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Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris


Paris really lights up for the holiday season and it's a spectacular time to visit.  The streets are sparkling with Christmas lights,  traditional Christmas markets are everywhere, there is free ice-skating and carousel rides.... it's magic!

Here are a few of our seasonal favorite things to do in Paris.

Champs Elysees
Champs ElyseesThe Champs Elysees never looks better than at Christmas time when the trees are dripping with lights, the store windows are all beautifully decorated for the holidays and the Christmas Market is open at  the Champs Elysees Clemenceau.

Metro: Line 1 - Georges V or Franklin Roosevelt

Printemps & Galleries Lafayette

The window displays at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette are better than any I have seen in New York.  This year I think Printemps has the edge but you need to check out their mechanical moving widow displays and decide for yourself.  

Christmas Windows ParisGreat Christmas tradition for children and there are even raised platforms in front of the windows to give them a better view.  

Go anytime except Saturday afternoons in December when the pavement is just jammed with people and it can be hard to see the windows and also a little overwhelming for the kids.  

Both stores also have magnificent exterior Christmas lights.  

Galleries Lafayette also has this amazing hanging Christmas tree right under it's famous stained glass dome (see picture in the banner at top of this page).

Metro: Lines 7 or 9 - Chaussée d'Antin La Fayette  / Lines 3 or 9 - Havre Caumartin

Hotel de Ville

ice skating hotel de ville parisIce skating in front of Hotel de Ville is fun for everybody and only costs 5 euro for skate rental.  

There are also free carousel rides at place Hotel de Ville and great Christmas shopping at  BHV, another of Paris' landmark department stores.

Metro: Line 1 - Hotel de Ville


Big Wheel at the Place de la Concorde Big Wheel Paris France
Great place to sit relax and take in the lights of Paris.  I recommend riding the big wheel after dark to take advantage of all the Christmas lights.  

If you need to warm up stroll over to Angelinas on the Rue de Rivoli and enjoy a steaming cup of Paris' best hot chocolate.

While you're in the area take a walk down to Place Vendome and check out the sparkling diamonds at all of Paris' high end jewelry stores.  Maybe you'll find your perfect Christmas gift!

Metro: Line 1 - Place de la Concorde

Paris Christmas Markets
There are several special Christmas Markets set up all over Paris selling gifts, delicious food and hot wine. While the gifts might be a bit tacky the Christmas Markets still make a fun festive stop and your children might enjoy meeting a French Santa!   Click here for a list of Christmas markets with locations and recommendations.

Christmas Eve Mass at Notre Dame
On Chrstmas eve last year we went to the children's Christmas Mass in Notre Dame   This will always be one of my favorite memories for Christmas in Paris.  

Christmas in ParisWe arrived about 20 minutes before mass was due to start and had no problem finding good seats.  

The mass started with a candlelit procession and the music during mass was by the Notre Dame children's choir.  

After mass the whole congregation is invited to follow the priest on a procession to the Christmas manger to see the baby Jesus.   Check their web site for this years mass times notredamedeparis.fr

Throughout December, Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral tells the nativity story through a Christmas sound and light show. Performances takes place every half an hour.  

Metro: Line 4 - St. Michel or Cite