christmas Lights and Decorations

At Christmas, Paris’ most beautiful monuments 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 decorations of Champs-ÉlyséesAvenue MontaignePlace Vendôme, or Montmartre. More than ever, Christmas in Paris is a moveable feast!

The Open-top Christmas Lights Bus Tour is a great way to enjoy the Paris Christmas lights and decorations. This 1.5-hour bus tour comes with a hot drink, an audio guide, and personal earphones playing traditional Christmas songs.

You can also discover Paris at Christmas on two wheels with this guided bike tour. Take in the illuminated Paris landmarks as you pedal along on a real Dutch bike after dark.

5. 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). The shop windows at BHV Marais, facing the Hotel de Ville in Paris 4, are beautiful too.

These Christmas shop windows are usually sponsored by luxury brands and show dreamlike worlds with animated figures. If possible, try to visit these Christmas shop windows during the week; the area gets crazy on weekends!

Galeries Lafayette Christmas

Galeries Lafayette is also famous for hosting one of the most beautiful Christmas Trees in Paris. It is located under its magnificent glass cupola, and it usually comes with a short Christmas show every hour.

TIP: This top-rated walking tour explores the charming covered passages with its tiny boutiques, the famous displays at the Grands Magasins, and the French gastronomic specialties of Paris at Christmas 2022.

6. Explore the Covered Passages of Paris

Galerie Vivienne Paris

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

Don’t miss their elegant cafés and vintage shops; the covered passages are among the top hidden gems in Paris!

7. Go Ice Skating

Ice skating - Paris at Christmas

After all the sweets, chocolate, and Christmas food, a bit of sport is always a good idea. Ice skating is a fun and popular activity during Christmas in Paris, and you’ll find many ice skating rinks set for the holidays.

Here’s the list of the most popular ice skating rinks in Paris at Christmas time:

  • Tour Eiffel (Paris 7): on the first floor of the tower [TBC]
  • Grand Palais (Paris 8): under the glass cupola [TBC]
  • Hôtel de Ville (Paris 4): right in front of the beautiful building [TBC]
  • Grande Arche (Paris 8): on the top of the Grande Arche with a great view of Paris [TBC]
  • Jardin des Tuileries (Paris 1): inside the Christmas Market
  • Galeries Lafayette (Paris 9): on the rooftop! [TBC]
  • Accor Arena’s skating rink in Bercy (Paris 12)

8. Vintage Funfair at Musée des Arts Forains

Musée des Arts Forains - Old Carousel

Looking for unique things to do in Paris at Christmas 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 Christmas in Paris.

From 26 December 2022 to 2 January 2023, this museum of fairground rides and stalls hosts the Festival du Merveilleux (Wonder Festival), with storytellers, magicians, musicians, dancers, and of course, wonderful rides!

Considered one of the most beautiful museums in 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 Time

Disneyland Paris, France

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

Check out our quick guide to Christmas in Disneyland Paris and this Disneyland Paris crowd calendar to enjoy Disneyland Paris’ Christmas celebrations without the longest lines. If possible, book your Disney tickets well in advance (Christmas is the high season in Disneyland Paris!).

A day trip to Disneyland Paris is very easy to organize. To save money and the hassle of taking public transportation, consider the bundle Disneyland Paris tickets + Disneyland Paris Express. The bus Disneyland Paris Express has three departure points in the city and takes you to the park before it opens and returns to Paris at 9 pm.

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 Paris Festival of Lights

Lights Festival Paris - dinosaur

The Paris Festival of Lights is one of the best events during Christmas 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 four years ago with a fantastic exhibition of creatures that disappeared millions of years ago or are currently threatened by human activity or climate change. After its big success, the Festival of Lights was back in 2019-2020, with an exhibition named Océan en Voie d’Illumination (Illuminated Ocean). 

Don’t miss the Festival of Lights 2022 – Le Monde du Minuscule – with an exhibition dedicated to the insects and other little beasts on this planet (14 November 2022 to 15 January 2023).

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 day at the 17th-century Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, one of the most beautiful castles near Paris. 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 the Kings and Queens for the day!

Note: this event hasn’t been confirmed yet

12. Day Trip to Colmar for a Unique Christmas Experience

If you have one spare day in Paris, hop on a train to Alsace for more Christmas fun. Set in some of the region’s most picturesque cities, towns, and villages, a visit to the Christmas markets in Alsace is both a shopping experience and a destination discovery.

Colmar is a wonderful city to explore on a day trip from Paris and is revered for its annual Christmas market. Actually, the Colmar Christmas Market is voted year after year as one of the best Christmas markets in Europe!

A sublime ‘light path’ takes the visitors to discover Colmar’s six Christmas markets, each nestled in an idyllic setting and with its own identity and theme.

Check out how to plan your trip from Paris to the Colmar Christmas Market. Colmar is a coveted destination during Christmas time so book your train tickets well in advance!

How to Spend Christmas Eve in Paris

The night before Christmas in Paris (24th December) 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 good restaurant for your Christmas Dinner in Paris 2022? Not all restaurants are open during Christmas Eve, 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 in Paris, there are always some interesting proposals:

SEINE RIVER CRUISES

Take a Seine River Cruise with a Christmas dinner and sail the Seine River with the city lit up for the holidays; this can be a memorable experience! Click here to book your Christmas Dinner Cruise

PARISIAN CABARET SHOW + DINNER

If you are looking for a more festive way to spend Christmas Eve in Paris, head to a Parisian cabaret with a special Christmas Eve Dinner + Cabaret Show. Not all the cabarets are open for Christmas Eve, 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 quick guide to the best cabarets in Paris.

CHRISTMAS MASS

To celebrate Christmas more traditionally, go to the church for Christmas Mass. Most of the churches in Paris organize vigils and masses. Still, for such a special occasion, we recommend the Sacré-Cœur Basilica (Montmartre) or the Madeleine Church (Paris 8), 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
11 pm

25 December
7 am, 11 am, 6 pm, and 10 pm

 Christmas Masses at Sainte Madeleine Church  (Right Bank)

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

25 December
10:30 am, 6:00 pm

Christmas Masses at Saint-Sulpice Church (Left Bank)

24 December
6.30 pm
11 pm: Christmas vigil sang and Midnight Mass

25 December
7 am, 9 am, 11 am, 6.30 pm

 Église Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Left Bank)

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

24 December
7 pm
10 pm

25 December
11 am, 7 pm

Americans visiting Paris and looking for celebrations similar to those in the US can head to the American Cathedral in Paris or the American Church in Paris.

The American Cathedral in Paris – 23 avenue Georges V, Paris 8

  • 24 December: 5 pm and 10 pm
  • 25 December: 11 am and 12 pm

The American Church in Paris – 65 Quai d’Orsay, Paris 7

  • 25 December traditional worship: 11 am
  • 25 December contemporary worship: 2 pm

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 above), and long strolls in the parks to digest the Christmas dinner, don’t expect much going on in Paris.

THE EIFFEL TOWER

The Eiffel Tower never closes for holidays! You can climb up the Eiffel Tower every day of the year, sun or rain Click here to book your Eiffel Tower tickets

Some of the city’s top attractions, however, are open on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and also 1st January, so it is a good idea to keep them for these holiday days when everything else is closed.

LOUVRE MUSEUM

It is possible to visit the Louvre Museum on 24 and 31 December (as long as they don’t fall on Tuesday) but the museum is closed on Christmas Day Click here to book your Louvre Museum tickets

  • 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, and New Year’s Eve
  • Closed: Mondays

Click here to book your Orsay Museum tickets

CENTRE POMPIDOU

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

Click here to book your Centre Pompidou tickets

VERSAILLES

The Palace of Versailles is open on 31 December (unless it falls on Monday). The gardens, however, are always open Click here to book your Versailles tickets.

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

How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Paris [2022]

New Years in Paris

It’s never too early to make your plans for New Year’s Eve in Paris — plenty of parties and events sell out months in advance!

Here’s our list of fun things to do during New Year’s Eve in Paris. It contains daytime events and parties that go on well into the night to celebrate the new year.

And there you have it, the list of the best things to do during Christmas in Paris. Christmas is a wonderful time to be in the French capital, and we are sure that you will love it.

Click here to read more Paris Travel Tips

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Check what to do in Paris at Christmas time and get festive during Christmas in Paris 2019. Paris Christmas Markets, Disnelyand Paris, Christmas lights, and more


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