December in Paris 2023
Are you visiting Paris in December 2023? December is a wonderful time to go to Paris. The Paris weather in December is cold and crisp, but the city is in full swing, with busy cafés, beautiful lights & decorations on the streets, and an interesting cultural program for locals and visitors alike.
And, of course, Christmas in Paris also means great shopping opportunities and seasonal activities for all the family!
What is Paris like in December? December in Paris has two main parts. While Paris in early December has a more local atmosphere, with locals doing the last Christmas shopping and visiting the recently inaugurated temporary exhibitions, the city becomes a favorite haunt of tourists once you hit Christmas week.
All considered, visiting Paris in December is wonderful; the city makes one of the best winter city breaks in Europe, but it’s a bit crowded with people. December in Paris is a great month for a cultural getaway, a festive getaway, and a shopping weekend. If you have decided to visit the French capital during the last month of the year, here is our guide to the best things to do in Paris in December 2023, with the main events in Paris December 2023 and packing tips so you know what to expect when you visit Paris in December.
Is Paris in December Busy? Crowds Forecast
Is December a good time to visit Paris? Years ago, Paris in early December was usually quiet. However, since most of the Paris Christmas markets decided to open their doors around the end of November, Paris in December is all time jam-packed with people, especially on the weekends.
The beginning of the month is still considered the low season in Paris, with better prices in transportation and accommodation, whilst Christmas week in Paris is the high season. However, we recommend booking everything well in advance if you want to visit Paris in December.
To optimize your time and avoid the longest lines, we recommend visiting temporary exhibitions during office hours when the locals are behind their desks. Book your tickets to temporary exhibitions well in advance.
Same advice for your Christmas shopping and the Christmas Markets in Paris: prioritize these activities for office hours and do more touristy things – less sexy for Parisians – on the weekends.
December in Paris is also the month for the year-end meetings in bars and restaurants with coworkers, friends, and family. On weekdays (especially Thursdays), bars and restaurants are busy with business meetings whilst the weekends are dedicated to friends and family.
If you have a specific place in mind for lunch or dinner for your Paris December trip, book well in advance.
Paris Weather in December
How is the weather in Paris in December? December is a winter month in the Northern Hemisphere and the Paris weather in December is cold.
If we stick to the statistics, the average temperature in Paris in December is 10C maximum and 5C minimum, with a 15% probability of rainfall.
Does it snow in December in Paris? If a white Christmas is what you are looking for, then Paris won’t fulfill your wish. Snow in Paris in December is rare, with an average of 1.8 snowfall days. And if it does fall, it melts in a matter of minutes, thanks to the city’s “high” temperatures. What you are likely to experience, however, is cloudy days and regular rainfall.
The Paris weather in December is not ideal for sightseeing and outdoor activities. If you decide to visit Paris in December, it is always good to have a B plan if it rains.
What to Wear in Paris in December 2023
What to wear in Paris in December? The key to dressing in Paris in the winter is a good, warm coat. Still, it is a good idea to dress in layers because in some places indoors (e.g., inside the Louvre!!) it is too warm and you are likely to be OK with a light sweater.
What to pack for Paris in December 2023? The weather in Paris in December calls for good walking shoes, warm socks, scarves, a good warm jacket, and a foldable umbrella. Here’s the ultimate guide to packing for Paris in December with clothes to be comfortable and stylish. If you need ideas on how to combine things to blend in with locals, check out our Fall /Winter style guides for men and women.
Before leaving home for your Paris December trip, it is a good idea to check the weather forecast (temperatures and rainfall) and review your packing list if necessary.
Best Tips for Visiting Paris in December 2023
Even if France is a secular Republic, all the Paris offices are closed during the Christmas week. That’s when the Parisians, independent of their religion, travel to their hometowns to spend some time with their families. If you have planned to visit other cities than Paris, book your train tickets well in advance.
If you are interested in visiting Alsace’s Christmas markets, book your train tickets and accommodation right now. Usually, you can buy train tickets up to 6 months in advance. Strasbourg, Colmar, and all the Alsatian villages are easy and popular Paris getaways among tourists visiting Paris in December.
24th December (Christmas Eve) is when families gather for a pre-Christmas dinner and when many people go to midnight mass. On the 24th of December, shops and tourist attractions usually close earlier. Expect restaurants and night attractions like the Parisian Cabarets to have special programs and menus, and they may require advance booking.
25th December (Christmas Day) is traditionally a day spent at home with the family. Paris looks pretty dead, and some attractions are closed or have different opening times. When planning a trip to Paris at Christmas time, double-check your favorite tourist attractions’ opening times.
31st December (New Year’s Eve) is usually a normal working day for most of the Paris tourist attractions and shops, but perhaps some of them close earlier. Expect restaurants and night attractions like the Parisian Cabarets to have special programs and menus, and they may require booking.
Always have a B plan for rainy days in Paris. If you need some ideas, check out our list of fun things to do during a rainy day in Paris.
As we mentioned above, December in Paris is a bit crowded with people. Have a look at this article on ways to avoid crowds in Paris, with our best local tips.
A week before the departure, look at our post on Transportation Strikes in Paris, which is always up to date. Just in case . . .
Need insurance for France? HeyMondo offers travelers insurance that combines medical and travel-related coverage for single trips (leisure and business trips), annual multi-trip, and extended stays (with COVID-19 coverage included). And you will get a 5% off for being a World in Paris reader! – Click here for more information and a quote for your trip
Best Things to Do in Paris in December 2023 (and Events in Paris December 2023)
What to do in Paris in December 2023? If you visit Paris in December for the first time, you may want to tick some of Paris’s top tourist attractions off your bucket list. The itineraries below are thought for people visiting Paris for the first time, and they are planned around the main attractions and the most interesting neighborhoods in Paris:
If you want to spend Christmas in Paris, check out our dedicated articles, with all the festive activities and best tips to get the most out of Christmas in Paris.
If you want to visit Paris for New Year’s celebrations, check out our dedicated article on what to do in Paris on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s the list of the best things to do in Paris in December 2023, the best places to visit in Paris in December, and the Paris events December 2023, other than the typical Christmas activities. Some of the dates and activities still need to be confirmed, so keep clicking for the latest updates.
TAKE A NIGHT SEINE RIVER CRUISE
Enjoy the Seine River, “Paris’ most beautiful Avenue,” with a Seine River night cruise. Admire the city, beautifully illuminated with Christmas lights and some of the main Paris tourist attractions, such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Invalides. It is difficult not to be in love with a view like this one!
TAKE A PASTRY OR CHOCOLATE TOUR IN PARIS
For December in Paris, the pastry and chocolate walking tours are the best. Learn about the traditional cakes and sweets during Christmas in France and admire the best pastry shops beautifully adorned for the festive season.
The neighborhood of Saint Germain-des-Prés in Paris 6 is very reputed for its beautiful pâtisseries and chocolate shops, and this Saint Germain Pastry and Chocolate Walking Tour always has great reviews.
A NIGHT OF CAN-CAN, FUN, AND BUBBLES IN A PARISIAN CABARET
There are many good Parisian cabarets – click here for the ultimate cabarets of Paris guide – and you can watch a cabaret show with or without dinner, but the full experience is more fun!
For Paris December 2023, we recommend booking your cabaret show well in advance, especially if you want to do a cabaret show during the Christmas week in Paris. The Moulin Rouge is the most popular cabaret show in Paris, but there are many more!
WALK THE COVERED PASSAGES OF PARIS
When Paris’ air gets cold and crisp, it is the perfect time to explore Paris’ most beautiful covered passages.
These covered walkways, all bathed in natural light, are Art Nouveau /Neoclassical architectural gems built in the 18th century, the kind of place to see and to be seen whilst doing some shopping or drinking at a café.
Most of the best passages in Paris are in Paris’ central districts, in Paris 1 or 2 (click here for our quick guide to the Covered Passages). If you know where to look, you will find delightful vintage boutiques, cute cafés, and other curiosity shops perfect for unique Christmas gifts.
VISIT THE CHURCHES OF PARIS
Visiting the churches of Paris is always a good idea, especially in Paris in December, when they are beautifully decorated for the Christmas celebrations.
The churches of Paris are always free to visit, and you have churches of all styles, from medieval churches to modern churches made of iron and concrete.
Unfortunately, Notre Dame is still closed to the public for restoration works. Still, the list of most popular churches in Paris includes other names like the Sacré Coeur – that you can visit during this Montmartre Walking Tour –, the church of Saint Germain des Prés (the oldest), or Sainte Étienne du Mont, which features the only jubé (rood screen) in Paris.
EXPLORE THE SQUARES OF PARIS
Paris is home to beautiful and elegant squares, great for a stroll and a coffee or some shopping. The squares of Paris in December are something not to miss, all beautifully illuminated and decorated for the festive season.
The royal squares of Paris (Place Vendôme, Place des Vosges …) are must-sites in the city, but we recommend going out of the beaten path for a taste of local life.
FIND YOUR FAVORITE PARISIAN CAFÉ FOR A HOT CHOCOLATE OR VIN-CHAUD
The picturesque Parisian cafés are always a good place for a break during the cold days of December in Paris.
Order a steaming cup of hot chocolate and cozy up with a good book, or – for a more festive afternoon –, enjoy a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) with your tribe.
VISIT THE CASTLES NEAR PARIS
The French castles are always great to visit, but they are stunning with the Christmas decorations inside the magnificent halls and gardens.
There are many interesting castles near Paris to visit, apart from the Château of Versailles. Some of these awesome French châteaux organize special events for the festive season, like Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte and their candle night evenings (Le Grand Noël).
VISIT THE HAPPIEST PLACE IN FRANCE
A day trip to Disneyland Paris is a wonderful way to get in the mood for the holidays, with special parades and Christmas shows. This year, Christmas in Disneyland Paris lasts two months, from 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024! Immerse yourself in a warm, festive atmosphere at Disneyland Paris, with light shows and streets adorned with Christmas decorations – Click here to buy your Disneyland Paris tickets
TIP: Extend your Disney experience, by spending one night or two at one of the hotels near Disneyland Paris with a free shuttle bus to the Parks.
ENJOY THE LIGHT ROUTES AND FESTIVALS OF PARIS
A light festival is 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 Festival of Lights at Jardin des Plantes is the most famous, but there are many other beautiful light routes and festivals in Paris and its region.
Jardin des Plantes’ Festival of Lights (Festival des Lumières in French) will take place from 22 November 2023 to 21 January 2024 at the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th Arrondissement of Paris. This Paris light show is a mesmerizing experience for all the family, with monumental light structures set in the alleys and pitches of this beautiful garden.
Every year the Festival of Lights comes with a different topic, usually aiming at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the endangered species of the planet Earth. This year 2023-2024, the exhibition takes us to the tropical forests with La Jungle en Voie d’Illumination, and we are sure that it will steal your heart.
HAVE FUN AT THE LANTERN FESTIVAL
If you are looking for unique and exciting experiences during your trip to Paris, consider booking an immersive experience. From light shows to virtual reality, immersive experiences are ideal for this time of the year, especially if you are traveling with your family.
The Atelier des Lumières has been offering immersive digital exhibitions since 2014. The last trend in Paris, however, is the “Aura Invalides,” an extraordinary experience through lights, video mapping, and orchestral music in the very heart of the Dôme des Invalides.
Here is a comprehensive list of the unique immersive experiences in Paris to book this month of December 2023, once-in-a-lifetime experiences not to be missed this year!
CHECK OUT THE TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS IN PARIS IN DECEMBER 2023
December in Paris is a great time for museum-going, especially when the weather is awful. If you have already visited Paris in the past, it is worth checking the list of temporary exhibitions in the main museums or art galleries because there are always good surprises.
In December, Paris always has an interesting cultural program for visitors and locals, usually with more free time during the holidays. Here’s the list of temporary exhibitions in museums and galleries for Paris in December 2023. Keep clicking for the latest updates!
Chagall, Paris – New York – Atélier des Lumières, from 17 February 2023 to 7 January 2024
Paul Klee, Painting Music – Atélier des Lumières, from 17 February 2023 to 7 January 2024
Notre Dame de Paris, from Builders to Restorers – Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, from 15 February 2023 to 29 April 2024
Yves Saint Laurent – Shapes and Forms – Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris, until 14 January 2024
Naples in Paris – Musée du Louvre, until 8 January 2024
Amedeo Modigliani. A painter and his dealer – Musée de l’Orangerie, from 20 September 2023 to 15 January 2024
La Mode en Mouvement – Palais Galliera, from 16 June 2023 to 15 March 2024
Bollywood Superstars! – Musée du Quai Branly, until 14 January 2024
Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise, the Final Months – Musée d’Orsay, from 3 October 2023 to 4 February 2024
American Mythologies – Bourse du Commerce – Collection Pinault, from 13 October 2023 to 19 February 2024
Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso – Musée du Luxembourg, until 28 January 2024
The Treasure of Notre Dame de Paris – Musée du Louvre, from 18 October 2023 to 29 January 2024
Le Paris de Gustave Eiffel – Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, from 26 July 2023 to 8 January 2024
Loading. Urban Art in the Digital Age – Grand Palais Immersif, from 6 December 2023 to 21 July 2024
Prehistomania – Musée de l’Homme, until 24 May 2024
Mark Rothko – Fondation Louis Vuitton, until 2 April 2024
Mike Kelley, Ghost and Spirit – Bourse du Commerce, until 19 February 2024
Victory-The Factory of Heroes – Musée de l’Armée, until 28 January 2024.
Where to Stay in Paris in December
Booking.com is our recommended site for booking your hotel in Paris. They have a wide variety of hotels of all kinds and good rates. In addition, they propose the option to cancel for free, most of the time up to 24 hours.
SLEEP WITH EIFFEL TOWER VIEWS
If you have the budget, why not treat yourself to the pleasure of waking up with an amazing Eiffel Tower balcony view?
Some of Paris’ top hotels also have unique views of the Eiffel Tower, especially beautiful during its night show!
The good news is that a cozy room with Eiffel Tower views is not exclusive to the best hotels in Paris. If you are looking for a home from home, there are also cute apartments with a view of the Eiffel Tower to rent.
HOTELS AT SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-PRÉS
Saint-Germain in the Left Bank is a beautiful neighborhood to set your base in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is picturesque and central, with many entertainments, beautiful cafes, and restaurant options.
RELAIS CHRISTINE, Paris 6, $$$$
Set in a 17th-century mansion in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, this is THE kind of hotel that comes to mind when we think about Paris and Saint-Germain. Check out the pictures; you will immediately fall in love with this hotel!
HOTEL TRIANON RIVE GAUCHE, Paris 6, $$$$
Conveniently placed close to the Luxemburg Gardens – on the way to Cité – and with comfortable rooms bigger than the Paris average, Hotel Trianon Rive Gauche is an excellent choice for this area and hotel category.
WELCOME HOTEL, Paris 6, $$$
This cute little hotel with comfortable rooms has the best possible location, between Boulevard Saint-Germain and Saint-Germain-des-Prés Church. Stay in one of the most pretty areas for the best price!
HOTELS IN THE LOUVRE DISTRICT
If you prefer to stay in the Right Bank, the Louvre District is a good option. Stay close to the Louvre, the Seine River, and the Tuileries Gardens in a lively area with many bars and restaurants nearby.
HOTEL PARIS LOUVRE OPERA; Paris 1, $$$
This hotel, set in a 17th-century building, is located only a 5-minute walk from the Louvre in a lively area with many choices for dining out. The rooms are small but very clean, comfortable, and cozy, which makes this hotel a good value for your money.
HOTEL BRITANNIQUE: Paris 1, $$$
This lovely 19th-century hotel with a nice feel and atmosphere is located only 700m from Notre Dame and close to other major landmarks. The comfortable rooms and beds and its welcoming staff will make you feel at home.