5 Great Ways to Spend Christmas in Paris
Do your holiday plans involve the Eiffel Tower? Well, they should.
But this is only one of the many great ways to spend Christmas in Paris. The French city has a magical feel year round, but it’s even more memorable during Christmas.
The following tips delve into Paris’ Christmas festivities that are spread around the city. While there is surely something to do in every district, these are the ones to not miss. Our selection of Parisian Christmas wonders take place in the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th arrondissements.
Whether your Christmas plan involves a large family or just a few close friends, spending it in Paris is definitely a good idea. Keep reading to discover the five best ways to pass your time in Paris during the holidays.
1. Walk down the Champs-Élysées
This iconic street is already a bucket list item when visiting Paris. That’s why, with the added holiday decorations in December, you can’t miss the Champs-Élysées.
Every year, the trees that line the famous street are covered in lights, making a lovely sight to see by foot or just when driving by. Usually, the special Christmas lights are turned on in mid-November.
The avenue illuminates with sparkling red lights that shine from 5pm to 2am.
A less expected fact about the lights is that they’re eco-friendly. The company who supplied the lights, Blachère, designed the Champs-Élysées spectacle with a few considerations in mind, such as minimal energy usage and the choice of LED.
For the biggest nights of the season (December 24th and 31st), the lights will shine all night long. This is the perfect place to visit during a Parisian Christmas. Or if you find yourself without plans on New Years Eve, make sure to catch the Champs-Élysées sight before it’s gone.
2. Visit Galeries Lafayette
When in Paris, the Galaries Lafayette is a must-see. The center of the shopping center is marked by a famous, giant Christmas tree. There is nothing like an immaculate, larger-than-life Christmas tree to get you in the mood for the holiday season. This Parisian hallmark is an exciting sight for everyone from the toddlers to the elders in your family.
Every year, the Galeries puts up a tree at the end of October, and people from everywhere come to see the festive decorations. The Christmas tree displays a new design each year, always very intricate and beautiful. The shopping center decorates the tree according to a unique theme for every new season.
For the past four years, the Christmas tree themes have been, ‘From Another Planet’, ‘Arctic’, ‘Spectacular, Spectacular’, and ‘The Dream Factory’. For 2019, the tree is decorated to represent the ‘Christmas Beehive’.
Additionally, you can sit up at the top of the dome next to the large tree and enjoy a drink at the Galeries Lafayette Rooftop Terrace. And as if all of these amazing amenities weren’t already enough to convince you to bring your Christmas elves to celebrate here, the Galeries have announced that they will be adding an ice skating rink to the rooftop this year… This place is almost too good to be true for a Christmas fanatic.
3. Dine at a classic French restaurant
While there are many festive events and attractions that can make a lovely Christmas in Paris, perhaps the most impactful is the experience that is not flooded with tourists.
Having an intimate family dinner at a classic French restaurant is something you have to do if you really want to experience Christmas the French way. You should still see the Eiffel Tower, but maybe you will better remember the holiday meal you shared with loved ones in a quaint restaurant.
For a Christmas restaurant recommendation, try Le Taxi Jaune in Le Marais, a small dinner spot that features exquisite meat specialities. There are six main plates on the menu at Le Taxi Jaune, and one of them is horse meat. You can also find duck, foie gras and sea urchins on the menu – plenty of delicacies to choose from!
This restaurant is the perfect place to bring your family for a Christmas dinner if you want to get an authentic taste of French holiday cuisine. And if you’re adventurous, maybe you’ll try some of the more unusual dishes.
4. Shop at Le Bon Marché
If there’s anything that will get you in the mood for the holiday season, it’s this famous department store in the seventh arrondissement. The upscale shopping center is notorious for its exciting holiday window displays and elegant Christmas trees that decorate the inside.
Here, you can find gifts for everyone in your family, various Christmas cuisine options, and even a hardware store where you can buy lights for the house. Make sure to bring your kids along, as there is a toy store and a new fun area just for the children.
Even if you’ve already done all of your Christmas shopping, you should still make a trip to Le Bon Marché to see the famous window displays that everyone talks about. This store really gets into the holiday spirit by replacing their storefront mannequins with dancing Christmas tree ladies, sleeping Santas and floating snowmen.
5. Stay near the Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is something that you have to see no matter what time of the year it is, but it’s even more enchanting for a Christmas outing. During the holidays, Le Tour Eiffel is known for Christmas markets, ice skating, and champagne at the top of the signature monument.
Christmas markets are opened annually at Trocadero, with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower to make for special shopping. The event is called Village de Noël and is filled with booths of scrumptious delicacies for purchase, as well as eager children waiting to skate on ice.
Whether you find a place to stay near the Eiffel Tower or not, you will have to put the Village de Noël on your Christmas bucket list. This is a great place to visit, with our without kids who are dying to ice skate.