10 Things to Do in Paris on Christmas Day

If you think that on the 24th of December Parisians stay in their “homes, sweet homes“, you’ve got the wrong idea. The City of Lights celebrates Christmas, and celebrates it well! The Christmas spirit is all over the place.

Paris is even more magical, with plenty of Christmas decorations. The stores are full of people buying “last-minute” presents. Paris is filled with love and sweetness. Here are the main things to do in Paris on Christmas Day!

1. Attractions for families


First, do not keep your children at home while in Paris on Christmas Day! There are so many things to do for families, starting with the many free carousels installed all around the city. I personally advise you to visit the one on the Trocadéro Square (more activities in that area), which has a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower. Plus, it is close to the Christmas market of the Eiffel Tower.

Also, at Concorde Square, you will not find a carousel, but a dazzling High Wheel, in top of which you will be able to admire Paris enlightened by Christmas lights.

>> Read this article if you need a few tips on how to plan a great family vacation in Paris.

>> Read this article to find out more activities around the Trocadero.

>> Read this article to find out more activities around the Eiffel Tower.

>> Read a few fun facts about the Eiffel Tower.

2. Roam the Streets of Paris


One of the things to do in Paris on Christmas Day is to roam around the streets. Warm your heart with the Christmas spirit. Love is all around the place. It’s quite a unique atmosphere!

Streets are filled with Christmas lights and decorations. They are full of people doing their “petites emplettes” (purchases, in English), and making final preparations for the Christmas dinner. You will be amazed by the ambiance of the Christmas period.

>> Read this article to discover some of the best streets of Paris.

Buying tickets to the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower guided tour

>> Skip the line to the top of the Eiffel Tower with a tour guide

>> Enjoy a very special experience from the summit of Paris #1 landmark

3. Visit the Christmas Markets

Christmas markets

Speaking of lights, enjoying your time in Paris on Christmas Day obviously means walking around the city and exploring its Christmas markets. There is one close to the Eiffel Tower, which is so cute and heart-warming. Make sure you taste the hot wine and the crepes, that taste so good on a cold day! Speaking of Christmas markets, I also advise you to join our insider’s tour of the Paris Flea Market of Saint Ouen, which is redecorated in a Christmas atmosphere during the holidays!

4. Have Fun on an Ice Skating rink


And eventually, you can end up in the beautiful building of the Grand Palais, where you will ice-skate and spend a wonderful time with your family! At the Grand Palais, the entrance costs 17 euros if you come between 10 am and 1 pm, and it will cost 25 euros if you come between 2 pm and 7 pm. It’s a fun way to spend some time in Paris and to exercise before all the Christmas delicacies you’ll eat!

5. Buy a “Bûche de noël

buche de noel

Next on my list of things to do in Paris on Christmas day is to buy a “bûche de noël“! This dessert is on all Parisians tables on Christmas dinner. There’s quite a competition between all the bakers, that have to make the most tasteful and the prettiest and cutest presentation. If you want to know where to get the best bûche de noël, go to Rue Montorgueil. There are plenty of bakeries and pastries shops. In my opinion, it’s the best street to get this typical dessert for Christmas!

Check the Storher ones, they are so delicious and beautiful! This bakery opened its doors in 1730 and have been serving the best pastries and delicacies since then. Everything they serve is so delicate and excellent. It’s really a must if you go to Rue Montorgueil.

>> Book a food tour to taste different specialties with us!

6. Fancy Paris on Christmas Day

Fancy Paris on Christmas Day

Paris is indeed a luxurious city and at Christmas time, luxury is all over the place more than ever!

You will not be able to miss the window displays of the Grands Magasins such as Galeries Lafayettes, on the Right Bank, or Bon Marché, on the
Left Bank. Designers present fairy-tale stories in the shops’ windows and showcases where young and old are touched by magic.

>> Read more about department stores in Paris.

7. Have a Luxurious Dinner


If you have seen enough, you can choose to have a Christmas Dinner in Paris. There are many fancy restaurants in Paris, but the one I would advise you is the Fouquet’s, a traditional French restaurant, where the Christmas Menu includes foie gras, lobster, and Christmas Log for dessert. However try to book in advance…

The Lido and the Moulin Rouge also organize special dinners and spectacular shows for Christmas eve, but in that case be ready to spend more than 200 euros for each person!

>> Read this article to know a few places to eat at near the Champs Elysees.

>> Read a few fun facts about the Moulin Rouge.

8. Celebrate a Religious Christmas

Religious Christmas

Finally, if you want to religiously celebrate Christmas in Paris, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Sacré-Coeur Basilica of Montmartre and the Church of Saint Eustache feature exceptional choirs and concerts on Christmas Eve for the midnight mass. Every year, beautiful scenes of nativity are presented!

>> Read a few fun facts about the Sacre-Coeur Basilica.

>> Have a look at some of the most beautiful churches in Paris.

9. Take in the Christmas Lights at Champs Élysées


See the most over the top display of Christmas lights and decorations in the most glamorous street in Paris – the Champs Élysées! The street trees are covered in thousands of lights between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde, where you can see the huge Christmas tree. The stores lining along the way also do their own lights so you can enjoy the festive decorations on this world famous avenue.

The lights actually go up from late November and stay on until after the New Year! It is quite magical to witness the lights as you stroll the avenue in the cold air with a nice winter jacket and accessories!

In 2021, French musician Clara Luciani inaugrated the festivities and the festive decorations as its sponsor and the first day of the inaugration, the Champs Élysées was made pedestrian only i.e. car free! The lights stay on all night on December 24th and December 31st! 

10. Visit Disneyland Paris

If you want to experience Christmas with your family, then Disneyland Paris is magical this time of the year! They deck the whole resort in what they call “Disney Enchanted Christmas”! It runs from Nov. 12, 2022, to Jan. 8, 2023!

The resort is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary celebration this year with twinkling lights and fairytale decorations including all the attractions such as Sleeping Beauty Castle. Moreover, an amazing Christmas parade is being planned with both day time and night time versions!

Alternatively, you can choose to attend just the New Year’s Eve Christmas Party! 

You now know some of the things to do in Paris on Christmas day! If you want more information about visiting Paris in December, this article is perfect for you! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and that it has been helpful to you! Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need further information about anything!

On Christmas day, the city of Paris is filled with joy and love. I’m sure you will spend the best time of your life. Paris during Christmas is so special and unforgettable! See you soon in Paris!

Updated by Farah in July 2022.

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