Spending Christmas and New Year's in Paris is a magical experience, with the city transforming into a winter wonderland full of festive activities, illuminations, and unique holiday experiences. Here's a comprehensive guide to making the most of your holiday season in the City of Lights.
Paris comes alive with several Christmas markets, each offering a unique experience:
La Défense Christmas Market: This is the largest Christmas market in Paris, featuring over 200 exhibitors in wooden chalets, creating a true Christmas village atmosphere.
Alsace Christmas Market: Located at Gare de l’Est, this historic market offers traditional specialties from Eastern France, making it perfect for food enthusiasts.
Tuileries Market: Formerly on the Champs Elysée, it has been relocated to the Tuileries gardens. It's one of the largest in Paris and offers a plethora of traditional gifts, French gastronomy, and attractions like flying chairs and bumper cars.
Iconic Locations and Activities
Hotel de Ville Christmas Decorations: The area in front of Hôtel de Ville will be decked out in festive attire, featuring a forest of fir trees, winter chalets, and free activities like a carousel and a toboggan run.
Ice Skating: Paris offers several ice skating rinks, including ones at Grand Palais de Glaces and beneath the Eiffel Tower, providing a quintessential winter experience.
Champs-Elysées New Year's Fireworks: A spectacular fireworks show at midnight, following a pre-game party with music and laser light shows at the Arc de Triomphe.
Museum Visits: Paris is home to numerous museums like the Louvre, Orsay, and Orangerie, which can be a great way to spend Christmas.
Christmas Lights: The city, known as the City of Lights, becomes even more illuminated during Christmas, with major streets like the Champs-Élysées and Avenue Montaigne adorned with beautiful lights.
Indulge in French Gastronomy: Christmas markets and local patisseries offer traditional French treats like Bûche de Noël (yule log) and other seasonal delicacies.
Sip on Hot Chocolate: Visit renowned chocolatiers like Jean-Paul Hévin near the Louvre or Crêperie Contemporaine 142 near the Eiffel Tower for authentic French hot chocolate.
Disneyland Paris: Experience the festive atmosphere with lights, and the sweet smell of chocolate and mulled wine at Disneyland, a magical destination during Christmas.
Christmas Windows: Marvel at the show-stopping Christmas windows at major department stores like Printemps Haussmann and Galeries Lafayette.
Christmas Trees: Visit the famous Christmas trees outside Notre Dame and in the Town Halls of each arrondissement.
Attend a Mass: Many churches in Paris, including the Madeleine Church and Sacre-Coeur Basilica, host special masses during Christmas Eve.
Transportation: Public transportation operates on a reduced timetable on Christmas Day, so plan your travel accordingly.
Accommodation: Consider booking a hotel suite to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere within the comfort of your accommodation.
Celebrating Christmas and New Year's in Paris means immersing yourself in a city bustling with holiday cheer, cultural richness, and festive beauty. Whether you're exploring the Christmas markets, marveling at the city's lights, or indulging in culinary delights, Paris offers an unforgettable backdrop for your holiday celebrations.