Paris in December 2024 – Quick Guide by a Local

December in Paris 2024

All you need to know and the best things to do in Paris in December 2024.

Are you visiting Paris in December 2024? December is a wonderful time to travel to Paris. The weather is cold and crisp, but the city is in full swing, with busy cafés, beautiful 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? This month 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.

If you plan to visit the French capital during the last month of the year, keep reading for what to do in Paris in December, the main events in Paris December 2024, and my top tips for getting the most out of your trip.

Are You Planning a Trip to Paris Last Minute?

If you are booking a last-minute trip to Paris, I’ve got you covered! Below are our must-guides, top tours, hotels, and more:

» Plan: Paris Travel Planner; Paris Arrondissements Guide; Check out the best Paris Metro tickets for tourists

» Book your flight tickets with Omio; book your train tickets with Omio

Book your transfer from the airport to the city with Welcome Pickups.

» Where to Stay: Best Districts to Stay in Paris

  1. Le Pavillon de la Reine (historical 5-star hotel in Le Marais)
  2. Hotel La Comtesse (mid-range hotel with Eiffel Tower view from all the rooms!)
  3. Hotel Ducs de Bourgogne (super central 4-star hotel near the Louvre)

» Top-Rated Paris Tours & Tickets:

  1. Louvre Museum Skip-the-Line Ticket
  2. Eiffel Tower Summit Access Ticket
  3. Seine River Night Cruise
  4. Catacombs Skip-the-line tour with VIP access to restricted areas

Want skip-the-line access at museums & attractions in Paris? Get your hands on a Paris Museum Pass!

» Don’t leave without travel insurance! Safety Wing works well for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days). SafetyWing covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and unplanned quarantine is covered, too.

Table of Contents:

  • Is Paris Busy in December? Crowds Forecast
  • Weather in Paris in December
  • What to Wear in Paris December 2024
  • Best Tips for Visiting Paris in December 2024
  • Best Things to Do in Paris in December 2024 (and Paris Events December 2024)
  • Where to Stay in Paris in December

Related content

Is Paris Busy in December? Crowds Forecast

Winter in Paris

Is December a good time to visit Paris? The city makes one of the best winter city breaks in Europe, but it’s a bit crowded with people.

Years ago, Paris in early December was usually quiet. However, since most of the 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, while Christmas week in Paris is the high season. However, I recommend booking everything well in advance if you want to visit Paris in December.

Below, I list the main Paris attractions for which you will need advance tickets and have added links to my favorite trusted providers for your convenience.

To optimize your time and avoid the longest lines, I recommend visiting temporary exhibitions during office hours when the locals are behind their desks. Book your tickets to temporary exhibitions well in advance.

The same advice applies to your Christmas shopping and the Christmas Markets in Paris: prioritize these activities during office hours and do more touristy things (less sexy for Parisians) on the weekends.

December in Paris is also the month for year-end meetings in bars and restaurants with coworkers, friends, and family. On weekdays (especially Thursdays), bars and restaurants are busy with business meetings while the weekends are dedicated to friends and family.

If you have a specific place in mind for lunch or dinner for your Paris trip, book well in advance.

Weather in Paris in December

Paris in the Winter

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 are 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 December 2024

Paris Packing List Fall Winter

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 2024? The Paris weather 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 that are 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 2024

Even though France is a secular Republic, all the Paris offices are closed during Christmas week. That’s when the locals, regardless of their religion, travel to their hometowns to spend some time with their families. If you plan to visit other cities than Paris during your December trip, 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, it is possible to buy train tickets up to six months in advance. Strasbourg and Colmar are 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 advance 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 I mentioned above, December in Paris is a bit crowded with people. Have a look at this article about ways to avoid crowds in Paris with my best local tips.

A week before the departure, look at my post on Transportation Strikes in Paris, which is always up to date. Just in case . . .

Need travel insurance for France? Be sure to check rates and coverage with my recommended provider, SafetyWing. SafetyWing works well for long and short trips (starting with a minimum of 5 days). SafetyWing covers COVID-19 for new policies purchased, and unplanned quarantine is covered, too. 

Best Things to Do in Paris in December 2024 (and Paris Events December 2024)

What to do in Paris in December 2024? If you visit Paris 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 my dedicated articles, which include all the festive activities and top tips to get the most out of the holiday season. From the Tuileries Garden Christmas Market to the unique Musée des Arts Forains, there are plenty of fun events during the winter holidays in Paris!

I also have an article on what to do in Paris on New Year’s Eve.


Notre Dame Paris Christmas

After five years of reconstruction work, Notre Dame Cathedral will reopen its doors to the public on 8 December 2024. Don’t miss one of the most special celebrations in Paris this year, which will be preceeded by the following events:

  • TBD November 2024. The celebrations will start with the return of the statue of Notre Dame, around the end of November, accompanied by a “great popular procession in the streets.”
  • 7 December 2024. An inauguration will take place, with the “awakening of the organ, a liturgical celebration with blessing, a Magnificat or a Te Deum, and then vespers.


Seine Cruise in Paris

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 TowerNotre Dame, and the Invalides. It is difficult not to be in love with a view like this one!

The Seine River cruises come with or without dinner, and they are a great way to spend a relaxed night, perhaps with a glass of champagne.


French Pastries

Food tours are always a good idea in a gourmet city like Paris. Discover the famous food in Paris and some good addresses to eat or buy food while learning about a specific neighborhood.

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 is very reputed for its beautiful pastry shops and chocolate shops, and this Saint Germain Pastry and Chocolate Walking Tour always has great reviews. If you prefer to wander around Le Marais, this free chocolate walking tour (self-guided) is the best.


Paradis Latin can can girls
Photo Courtesy: Paradis Latin Paris ©

When it gets dark, cabarets are one of the most popular attractions of Paris at night for visitors, with music, French can-can, and lots of bubbles.

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 2024, I recommend booking your cabaret show well in advance, especially if you want to attend 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!


Galerie Vivienne Paris

When the 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 architectural gems built in the 18th century, the kind of place to see and be seen while shopping or drinking at a café.

Most of the best passages in Paris are in the most central districts – click here for a 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.


Basilica of Saint-Denis France

Visiting the churches of Paris is always a good idea, especially in December, when they are beautifully decorated for the Christmas celebrations.

The churches of Paris are always free to visit. They are in all styles, from medieval churches to modern iron and concrete churches.

If you visit Paris before the reopening of Notre Dame, don’t miss other places like the Sacré Coeur – which you can visit during this Montmartre Walking Tour –, the church of Saint Germain des Prés (the oldest), or the church of Saint Étienne du Mont, which features the only jubé (rood screen) in Paris.


Paris Christmas Lights and Decorations

The city is home to beautiful and elegant squares, great for a stroll, 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-visit places, but I recommend going out of the beaten path to see more local life.


Vin chaud Paris Christmas

The picturesque Parisian cafés are always a good place for a break during the cold days of December.

The neighborhoods of Le Marais, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and Montmartre are some good places to find pretty cafés, but there are lovely cafés in all the districts of Paris.

Order a cup of coffee or 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 group.


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

The French châteaux are always great to visit, but they are especially beautiful with the Christmas decorations.

There are many fairytale castles near Paris to visit, apart from the Château of Versailles. Some of these fantastic French châteaux organize special events for the festive season.

I recommend visiting Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, which is famous for its candle night evenings (Le Grand Noël).


Disneyland Paris France

A day trip to Disneyland Paris is a wonderful way to get in the mood for the holidays thanks to its special parades and Christmas shows. This year, Christmas in Disneyland Paris lasts two months, from 9 November 2024 to 6 January 2025! 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 Christmas experience by spending one night or two at one of the Disneyland hotels. They all have a free shuttle bus to the parks and are specially decorated for the season!


Paris Light Festival 2019

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 [TBD] November 2024 to [TBD] January 2025 at the Jardin des Plantes in the 5th Arrondissement. 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 has a different topic, usually aimed at raising awareness about the importance of protecting the endangered species of the planet Earth. The subject for this year is still not known, but I am sure it will steal your heart.


Eternal Notre Dame. Credit: Orange Emissive (c)

If you are looking for unique and exciting experiences during your December 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 in December, once-in-a-lifetime experiences not to be missed this year!


Create your Louvre Guide

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.

Paris always has an interesting cultural program for the last month of the year. The list of temporary exhibitions in museums and galleries for Paris in December 2024 is not complete yet (it’s too early for some dates). Keep clicking for the latest updates!

The Egypt of the Pharaohs, from Cheops to Ramses II – Atelier des Lumières, from 9 February 2024 to 5 January 2025

The Orientalists: Ingres, Délacroix, Gérôme… – Atelier des Lumières, from 9 February 2024 to 5 January 2025

Immersive Experience “Aura Invalides” – Musée de l’Armée, from 22 Septembre 2023 to 31 December 2024.


No problem! For more things to do, check out this post about the best events and festivals in Paris this year. You can also have a look at the articles about November in Paris and January in Paris. Some of the activities proposed in these articles are also good ideas for Paris in December.

Where to Stay in Paris in December

As you make your bed, so you lie. Find the right accommodation in Paris – whether it’s a hotel or guesthouse, holiday apartment, or private apartment – I have them all! Book your accommodation by using the map below.

I recommend for booking your hotel in Paris. They have a wide variety of accommodation of all kinds and good rates. In addition, they propose the option to cancel for free, most of the time up to 24 hours.


If you have the budget, why not treat yourself to the pleasure of waking up at an amazing hotel with an Eiffel Tower view? Some of the best hotels in Paris also have awesome views of the Eiffel Tower, which is especially beautiful during its night show! – Check out the best hotels with Eiffel Tower Views


Le Marais is a central neighborhood in the Seine’s Right Bank, perfect to set your base in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is beautiful, well connected by the metro, and with many beautiful cafes and restaurant options – Click here for the best hotels in Le Marais


The neighborhood of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the Left Bank, is a great place to put your luggage down in Paris, especially if you are visiting Paris for the first time. It is picturesque and central, with many entertainment, beautiful cafes, and restaurant options – Click here for the best hotels in Saint-Germain

And there you have it – what to do in Paris in December 2024 and seasonal events to help you plan your Paris trip. Bon voyage!

Click here for more Paris travel tips

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Quirky Parisian explorer with a preference for lesser-known sights, I am continuously looking for new ideas and tips to bring you the best of the City of Light! Read more about me.